The Philadelphia Phillies (62-97) defeated the Mets (89-70) by a score of 3-0. Sean Gilmartin was strong for the Mets in 5 innings, the only blemish being a 2-run home run allowed to Darin Ruf. The offense managed only 6 hits off Jerad Eickhoff and the Phillies bullpen; 3 by Kirk Nieuwenhuis, 2 infield singles by Kelly Johnson, and a single by Ruben Tejada.
Jerad Eickhoff was in control all day for the Phillies, allowing only 4 hits, walking 1, and striking out 10 while shutting the Mets out over 7 innings. The Mets’ best opportunity came in the 7th, after a 1-out double by Kirk Nieuwenhuis and a 2-out walk by Kevin Plawecki. However, Juan Lagares struck out on a 3-2 curveball to end the threat.
Sean Gilmartin was solid for the Mets in his first career start, allowing onlyh 3 hits, a walk, 2 runs, and a home run over 5 innings while striking out 3. Unfortunately though, that home run, a 2-out 2-run shot by Darin Ruf in the 4th inning, proved to be all the Phillies would need. Tim Stauffer was strong in two shutout innings of relief and Dario Alvarez allowed a solo home run to Andres Blanco, but it didn’t matter. On a day where a hangover lineup was called for, no one could muster anything against Eickhoff, Jerome Williams, or Luis Garcia.
This could’ve been expected, especially after such a late loss last night. Gilmartin and Stauffer were pleasant surprises in their combined 7 innings of work, but the offense was absolutely lifeless. What bothered me were the pinch hitting opportunities not utilized by Terry Collins. I understand he wants to give his regular players a day off, but when Eric Young Jr. and Dilson Herrera are your two pinch hitters from a bench that includes Daniel Murphy, David Wright, Lucas Duda, and Curtis Granderson, it’s a little tough to justify your desire to win the game. In the 7th inning, with 1st and 2nd with two outs, it should have been Granderson, Murphy, or Duda facing off against Eickhoff (or a lefty reliever, if they decided to make a switch). I find it tough to believe that these veteran professionals could have their playoff performances compromised by one plate appearance.
But, these are small annoyances. After the rest day today, one would imagine that Terry will go with his regular lineup the rest of the weekend, perhaps with an extra righty or two against Gio Gonzalez. The Mets fans certainly have to thank Mike Leake and the Giants for keeping their home field advantage hopes alive – Leake spun a 2-hit shutout last night, reducing the Mets home field advantage magic number to 3. The Giants look to take 3 of 4 from the Dodgers this afternoon at 3:45, with Brett Anderson facing Tim Hudson. A Dodgers win would bring L.A. to the same record as the Mets, but as a reminder, the Mets do own the tiebreaker.
Noah Syndergaard faces Gio Gonzalez tomorrow at 7:10 at Citi Field, weather permitting, as the Mets open a 3-game series against the Nationals.
POSITIVES: Sean Gilmartin and Tim Stauffer were both solid today with better-than-expected performances. Dario Alvarez, while allowing a home run to a right-handed batter, also retired the only lefty he faced. Kirk Nieuwenhuis had 3 of the Mets’ 6 hits, but despite 2 doubles, was never able to score.
NEGATIVES: The offense, save for Nieuwenhuis. The manager’s decision to pinch hit Eric Young Jr. and Dilson Herrera in a close game that means something. The decision to remove Michael Conforto in a close game, and not for a better bat.
WPA Winners: Kirk Nieuwenhuis (.109)
WPA Losers: Eric Campbell (-.141)
Best Play: None over .100
Worst Play: Darin Ruf hits a 2-run home run, Phillies up 2-0, 4th inning (-.245)
The Mets (89-69) take on the Philadelphia Phillies (61-97) at 12:05 at Citizen’s Bank Park in Philadelphia. Sean Gilmartin (2.58 ERA, 2.53 FIP, 1.22 WHIP, 52 1/3 IP over 49 relief appearances) faces off against Jerad Eickhoff (3.07, 3.66, 1.09, 44 IP over 7 starts). For Gilmartin, it marks the Rule 5 selection’s first major league start. He will likely be followed by veteran starter/reliever Tim Stauffer in relief.
