“The series that went awry” is the only way to summarize this past series with the New York Mets.
While I, and many other Phillies fans, looked at the series with New York as a perfect time to face the Mets, it seems as though the Mets had similar conceptions in their minds. For them it was the perfect time to face the Phillies. After losing five straight, the golden opportunity arose for the Mets as they looked at the Phillies with hungry eyes, and contrary to the Phightins, the Mets took advantage.
In game one of the series, Bartolo Colon walked to the mound with 13 earned runs in the past 9.1 innings pitched. Such numbers would have seemed to be promising for a hot-hitting Phillies team. The Phillies offense seemingly started off hot with a few early inning hits, which culminated in two runs in the third inning on a Chase Utley RBI single. The Phillies’ offense continued to look strong until it seemed to climax in the fifth inning. With bases loaded and Ryan Howard to the plate facing a slow throwing, fastball dominant, Bartolo Colon everything seemed to add up to runs and a lot of them. Howard got the fastball he was looking for and drove it high and far to deep center – a shot that fans, and Howard alike, thought was gone. Yet, the cards were not in our favor as the Howard bomb turned into only a sacrifice fly as Juan Lagares was able to gather himself under the ball to make the play. This, as I said, seemed to be the climax of not only the Phillies’ offense but of Ryan Howard’s hot streak as well. As the Phillies’ offense came to a dull ending, the Mets’ offense took off in the sixth inning, which lasted to the end of the series, after a three run bomb from Mets’ shortstop Wilmer Flores.
A little discouraged by the beginning of the series as the sweep was no longer possible, I was confident that we would still win the series. Quickly, my confidence diminished as the Mets put up an early three spot and Jacob deGrom cruised through the Phillies’ offense, at one point retiring ten straight. Yet, all was not lost as the Phillies’ offense became to come through in the eighth inning scoring four runs and putting the Phillies back on top. Entering the bottom of the eighth, I hoped and prayed that Ryne Sandberg would put Jonathan Papelbon in for a six-out save as he seems to be the only pitcher in the bullpen with any sense of confidence. Alas, Papelbon sat on the pine as Ken Giles entered the game. Giles, unable to find the strike zone, ended up allowing the game tying run and almost the game-winning run if it was not for the heroics and great glove of Maikel Franco who forced the game to extra innings. The tale of this series began to unfurl, each time the Phillies scored, the Mets would seem to match them. Again with no confidence in the bullpen, extra innings would prove to be a breeze for the Mets as Wilmer Flores, yet again, won the game for the Mets with an RBI single in the bottom of the tenth inning.
After game three, the city of Philadelphia and the Phillies themselves both seemed to have given up all hope for the series. The final game of the series turned out to be a hitting parade – for the foe rather than the friend. Instead of taking advantage of rookie Noah Syndergaard, the rookie decided to take advantage of the struggling Phillies by not only pitching 7.1 scoreless innings with six strikeouts but also by hitting a solo shot- an emphasis on the word shot is necessary. The Phillies turned rookie Syndergaard into something of a SynderGod.
Oh, sorry to focus on the Mets’ pitcher, Sean O’Sullivan had a single, his first hit since June 12, 2013.
On top of Syndergaard’s strong performance, Lucas Duda hit two long balls while Michael Cuddyer hit one. The motto in New York was “everyone hits.” Rather, for the Phillies the contrary was evident as they failed to score even one measly run. And, instead of pitching Papelbon in the eighth inning of Game 2 when it mattered, Papelbon was given some work in the eighth inning of the final game of the series while trailing 7-0.
One play that summarized the entire series took place in the seventh inning of the final game. On a soft dribbler back to Jake Diekman from Flores, with a man on first, Diekman got ready to turn what would seem to be an easy double play. However, Diekman’s throw was off target and scuttled behind second base to Chase Utley, who was backing up the throw to second. After missing the first out, Utley fired the ball to first hoping to record at least one out on the broken play. Fate would run its course, and Flores would reach first easily. A failed conventional double play, the epitome of the series with the Mets.
For a series that had the appearance and onset to yield hopeful results it seemed that everything that could go wrong did go wrong. But, you know, that is what makes baseball great, as predictions and prospects do not always pan out, you must come to expect anything out of every single game.
To finish such a downbeat series, Phillies Beat Writer, Jake Kaplan, highlighted a nice statistic for us on Twitter.
No Phillies players in the top five at any position after the first round of NL All-Star voting.
— Jake Kaplan (@jakemkaplan) May 27, 2015
But as always, Let’s Go Phillies!