Phillies 3, Mets 2: I Wish This Game Had Been More Interesting

It was one frightfully dull game. It was so dull that the most noteworthy play of the game was a slide into second base. Thnkfully, it was quick: the game lasted just a little over two hours. But what made the whole thing worse was that it looked like the Phillies fans at Citizens' Bank Park were having such a wonderful time despite the boredom, in part because they won, but also because results still mean something to them. I remember how that feels, and I miss it. Maybe tomorrow I’ll try pretending the game still matters. Or maybe I’ll just cut my losses and take a nap instead.

Anyway, the game got off to a rocky start on the first pitch, when R.A. Dickey served up a long ball to all-round good guy Shane Victorino. Right from the get-go the game felt out of reach. It was obvious that Dickey didn’t have his best stuff: he was missing high often early, though he settled down a little in that regard later on. After giving up the homer to Victorino, Dickey promptly allowed a single to Placido Polanco and walked Chase Utley. Neither man scored, but it just set the tone for Dickey’s outing. A second run came home in the second, when Wilson Valdez, that paragon of offensive fortitude, singled past a diving Jose Reyes and advanced to second on Joe Blanton’s sacrifice bunt. Victorino came back to the plate and doubled to left, plating Valdez. Three cheers for Shane!

The Mets briefly restored a pang of hope in the fourth when Ike Davis singled—Ike was a bright spot once again, collecting two singles and a double we’ll touch upon later—and Angel Pagan hit a no-doubt-about-it homer to deep right, tying the game at two.

The problem: that was pretty much it for the rest of the game. The lineup did zilch against Blanton, who allowed just the two runs over seven innings, walking one and striking out six. Most impressive: he needed only 74 pitches to complete those seven innings. Mets hitters were swinging often and early, and it really played right into Charlie Manuel’s sweaty palms; he got to save both his bullpen and his starter’s arm. The Phils took the lead again in the bottom half of the fourth, when Carlos Ruiz singled home Raul Ibanez, putting Philadelphia up 3-2.

The fifth inning provided the game’s only real controversy, when Chase Utley slid hard into second baseman Ruben Tejada to break up a double play. In my opinion, the slide was not dirty: he kept his spikes down and clearly wasn’t trying to hurt anyone. It was late and pretty unnecessary from a team that needs a healthy Utley more than a victory tonight. What it did cause, however, was an obsession in the booth as to whether the Mets needed to—and would—retaliate. But they never found the opportunity to return the favor to Utley at second, and Pedro Feliciano didn’t give Utley any chin music when he strode to the plate for the final time. For the most part, the slide and its aftermath was a non-event.

The game got a little more interesting the top of the ninth, when the Mets made a valiant effort to tie the game. Ike Davis hit a one-out double off the W.B. Mason sign in left—a ball Gary Cohen incorrectly called a home run initially—and advanced to third on a sac fly by Pagan. Josh Thole walked, and Jerry Manuel shockingly didn’t let Joaquin Arias bat for himself with the winning run 90 feet away. Instead, he sent Jesus Feliciano to the plate, who quickly hit a comebacker to Brad Lidge to end the game.

But it didn’t end the game, because Josh Thole had called time so he could be taken out for pinch-runner Luis Castillo. Charlie Manuel then screamed his head off at the umps for a few minutes then, apparently forgetting that Jesus Feliciano isn’t very good. Feliciano struck out two pitches later. The loss was the Mets’ sixth straight, and the win the Phillies’ eleventh straight.

I’m desperately hoping for something a little more lively tomorrow. In fact, l’m going to try to imagine ways in which the Mets can retaliate against Utley. Dillon Gee, tomorrow’s starter, isn’t exactly a flamethrower, so a dirty play at second may be the way to go. So I’ll suggest the Mets punt defense (hell, punt offense, too) and just play their eight largest players. I’d like to see a lineup like this:

Num Player Pos
1 Lucas Duda LF
2 Chris Carter RF
3 Mike Hessman 3B
4 Ike Davis 1B
5 Henry Blanco C
6 R.A. Dickey 2B
7 Dillon Gee P
8 Mike Pelfrey SS
9 Oliver Perez CF

Gotta get the largest guys in there, and Duda’s the largest, so bat him leadoff to get him the most opportunities to reach second. R.A. Dickey gets the nod so he gets the chance to stand up for the guy who took a bruise while he was on the mound. And Oliver Perez can serve as a last-resort kamikaze option. Or maybe a first-resort kamikaze option. I want to see guys sliding into second on home run trots, stretching infield hits into doubles. Ruben Tejada requires vengeance!

Poem by Howard Megdal

The standings change, the games stay static
Phils win it close, but win's emphatic
Utley's aggressive approach to second base
On a date, would have gotten him a slapped face
Or brushed back by a self-respecting team
But with Mets, for revenge, all we can do is dream

SB Nation Coverage

* Traditional Recap
* Boxscore
* Amazin' Avenue Gamethread
* The Good Phight Gamethread

Win Probability Added

Big winners: Ike Davis, +13.7% WPA, Elmer Dessens, +4.7% WPA
Big losers: Jesus Feliciano, -16.8% WPA, R.A. Dickey, -3.7% WPA
Teh aw3s0mest play: Angel Pagan two-run home run in the fourth, +20.7% WPA
Teh sux0rest play: Jesus Feliciano's strikeout to end the game, -16.8% WPA
Total pitcher WPA: +4.3% WPA
Total batter WPA: -54.3% WPA
GWRBI!: Carlos Ruiz

Game Thread Roll Call

Nice job by MookieTheCat; his effort in the game thread embiggens us all.

Num Name # of Posts
1 MookieTheCat 103
2 Spike Davis 96
3 jdon 60
4 fxcarden 56
5 aparkermarshall 47
6 Gina 43
7 NYC Russ 33
8 Michkin 26
9 Syler 25
10 packard37 21
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