- Kelly Johnson, 2B (L)
- Ruben Tejada, SS (R)
- Michael Conforto, LF (L)
- Michael Cuddyer, 1B (R)
- Kirk Nieuwenhuis, RF (L)
- Eric Campbell, 3B (R)
- Kevin Plawecki, C (R)
- Juan Lagares, CF (R)
- Sean Gilmartin, P (L)
- Freddy Galvis, 2B (S)
- Odubel Herrera, CF (L)
- Aaron Altherr, LF (R)
- Jeff Francoeur, RF (R)
- Darin Ruf, 1B (R)
- Cody Asche, 3B (L)
- Carlos Ruiz, C (R)
- Chase d’Arnaud, SS (R)
- Jerad Eickhoff, P (R)
With a tough loss last night and only 11 hours between games, the Mets are sitting all regulars except for Michael Conforto and Ruben Tejada (only Conforto started last night). This gives the Mets secondary lineup another chance to get a big win – a lineup of many of the same characters beat Cincinnati 8-1 on Sunday. Yoenis Cespedes is out after being hit in the hand by a pitch yesterday (contusion) and Wilmer Flores is out with lower back stiffness. David Wright, Travis d’Arnaud, Curtis Granderson, Lucas Duda, and Daniel Murphy are getting the day off.
Sean Gilmartin gets his first major league start today in place of Steven Matz, who is out due to right side stiffness. The team hopes to pitch Matz at some point this weekend, otherwise Matz’s NLDS roster spot may be in jeopardy. Gilmartin has had reverse platoon splits this season; righties have a .237 wOBA against him while lefties have a .306 wOBA (though even that number is solid, especially considering he’s a rookie Rule-5 selection that had not pitched out of the bullpen prior to this season). Part of that discrepancy could fall in BABIP and batted ball rates – 25.6 percent of batted balls from righties have been softly hit, while only 17.9% to lefties. That could explain a .358 BABIP to lefties versus a .282 BABIP to righties. Gilmartin has above average strikeout and walk percentages for relievers (23.6% and 7.9%, respectively), but has a way-below league average .17 HR/9 allowed (the league average is .94, suggesting good luck for Gilmartin). Gilmartin has only allowed 1 home run in his 52 1/3 innings of work.
Jerad Eickhoff has been very good in his 7 starts with the Phillies this season. Eickhoff, acquired from the Rangers in the Cole Hamels trade, has a 3.07 ERA over his 7 starts. Part of that, however, can be explained by a low .256 BABIP which is due for at least some regression. Eickhoff has neutralized righties very well, to a .227 wOBA in 97 plate appearances, but has struggled more against lefties (.348 wOBA in 80 plate appearances). In those 80 plate appearances, Eickhoff has allowed 8 walks, a double, 2 triples, and 4 home runs. The Mets, while without 3 of their 4 regular lefty bats, will look to take advantage with Kelly Johnson, Michael Conforto, and Kirk Nieuwenhuis. In his two starts against the Mets this season, Eickhoff has allowed 7 runs (6 earned) over 13 innings pitched, striking out 10, allowing 10 hits, walking 3, and allowing 2 home runs. The Mets won both games.
As always, LET’S GO METS!
The Mets (89-69) fell to the Phillies (61-97) by a score of 7-5. The Mets held a 5-0 lead in this game after two home runs in the first inning, but Logan Verrett and the bullpen blew the lead in the ugliest game Mets fans have seen in a long time. Wild pitches, ejections, hit batsmen, they were all present.
The Mets jumped over Phillies starter Alec Asher in the first inning, after a Curtis Granderson double, a walk to David Wright, and a 3-run home run by Daniel Murphy. They tacked on even more after a walk to Yoenis Cespedes and a 2-run home run by Michael Conforto. The Mets jumped to a 5-0 lead. In the bottom of the first, starter Logan Verrett worked around a couple baserunners.
Verrett struck out the side in the bottom of the 2nd, and in the top of the 3rd, Yoenis Cespedes was hit by a pitch on his left hand. Fortunately, x-rays were negative and Cespedes only has a contusion. Kirk Nieuwenhuis would pinch-run and remain in the game in center field. Verrett ran into trouble in the bottom of the 3rd after allowing consecutive singles. A fantastic sliding catch by Kirk Nieuwenhuis induced a double play, but Verrett walked Aaron Altherr to set up a 2-run double by Darin Ruf. The lead was cut to 5-2. The Mets threatened in the top of the 4th, but to no avail, but Wilmer Flores was removed for a pinch-runner with lower back stiffness. Ruben Tejada replaced him.
Verrett worked out of trouble in the bottom of the 4th, but was not so lucky in the 5th. After getting a groundout to lead off the inning, Verrett hit Odubel Herrera with a pitch, a pitch that looked intentional enough for the home plate umpire to warn both benches. The Mets had been hit twice in the game so far; Cespedes and Nieuwenhuis. Verrett lost Aaron Altherr to a walk and Erik Goeddel was able to get Darin Ruf to pop out. Jon Niese, in to face Cody Asche, was not so lucky, allowing an RBI single before getting a sharp groundout. The Mets lead was cut to 5-3.
