Last night, the Mets pummeled erstwhile Phillies ace Roy Halladay. It was all jolly good fun, eh wot? But Roy Halladay hasn't been Roy Halladay in quite some time. Cliff Lee, on the other hand, has never been anything other than Cliff Lee. Monday night's laugher was virtually guaranteed to turn into a Tuesday night sob story for the Mets, unless Dillon Gee pitched like Dillon Gee. No, wait, unless he didn't pitch like Dillon Gee. Now I'm confused.
Ok, here's what happened: Cliff Lee did not look exactly overpowering to start off the evening, but neither did he permit any Mets to cross the plate. In the first, Lee allowed a one-out infield hit to Daniel Murphy and a two-out single to the unstoppable John Buck, but stranded both runners. In the second, Lucas Duda hit a leadoff single, only to be erased on a Justin Turner GIDP, and Lee escaped unscathed.
Gee had a slightly different outing. After breezing through the bottom of the first on 8 pitches (including a 3-pitch strikeout of Ben Revere) and retiring Ryan Howard to start the second, he decided that was enough competence for one night. For all the jokes about the Phillies' advanced age, they still have some dudes who can rake on occasion. They also play their games in a breadbox-sized ballpark that is unforgiving to pitchers who leave their offerings up. Gee left many pitches up. Some simple math could tell you what happened next.
It started with one-out singles by Michael Young and Domonic Brown in the top of the second. Brown took second base on his hit thanks to an awful relay throw from Duda, and John Mayberry immediately knocked both runners in with a double down the left field line. Then with two outs, Lee helped his own cause by sneaking a single up the middle to plate Mayberry. Revere blooped a single into left, and Jimmy Rollins (as he still tends to do against the Mets) became momentarily useful by doubling in Lee.
Gee finally retired Chase Utley at the warning track to briefly end the insanity, but the carnage commenced anew in the fourth, as the inning began with Howard and Young hitting back-to-back homers on consecutive pitches. One out later, Mayberry went opposite field and tucked one just fair down the left field line for another homer. The Phils were now up 7-0, which would be bad under any circumstance, but especially so when you have to face Lee.
Given a sizable lead, Lee was thoroughly in command the rest of the way, apart from a few ultimately meaningless hiccups. He steamrolled the Mets in the top of the third, then looked slightly human in the fourth when he allowed an opposite field two-run homer to the still Unstoppable John Buck. This extended the Mets' games-with-homers streak to all eight games thus far. Huzzah! I am sure that is sustainable, especially by John Buck!
Several people surmised Gee might be hung out to dry this evening, owing to a lack of rested relievers, but Buck's homer may have convinced Terry Collins to not completely give up, and so Greg Burke was brought on to start the bottom of the fourth. He issued a one-out walk to Utley and paid for it when Young belted a two-out triple, pushing the Phils' lead up to 8-2. This put Young in a position to hit for the cycle, but he declined to hit the double necessary to do so because that would have just validated the pursuit of a meaningless statistical anomaly. Young is a true leader like that.
Amazingly, the Mets' bullpen kept the Phils off the board the rest of the way. Burke rebounded to retire Philly in order in the fifth. Scott Rice worked the sixth and danced around a walk and a cringe-worthy throwing error by Turner. LaTroy Hawkins set the Phils down 1-2-3 in the seventh, and Brandon Lyon did the same in the eighth.
Unfortunately for the Mets, Lee made sure these efforts went for nought. The closest thing to excitement came when Jordany Valedespin (double switched into the game along with Burke) tripled in the top of the fifth and scored on a rare Lee wild pitch.
Apart from giving the visitors a brief glimmer of hope, JV1 celebrated his triple just a bit too much for the liking of one Phillies beat writer, who expressed his displeasure in tweet form. This in turn led to many angry responses from Mets fans who remembered similar antics from Shane Victorino, Rollins, et al, and/or Mets fans who just felt like yelling at a Phillies beat writer. Rivalries, guys! If I may counsel my fellow fans for a moment, you are always better off not feeding the trolls. Especially ones who appear to be little more than @FanSince09 tweets that have attained self-awareness.
The Mets could not cash in a Murphy double later in the fifth, and Lee proceeded to pitch a perfect sixth, seventh, and eighth. Lee attempted to go the distance, but surrendered two singles in the top of the ninth. Mike Adams closed things out with a strikeout of Ruben Tejada.
So, in summation: Cliff Lee is Cliff Lee. Dillon Gee is Dillon Gee, though exactly what Dillon Gee is will await determination until his next start in Minnesota, if then. Roy Halladay is Roy Halladay per the readjusted definition of Roy Halladay, The Phils are the Phils, the Mets are the Mets, parts is parts, you are you, that's the news, and I am outta here!
/Weekend Update bumper
SB Nation Coverage
Win Probability Added
Big winners: John Buck, +4.2%, Daniel Murphy, +2.3%
Big losers: Dillon Gee, -34.7%, Justin Turner, -8.7%
Teh aw3s0mest play: John Buck two-run homer, top fourth, +3.5%
Teh sux0rest play: John Mayberry two-run double, bottom second, -12.8%
Total pitcher WPA: -34.8%
Total batter WPA: -15.2%
GWRBI!: Jimmy Rollins RBI double, bottom second