Sunday, May 3, 2009

The most conventional of wins: The walk-off walk

A bit anti-climatic, but I'll take it, especially against New York; I just love to watch the Mets' bullpen implode. The truth is, the Phillies were lucky to win that ballgame and had they lost, it wouldn't have been the Mets that beat them. They would have beaten themselves.

Bad Ollie showed up for New York, as he has all season, and the Phillies got off to a great start against him. Shane Victorino led-off with a triple that struggling outfielder Daniel Murphy misplayed, and Carlos Beltran was once again, not hustling for the Mets and failed to back-up the play. Raul Ibanez drove him in, of course, and Jimmy Rollins knocked in another run to put them ahead 2-0 after the first for a successful start, despite Carlos Ruiz's bases loaded popup on a 3-1 pitch.

Jamie Moyer was inconsistent, and not his typical self, walking four batters, three of which led off an inning. With Moyer struggling but limiting the Mets, the Phillies needed to jump on Perez and take advantage of all their opportunities, but failed to do so. After Perez walked Moyer to force in a run and was lifted from the game, Victorino smoked a ball up the middle that hit the pitcher who then started an odd 1-2-6 double play to end the inning. In the fourth, the Phils left a runner stranded at third, with less than two outs.

Even though the Mets typically don't score late in games, you could see and feel a rally coming as they kept chipping away at Moyer but not quite breaking through. The problem with the Mets sixth inning rally to take the lead is the way it happened. Moyer retired the first two batters of the inning and was facing the bottom of the lineup. A veteran pitcher like Moyer needs to end that inning with the lead intact. Certainly after Murphy's home run, he needs to settle down and retire the next batter, with his team clinging to a one-run lead. He was unable to do these things, and Scott Eyre was once again horrendous in relief,as the Mets went ahead by one after Clay Condrey terrifyingly retired Gary Sheffield with the bags juiced.

Raul Ibanez hit an absolute blast in the bottom of the sixth to tie it, Jayson Werth threw Omir Santos out at the plate to bail Ryan Madson out, and Victorino's bases loaded walk in the tenth won the game. Fortunately, all the Phillies' mistakes didn't cost them the game and they could take a series this afternoon if Joe Blanton can bounce back from a lousy start. Today's starter John Maine was brought into yesterday's game as a pinch runner. He didn't do any strenuous running, but who knows, maybe he'll become fatigued an inning earlier than he would have, had he not entered the game. Something to keep an eye on.

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