After Michael Cuddyer reached on a fielding error by Cody Asche, pinch runner Eric Young Jr. stole 2nd with one out. Unfortunately, the Mets didn’t convert and left Young at 2nd. In the bottom of the 6th, things really fell apart. After Hansel Robles got Brian Bogusevic to line out to left, Robles was ejected from the game (along with manager Terry Collins) after a pitch sailed at Cameron Rupp‘s head. Reliever Bobby Parnell inherited a full count and walked Rupp on 1 pitch, then walked pinch hitter Chase d’Arnaud. A wild pitch advanced the tying runs into scoring position, and Freddy Galvis converted with a single to center, taking 2nd on the throw to the plate. The game was tied at 5-5. Dario Alvarez entered and got Odubel Herrera to pop out for the 2nd out, but then hit Aaron Altherr with a pitch on his back foot. Carlos Torres relieved him, and two wild pitches allowed the go-ahead run to score before he struck out Darin Ruf.
Both teams were turned aside in the 7th and the Mets were turned aside in the 8th before Tyler Clippard unleashed the 7th wild pitch of the game, scoring Andres Blanco (leadoff double) from 3rd. The Phillies led 7-5. Ken Giles retired the side in the 9th to end an ugly game.
What an absolutely ugly game. Between the two teams, there were 10 walks, 7 wild pitches, 4 hit batsmen, 2 ejections, a passed ball, an error, and a ball thrown at Cameron Rupp’s head. Gary Cohen called it a candidate for the worst game in MLB history. It truly was something to behold. After Alec Asher’s incredible struggles in the 1st inning, the Mets bullpen (sans their best relievers, of course) one-upped him.
As the Mets battle for home field advantage, these games simply can’t happen. When Robles was ejected in the 6th, I didn’t comprehend Bob Geren‘s decision not to bring in Addison Reed. Bobby Parnell, who has certainly been better later, was absolutely no help, as he gave up the lead after a couple walks and a line-drive single to Freddy Galvis. Through that ridiculous 6th inning, neither Reed nor Clippard entered the game. Instead, it was a combination of Parnell, Dario Alvarez, and Carlos Torres who gave up the lead.
Thank goodness, though, nothing is broken in Yoenis Cespedes’s left hand. Wilmer Flores’s stiff back may be more of a concern, but it does not appear like Cespedes will be out for a lengthy period of time.
POSITIVES: Daniel Murphy and Michael Conforto continue to show more power than expected, Murphy with his career-high 14th home run of the season and Conforto with his 9th. Curtis Granderson was 2/5 with a double and a run scored, while Addison Reed pitched a clean outing in relief. Dario Alvarez made an appearance and retired a lefty, so that’s something.
NEGATIVES: The bullpen, the manager, the bench coach, and the downright ugliness. The game was on the line in the 6th inning, and the failure of Bob Geren or Terry Collins (whoever was making the decision) to bring in Addison Reed or Tyler Clippard is downright insulting to the fans. Bobby Parnell, Dario Alvarez, and Carlos Torres, all of whom are coming off either injury or ineffectiveness, were entrusted to a key inning. The three relievers, at least two of which will not be on the postseason roster, failed the test. Somehow, Geren felt the need to bring Reed and Clippard in after the fact. Too late, buddy. Aside from Addison Reed, all the relievers were guilty to some extent, even if they weren’t charged with a run. Logan Verrett, apart from the 2nd inning, was shaky during his entire start. The offense blew multiple opportunities after converting on their opportunities in the first inning.
The Mets take on the Phillies in the series finale tomorrow at 12:05, a changed game time to accommodate the weather forecast. Sean Gilmartin or Tim Stauffer (likely both, since neither were used tonight) will face off against Jerad Eickhoff.
WPA Winners: None over .100
WPA Losers: Bullpen (-.505) (-.633 without Goeddel, Alvarez, and Reed, who had net positive contributions)
- Daniel Murphy hits a 3-run home run, Mets up 3-0, 1st inning (.157)
- Michael Conforto hits a 2-run home run, Mets up 5-0, 1st inning (.108)
- Freddy Galvis hits a 2-run single, game tied 5-5, 6th inning (-.237)
- Aaron Altherr scores on a wild pitch by Carlos Torres, Phillies up 6-5, 6th inning (-.167)
- Darin Ruf hits a 2-run double, Phillies down 5-2, 3rd inning (-.104)
- Cody Asche hits an RBI single, Phillies down 5-3, 5th inning (-.102)