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Phillies Tire of Pounding Mets, Lose Finale

Posted By Christopher Rowe On Aug 26 2011 @ 11:04 am In Philadelphia Phillies | 1 Comment

The Philadelphia Phillies suffered a rare day game loss at the hands of the New York Mets. Prior to the series finale, the Phillies were 29-13 in day games (16-4 at home), whereas the Mets were 18-22 in afternoon outings. Phillies have won 10 of 15 against the Mets this season. More importantly, the Phillies had pounded the Mets 19-4 in the previous two games – which included Vance Worley’s 8th straight start won as well as Cliff Lee’s 5th straight win (14th overall) leading to the team’s 83-45 record. This also marks the fifth month in a row where the Phils notched at least 15 wins – with a week remaining and the Marlins (9-3 in 12 head to head games this season) on deck. Despite the loss Phillies remain 6-1/2 games up on Atlanta Braves.

The unexpected loss falls on the shoulders of Kyle Kendrick, who drops to 7-6 on the season, but it wasn’t entirely Kendrick’s fault today. Michael Martinez botched a double-play, allowing the Mets to score four runs in the inning. Three of those runs came in the form of a Nick Evans home run. All of those four first-inning runs were unearned, meaning Kendrick only surrendered two earned runs over four innings of work. 

Countering Kendrick on the bump was Mets Mike Pelfrey, who has always had trouble with Philadelphia. Pelfrey managed six innings and only allowing three earned runs while striking out two batters. With the win, Pelfrey now moves to 7-10 on the season. Phillies fans witnessed Pelfrey’s previous two starts at Citizens Bank Park, where Pelfrey sported an absurd 14.21 ERA. 

Unfortunately, though, the Phillies hitters just didn’t have the same pop today as they displayed in the first two games of this series. John Mayberry Jr. had a rough game, going 0-4 with a popout behind the plate in the seventh inning with a runner on. Mayberry is now 0-8 against Pelfrey in his career but went deep (with 5 RBI) in back to back games Tuesday and Wednesday. Shane Victorino has been on fire too offering 2 HR and a triple since taking the leadoff spot from Jimmy Rollins (on DL). Unlikely heroes like Ben Francisco and Wilson Valdez have been taking advantage of rare playing time while Placido Polanco has returned from his DL stint.

Ryan Howard went hitless once again and struck out in the ninth inning with a runner on first. He did reach base twice via walks, but has been cold of late. Howard usually heats up in September and will take advantage of a day or two off this week. Hunter Pence, Chase Utley, and Carlos Ruiz combined to go 7-14 with two RBI’s, while Howard, Martinez and Mayberry combined to go 1-11 in the game. 

Ross Gload made news when he contributed an eighth inning double — his first hit since July 28 (ending an 0-15 slump). The hit sparked some life in the Phillies dugout. Following Gload’s at-bat, Victorino chopped a pitch over to the second baseman and scampered down the first base line. Victorino was called safe, even though the throw clearly beat him. 

Placido Polanco has returned and has his average up to .280 but he will likely continue to share time with Valdez and Martinez at third. Polanco smacked a shot up the middle but Josh Turner made a tremendous diving stop, flipped it to second and started an inning-ending double-play. This was how the day went for the Phillies as they failed to execute with runners-on — 12 LOB, matching the Mets also left 12 runners on-base, as well) and made mistakes in the field.

 Clearly these mental mistakes are preventable and the Phillies can afford a 2-1 series to the moribund Mets. Same goes for the floundering Florida Marlins but let’s not get too used to this lackadaisical style of play. One month from now there will be playoff baseball and by then Philadelphia should be firing on all cylinders with the return of Cole Hamels, Jimmy Rollins and full compliment on the bench. One Phillie who will not be returning is reliever Jose Contreras, who has scheduled season-ending surgery. This should secure a roster spot for David Herndon in the postseason Phillies bullpen through it still doesn’t solve the problem of Vance Worley, Kyle Kendrick and Brad Lidge.

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