The Mets have quietly owned the Phillies this year, especially when playing at CItizen's Bank Park. They haven't simply won at CBP; they've erased large deficits, brutalized their bullpen, and dealt the Phils some truly demoralizing losses. Pretty much 2007/2008 in reverse. It was fun earlier this year when the Mets had something to play for, but now that they're just playing out the string...it turns out it's still pretty fun.
This game followed a similar pattern to that of other games in Philly this season. The Mets jumped out nicely against Vance Worley in the top of the first, with Ruben Tejada, Daniel Murphy, and David Wright hitting consecutive singles to plate a run. However, Lucas Duda lined into an inning ending double play to remove the threat of more.
Then, Chris Young got to work. Long, laborious work. A lengthy at bat by Jimmy Rollins led to a walk. He had Kevin Frandsen in an 0-2 hole before hitting him with a pitch, then saw another lengthy at bat (Chase Utley) end in a walk to load the bases. Young got ahead of Howard as well, then hung a ridiculously fat pitch that Howard sent to the seats in deep right center for a grand slam.
It was obvious the Mets' plan against Worley was to swing early and often. This plan did not go all that well in the second and third innings, when a pair of hits went for nought. But after Young somehow held down the fort in those frames (while throwing 70 pitches to do so), the Mets crawled a little closer in the fourth. Lucas Duda hit a leadoff single, then Mike Baxter belted a one-out two-run homer to the bleachers in right, trimming the Phillies' lead down to 4-3.
Then, after Young somehow threw another scoreless inning in the bottom of the fourth, the Mets charged again in the top of the fifth. Tejada started it off with a fan-interference double (probably would've been a double anyway), and Murphy reached when Howard couldn't handle a bounced throw to first (generously ruled an infield single). Wright followed with a long sac fly that tied the game and ended Worley's night.
Old friend Raul Valdes managed to get the next two outs on Worley's behalf. Then Young, who looked as if he might crumble all night, finally did with one out in the bottom of the fifth when Chase Utley took him deep with a solo shot to right. That gave Philly the lead once more and sent Young to the showers.
Young probably should have hit those showers much earlier, since lefty Robert Carson was warm in the bullpen when Utley came to bat and had been so for quite some time. Why Collins didn't turn to Carson to face Utley, especially in light of how much Young had struggled all night, is a puzzlement to say the least.
Even more puzzling was the Mets' bullpen suddenly finding the ability to get batters out. Carson finished out the fifth effortlessly and retired the first man in the sixth before Ramon Ramirez closed out that frame. Ramirez also walked Jimmy Rollins to start the bottom of the seventh, but Josh Edgin came on to induce an innning-ending GIDP.
While their bullpen experienced a rare bout of effectiveness, the Mets' bats took their sweet time to do something against Phillies relievers. They went down in order against Valdes in the top of the sixth, then saw an extremely rare leadoff walk from Scott Hairston in the seventh disappear on a strike-em-out-throw-em-out DP to end the inning. Wright walked to start the top of the eighth, and it looked like he too might go to waste when Antonio Bastardo set down Ike Davis and Lucas Duda. The lefty was permitted to face Kelly Shoppach, however, and the Phillies paid for it when the catcher belted a double into the left field corner. The ball's slow roll--and Dominic Brown's even slower pursuit of it--allowed Wright to score the tying run all the way from first.
No Philly counterpunch awaited us, as Edgin and Jon Rauch combined for another goose egg in the bottom of the eighth. Amazingly, Bobby Parnell did the same in the bottom half to send the game to extras. No really, he did. No weird bloop hits or idiotic misplays or anything, I swear.
With no Jordany Valdespin at their disposal, the Mets went quietly against Jonathan Papelbon in the ninth. But in the top of the tenth, they finally found the cure for what ailed their offense in the person of BJ Rosenberg. It began when Wright lucked into a one-out single, dunking a ball into shallow right. Ike Davis had looked impatient at the plate all night, but this time he managed to connect for an opposite field double, one that rolled all the way to the wall, sending Wright home to give the Mets their first lead of the night. Duda followed with a single to shallow center, and Ike ignored Tim Teufel's stop sign and beat the throw home easily. Shoppach put the icing on the cake with a towering two-run blow to the left field seats, stretching the Mets' lead to a Frank Frank-proof four runs.
Parnell allowed a leadoff single in the bottom half but nought else to put a bow on this one. That makes three wins a row for the Amazins for the first time in several millennia, and brings their record to 6-1 in Philly this year. Tomorrow, Matt Harvey faces off against Cole Hamels. I'm calling that the go-ahead run will score on a either dribbler in front of the plate, a balk, or an earthquake-induced error.
Big winners: Kelly Shoppach, 33.4%, Ike Davis, 17.9%
Big losers: Chris Young, -43.7%, Andres Torres, -6.4%
Teh aw3s0mest play: Ike Davis RBI double, top 10th, 36.8%
Teh sux0rest play: Ryan Howard grand slam, bottom first, -20.8%
Total pitcher WPA: -10.8%
Total batter WPA: 60.8%
GWRBI!: Ike Davis RBI double, top 10th