Thursday, April 10, 2008

Phils Fall to Mets in 12

The Mets had made sure to storm the field before Charlie Manuel and Chris Coste could argue the close play at the plate between Coste and Jose Reyes. It had already taken twelve innings and nearly four hours for the Mets to win, 4-3.

In the bottom of the twelfth inning, New York's Angel Pagan hit a single off of Tom Gordon, and Reyes raced from second, around third, and was able to sneak in a run. Jayson Werth threw the ball to Coste, who blocked the plate, but Reyes was able to get his hand around before the tag.

Adam Eaton had another solid start, allowing three runs in six innings while striking out five, but the offense was unable to support him. The runs came on RBI singles from Ryan Church and Carlos Beltran in the fourth inning. The Phillies didn't score any runs until Pedro Feliz homered off John Maine to start the seventh inning. In the eighth Ryan Howard hit another homer off Aaron Heilman, and Feliz grounded out to score So Taguchi in order to tie the game 3-3. It took until the twelfth for either offense to secure the game.

The Phillies really felt the loss of Jimmy Rollins in the lineup. Eric Bruntlett was completely ineffective batting second, going 0-6 and leaving seven men on base. However, the Phillies' other two MVP caliber players were unable to fill the void, each going 1-5 (despite Howard's 1 being a home run). Pat Burrell was able to walk three times, but he was taken out in the eighth for So Taguchi. Normally, this would be an extremely upsetting move, but Taguchi scored the tying run after going first to third on a Geoff Jenkins single, so it's hard to argue with Manuel's decision this time. It's not even that John Maine dominated them. Maine was simply effective as a fly-ball pitcher. More than half of the outs he got were fly outs, and only one was a strikeout.

On the bright side, the bullpen looked very promising today. Ryan Madson came back, J.C. Romero, Brad Lidge, Rudy Seanez, and Tom Gordon were each able to keep the Mets from scoring for an inning, letting by only four hits in six innings, two of those hits being the ones that won the game for the Mets. Normally, Gordon wouldn't be put in for that second inning, so it's not something to be concerned about. Since that first debacle of an appearance at the beginning of the year, Gordon has looked quite good in his appearances. Were Clay Condrey more trustworthy or had Chad Durbin not pitched over three innings the day before, Gordon may not have been used at all in this game.

The game wasn't too poorly managed. While they missed Burrell's bat in the long run, it was Taguchi's speed that tied the game. The only thing that was weird was not allowing Greg Dobbs to pinch hit in the seventh in order to get a slightly more favorable matchup with Jayson Werth when the Mets changed pitchers. They could have used Dobbs' bat in the long run, as Cole Hamels had to eventually pinch hit. The biggest issue was that the offense was lacking. Burrell was constantly walking to first, and there were a couple long balls, but Utley has apparently cooled off and Howard hasn't been able to really get anything started. Once the offense remembers what it's doing, it's comforting to know that Adam Eaton is able to be solid in his outings. Hopefully he can keep that up.

1 comment:

Brian Raab said...

The 7th inning Dobbs situation was played by the book, as is typical of Manuel, but common sense should have caused him to act differently. Maine started the inning by surrendering a home run to Feliz, then gave up a double to Coste. With Eaton due up, Manuel had to pinch hit, and with a right-handed pitcher on the mound, Dobbs was brought in. On the surface this makes sense. Of course, then Feliciano (left-handed) was brought in and Manuel was forced to substitute Werth for Dobbs without even letting Dobbs hit.

This sort of move is fairly common, but in this case Manuel should have been able to predict the outcome and act accordingly. Maine was clearly at the end of his rope, and would likely have been removed regardless of who stepped up to the plate. Also, Feliciano was the only one warming up. That made it obvious that Wille Randolph was going to call in Feliciano once Dobbs had been announced.

The smart move would have been to just bring in Werth. Wosrt-case scenario, Maine stays in and faces a right-handed batter. That wouldn't have been so bad considering Maine had just given up a homer and a double to right-handed batters.

Wasting Dobbs left the Phillies with only Carlos Ruiz available to pinch hit and Cole Hamels would be brought in to bunt in the 11th inning. Hamels managed a bunt single and who knows if Dobbs would have done any better, but had the game lasted any longer than it did, the Phillies would have been in serious trouble, having to use their backup catcher/last position player or bring in another starter to pinch hit.

Again, it probably wouldn't have mattered in this game, but it's little managing mistakes like this one that cost the Phillies several games last year and will probably cost them this year as well.