Mets Game 82: Loss to Phillies

Phillies 9 Mets 2

Cliff Lee had to win a game eventually.

Mets Game Notes

It’s hard to believe it took Lee until Independence Day to win his first game of the season. Who woulda thunk it?

Lee was his vintage self, firing strike after strike after strike; 86 of his 116 pitches were strikes (74%!). That approach works well against the sometimes too-patient Mets lineup, who often seem unable to adjust to strike-throwers by getting aggressive. Of course, Lee is an exceptional pitcher — one of the best in MLB — so it’s not as though anyone should expect the Mets to batter him.

Meanwhile, Chris Young was his usual self, setting down the Phils through six stellar innings. Then came the seventh, when the Phillies suddenly realized he wasn’t doing anything other than throwing batting-practice fastballs and started lifting them over the fence. Though Young gave up three quick runs to give the Phillies the lead, I was surprised to see him lifted for a pinch-hitter with the Mets down by one and Young having only expended 81 pitches. I get that Terry Collins needed to try to make something happen, and tried to correct the mistake of leaving Young in “one inning too long,” but once the game was turned over to the Farhenheit 451 firemen known as the Mets bullpen, well … the game was pretty much given away. I know many will second-guess Collins for leaving Young out there for the seventh, but after seeing what happened after he left, can you really blame Collins?

In contrast, Phillies manager Charlie Manuel has been burned by his bullpen enough times to know he had to ride his horse as long as possible. He was able to leave the efficient Lee out there for eight full frames before allowing his millionaire closer Jonathan Papelbon close out what turned out to be an un-tight ballgame.

There isn’t anything good to say about the Mets’ “relief” in this game. Tim Byrdak has fallen back to Earth of late, proving he’s hittable. Collins lost the matchup game, as both Byrdak and Miguel Batista failed in their one-out roles. Why in the world Collins thought it was a good idea to bring in Jeremy Hefner — whose game is pitching to contact — in a situation that begged for a strikeout, is anyone’s guess. Where was Bobby Parnell? Being “saved” for a potential save? I understand that he was “officially” named the team’s closer while Frank Francisco is on the mend, but doesn’t it make sense to be more flexible when a swing and miss is needed in the eighth inning of a two-run game?

Next Mets Game

The rubber match will take place at 7:10 p.m. on Thursday night. R.A. Dickey faces Cole Hamels in what promises to be a pitchers’ duel not to be missed.

Joe Janish began MetsToday in 2005 to provide the unique perspective of a high-level player and coach -- he earned NCAA D-1 All-American honors as a catcher and coached several players who went on to play pro ball. As a result his posts often include mechanical evaluations, scout-like analysis, and opinions that go beyond the numbers. Follow Joe's baseball tips on Twitter at @onbaseball and at the On Baseball Google Plus page.
  1. DaveSchneck July 5, 2012 at 9:46 am
    Beato got the call, but he won’t be the solution. They need a late inning arm with some life in it from outside the organization in order to slot the remaining arms into more reasonable roles. I wonder what Billy Wagner is doing these days.
  2. Walnutz15 July 5, 2012 at 9:54 am
    ^ Yessir, Pedro Beato makes his way back to the Met bullpen. Not sure what to expect from him yet – considering this will be his first taste of Major League action since last season.

    Always leery of guys having a good go of it at Buffalo, considering you’d have thought Igarashi was a Hall of Famer – based off of what he did there…..then proceeded to spit the bit upon being called up.

    Hoping for the best with Beato; and that he’s an upgrade – simply on the basis that he “can’t be any worse than some of the other guys being trotted out”.

    The other contradictory angle coming out of Met mouths?

    The need for a “2nd Lefty” —– which they continued to harp upon, in not using Byrdak in certain situations. They seemingly brought one in the other day, in the form of Justin Hampson.

    Few days later?

    “Mets designated LHP Justin Hampson for assignment.

    Jordany Valdespin was called up from Triple-A Buffalo in a corresponding roster move. Hampson made three appearances during his brief stay with the big club and could pass through waivers unclaimed. Jul 4 – 12:12 PM”

    What gives…..was that just an Excuse Du’Jour — blaming the ‘pen’s struggles on “not having another lefty”?

    …….or will we be calling up Josh Edgin in the hopes that he won’t get hit around the yard?

    The bullpen’s definitely a mess. Hopefully, there’s a way to fortify it by the deadline…..without going for broke on a pricetag, of course.

    (Something tells me that we don’t need a HANDFUL of fringe middle-infielders right now…..just a hunch.)

    As for the game, this is what happens when Chris Young attempts to hurdle over the 6th inning — no matter how much it appears he’s cruising.

    Hopefully, seeing it (again – in a very short stretch of starts) – will have Collins smartening up. Not that the other options have been any better coming out of the ‘pen — but you’ll avoid letting Young defeat himself….as he almost does in innings 7-9.

    Nice match-up tonight. Let’s take the series, huh?

  3. Crozier July 5, 2012 at 11:04 am
    Allowing three runs in 7 innings will win a game more often than not, especially if your offense scores 6+ runs a game. Young needs to go 7 innings, or more, and if Collins keeps putting him out there, he may improve his later inning performances. Unlikely? Not as unlikely as the bullpen throwing 4 quality innings.