A very tough game to lose as two disturbing trends are beginning to develop. The team can't hit and Heilman sucks.
El Duque was awesome in this game. He has been fantastic this season, pitching some of the best ball of his life. His ERA is now 1.94, 0.82 over his last 5 starts. In 5 of 8 starts he's given up 3 hits or fewer. Righthanded hitters are 0 for their last 29 against him. But he's only 3-1. He deserved better.
But he did get into his customary trouble in the first inning when Rollins singled and stole second. Newhan saved his ass with a diving catch in left field, made more spectacular by the fact that he seldom plays out there.
Carlos Beltran put the Mets on top in the fourth with his first home run since May 13. It was the first home run by a Mets outfielder in 182 at bats.
The Mets had a chance to add more runs but Delgado runs like he has a dick up his ass. Delgado on third, Wright on second with one out and Gotay hits a medium depth flyball to right. Delgado doesn't seem to be running hard, then he spends 5 seconds while running, looking at the throw. It was a perfect throw from Victorino (anything less wouldn't have gotten him), but I think if he had just put his head down and really busted it, he would have been safe. As it turned out, that double play was a huge point in this game.
At this point with the Mets winning and El Duque pitching great the broadcast team split up, Ron Darling went to sit behind home plate and hilarity ensued. First they showed a triple split, with Kevin Burkhardt in one box next to the Mets dugout, Darling in another and Keith and Gary in the booth in a third. Someone made a comment about Hollywood Squares and how Kevin was too young to see the show, hosted by Pete Marshall. Gary commented that Marshall's son used to play in the majors. This is when Keith broke out one of my favorite strategies, he asked a question he already knew the answer to. Keith said "what was his name?" And Gary answered "Pete LaCock"
. Then Keith started giggling like a little kid.
A few seconds after that joke died down the cameras caught Ron getting food from the waiter service available in those high priced seats. He got a hot dog, chips, cole slaw and a Diet Pepsi. Prompting Keith to say "that sounds like Rusty's order, 15 cheeseburgers and a Diet Coke."
The Mets made it 2-0 with an old fashioned manufactured run. Chavez singled, stole second, went to third and scored on two groundouts.
Then Aaron Heilman blew the game. He gave up a walk and single immediately, but he bounced back thanks to a sacrifice bunt and a punch out of Burrell on a very questionable check swing. Although he did get him in the hole with a beautiful changeup. So he almost got out of it then with a 1-2 count on Rollins he caught too much of the plate and J.Ro crushed it for the game winning 3 run homer.
I don't have a problem with Willie leaving him in. Rollins is a switch hitter who does better against lefties. And although Heilman's ERA is 4.28 which is not terrible, he has sucked this year, blowing several games.
Does Heilman have Brad Lidge Syndrome left over from his series losing home run to Yadier Molina? I don't think so. I think Heilman sucked before that.
Amazing if the Mets could have really gotten Roy Oswalt for Heilman and Milledge last year (I don't think that rumor is true), but now neither of one of them has any trade value at all.
With Joe Smith being so effective against righties, and Mota looking good so far since his return (other than a somewhat meaningless 3 run homer against Arizona), I really think Heilman should be demoted to pitching only in games that are not close.
Things went from bad to worse in the bottom of the 7th. It really looked like the Mets would shake off that bad inning and Heilman would vulture another W. Gotay reached on an error by the pitcher and David Newhan was called on to bunt. This was the right situation to sacrifice, in need of one run, late in the game, team not scoring. But Newhan is an inexperienced bunter and popped up his two attempts. But with two strikes he swung away and blooped a double into left field.
Then Julio Franco came up and the Mets got burned by not using the contact play. Basically, I hate the contact play because in almost every case a ball that you can score on with the contact play on, you can also score on with the contact play off. It just so happens that in this case Franco hit one of those balls you couldn't. Franco has gotten a lot of criticism but I don't blame him, he hit it hard, on the ground, to the right side, Howard just made a great play. Even worse, this was one of the few times the contact play should have been on, because it was second and third and nobody out. Meaning if you put the contact play on and it doesn't work, you have first and third and one out (double play is unlikely because of the tag play at home), not that big of a risk when you consider the potential reward. As it happened they still had second and third and one out, Reyes was walked to load the bases.
And Willie made another mistake. Endy Chavez has been incredibly clutch this year with his bunting. And he has been in an incredible slump lately. I think the suicide squeeze should have been on. Philly might have been expecting it, but I still think Endy could have gotten the bunt down and tied the game. Instead he hit into a double play (his second of the game and fourth of the season), and hurt his hamstring running down the line. Not sure if he would have beaten it out anyway, but his injury looked serious. I expect him to be out for at least 15 days.
That play completely sucked the life out of the team and they went down in order in the 8th and 9th.
The Mets now have their first three game losing streak of the season. They'll try to avoid their first series sweep with John Maine on the mound against Phillies ace, 8-2 Cole Hamels.
Labels: el duque, phillies, unhappy recap