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)
Notes from last night’s game:
The Mets came from 6 runs down in the 7th inning to defeat the Nationals 8-7 yesterday. It is the first time since 2001 the Mets have overcome a 6+ run deficit in the 7th inning or later, and it is the first time this year the Mets have overcome a 6+ run deficit of any kind.
Kirk Nieuwenhuis hit his first career pinch-hit home run last night. He is only the third Met to homer against Jonathan Papelbon. The other two were Omir Santos (2009, below) and Jordany Valdespin (twice, 2012 and 2013).
Though his bullpen imploded in the 7th inning last night, allowing six two-out walks, two two-out hits, and six two-out runs, Matt Williams received bad press from his inexplicable decision to bunt with a 3-1 count and Anthony Rendon at the plate in the ninth inning. Let’s review the reasons NOT to bunt:
- Bunting with none out and a runner on first LOWERS his team’s average run expectancy.
- Anthony Rendon is a top-5 MVP finisher from last season who has been getting hot at the plate.
- Anthony Rendon is not an accustomed bunter.
- Bryce Harper would come up next with an open base and a golden opportunity for the Mets to pitch around him.
- With a 3-1 count, Rendon had a very strong probability of reaching base, whether by walk or by hit. He has a career .492 OBP after a 3-1 count.
- While bunting DOES increase his chances of scoring one run to tie the game, such a move is only worthwhile if Williams has a strong bullpen to carry his team into extras. After using Matt Thornton, Blake Treinen, Felipe Rivero, Drew Storen, and Jonathan Papelbon, Williams only had his weaker arms left.
Rendon, as if on cue, bunted too hard right at Lucas Duda who got the force out at 2nd base. While Bryce Harper did end up walking to put the tying run into scoring position, 1st and 2nd with one out is the same sub-optimal situation Williams was shooting for in the first place. Say Rendon singles or walks, Familia pitches carefully to Harper, and walk him too. Suddenly the bases are loaded, no one out, where a simple batted ball could tie the game.
After the game, Matt Williams was booed out of his press conference (Apparently, a part of the stadium overlooks the press room – who thought this was a good idea?)
Alas, here was the internet’s reaction to yesterday’s game
Here are the other scores from around MLB, including Cubs over Cardinals, Texas gaining on Houston, and Toronto picking up a game on the Yankees.