|Manager Terry Collins pulled Mike Pelfrey in the eighth after Jimmy Rollins singled with two outs.|
It went downhill from there. (NYTimes.com)
Mike Pelfrey was brilliant for almost 8 innings, but the bullpen collapsed again, allowing the Phillies to steal a 5-2 win from the Mets.
The Bad Stuff:
- Taking him out after 7 2/3 innings of 4 hit baseball, Terry Collins elected to send Michael O'Connor to get Chase Utley for the last out. To make a long story short, it didn't work, and four batters and three pitchers later, New York's 2-1 lead disappeared into a sea of 4-2 despair. Philly added a fifth run in the 9th off Dale Thayer, who couldn't have picked a worse time to make his Mets debut. For the second straight night, the bullpen reverted back to its April ways. But this time, I think Terry Collins gets the blame. As I heard on WFAN, he went with conventional wisdom by sending southpaw O'Connor to face lefty Utley, but with a runner on first, two outs, and Pelfrey pitching as good as he was, I would haev left him in there for one more batter. Then, if Utley still got on, I would have sent Isringhausen in there. Of course, as I said yesterday, hindsight is 20/20, and I'm just a simple blogger. Still, I would bet Pelfrey would have found a way to dig deep and get that last out.
- Aside from the bullpen struggles, the offense shut itself down in the middle of the 4th inning. Cole Hamels and company were able to retire seventeen straight Mets to end the game. We're not talking walking a couple, maybe a couple errors, but no hits. We're talking 17 up, 17 down, without fail. This mostly against a guy, Hamels, who New York usually had so much success against. I guess if you spend enough time facing a team, you start to learn how to beat them. In this case, Hamels went from C+ high-schooler to Albert Einstein in the course of 4 1/3 innings, then transferred his knowledge to Jose "Did-You-Even-Know-He-Was-Still-Playing?" Contreras and Ryan Madson.
- For about 7 2/3 innings, it was a good night for the Mets. It starts with Mike Pelfrey, who recovered from his Sunday meltdown in the Bronx to allow just 2 runs (the tying run O'Connor let in was his) on 4 hits, walking just 2 and striking out 6. Take away the 7th at Yankee Stadium and tonight and he's on a roll.
- For 4 1/3 innings, the Mets' bats were clicking too. New York got 2 runs and 7 hits off Hamels in that timespan. Jose Reyes continued to electrify with a leadoff double in the 1st then a single and stolen base in the 3rd, scoring both runs.
- Reyes was driven in by the recent RBI Machine Justin Turner in the 1st. In his last 13 games Turner has 16 RBIs and is batting .340 with 7 doubles and only 5 strikeouts. I'd say he's earned his spot in the everyday lineup even when David Wright and Ike Davis come back. Collins would be nuts not to name him the full-time second baseman.
- Jason Bay brought Reyes home in the 3rd for his 9th RBI of the year.
- Finally, not only were the Mets hitting in the first half of the game, they were running like mad as well. They stole 5 bases in the first three innings: Reyes with 2, and Turner, Bay, and Angel Pagan with 1 a piece.
I feel like I just wrote this article! I said it yesterday, and unfortunately I have to say it again: we let this one get away. Should have won it, ended up losing it. Nothing more to say.
P.S. I was sad to see Dana Brand, a more famous Met blogger, died on Wednesday. Truthfully, I never knew of his blog, but his writing was fantastic, and I'm sure he was a fantastic person as well. Here's a link to his essay "The Curveball" about...well, if you're reading this, you'll know what I'm talking about.