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 (85-67) take on the Cincinnati Reds (63-88) at 7:10 tonight at Great American Ball Park in Cincinnati. Rookies Steven Matz (1.80 ERA, 4.24 FIP, 1.13 WHIP, 30 IP over 5 starts) and Josh Smith (7.71 ERA, 7.48 FIP, 1.98 WHIP, 18 2/3 IP over 5 starts and 2 relief appearances) face off. This opens a 4 game series in Cincinnati before a 3 game series in Philadelphia and a 3 game series at home against Washington.
- Curtis Granderson, RF (L)
- David Wright, 3B (R)
- Daniel Murphy, 2B (L)
- Yoenis Cespedes, CF (R)
- Lucas Duda, 1B (L)
- Travis d’Arnaud, C (R)
- Michael Conforto, LF (L)
- Ruben Tejada, SS (R)
- Steven Matz, P (R)
- Jason Bourgeois, CF (R)
- Ivan De Jesus, LF (R)
- Joey Votto, 1B (L)
- Brandon Phillips, 2B (R)
- Todd Frazier, 3B (R)
- Jay Bruce, RF (L)
- Eugenio Suarez, SS (R)
- Brayan Pena, C (S)
- Josh Smith, P (R)
Steven Matz takes the hill for the Mets to make his 6th career start, his 2nd against Cincinnati (against whom he made his major league debut). For those that don’t remember, Matz went 7 2/3 IP in his debut, allowing 5 hits, 3 walks, and 2 runs (both solo home runs) while striking out 6. Matz also went 3/3 at the plate that day, driving in 4 runs (good for a WPA of .518, .435 at the plate and .083 on the mound).
Joey Votto, in another season, may have run away with the NL MVP award, much like Johnny Cueto may have run away with the NL Cy Young any season but last season. Votto is 2nd in the National League in position player fWAR (7.6 to Bryce Harper‘s ridiculous 9.8), and is 2nd in wRC+ amongst qualified players in all of baseball, with a mark of 176 to Harper’s 205. (To clarify, wRC+ is a park adjusted statistic… meaning after adjusting for the batter-friendly size of Votto’s home park, he is still 2nd in the National League). However, in a season with a ridiculously strong NL Central (with the Cardinals, Pirates, and probably the Cubs heading to the postseason), the Reds simply weren’t able to keep up. It didn’t hurt that they lost last year’s breakout star Devin Mesoraco to hip surgery, shortstop Zack Cozart to knee surgery, Homer Bailey to Tommy John surgery, and Sean Marshall to shoulder surgery. Due to the injuries and the disappointing results, the team traded away outfielder Marlon Bird, pitcher Johnny Cueto, and pitcher Mike Leake midseason. That has left the Reds with only 3 players better than league average, as measured by wRC+: Joey Votto, Todd Frazier (and his 35 home runs), and Eugenio Suarez, Cozart’s replacement at shortstop (minimum 300 PA). The Reds also have only one starting pitcher (min 10 IP) with an ERA- under 100: Anthony DeSclafani, at 95 (Cueto, 65, and Leake, 89, were traded away, and Raisel Iglesias sits right at 100).
As always, LET’S GO METS!