Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Phils jump on Mets in opener, 10-0

The Phillies got back on the winning track last night, embarrassing the Mets in a 10-0 victory.

Remember when the Phils and Mets were rivals? All the verbal sparring and games that mattered; fighting for the division down the stretch with the Phils ultimately erasing a late deficit and taking the division two years in a row? That seems like ages ago.

These two franchises are heading in opposite directions. The Phillies have remained successful, having won the divison every year since their epic comeback to take the NL East in 2007. They have the best record in baseball, and should be a legitimate threat to contend for another championship in October.

The Mets, on the other hand, have faded into obscurity. They're in fourth place, seven games under .500 and 22.5 games behind the Phils. Last year, they finished 18 games out, with a losing record. In 2009, they finished 70-92, 23 games behind the Phils. Stop me if you see a pattern.

Last night was no different. Cliff Lee took the ball and once again dominated, throwing seven seemingly easy scoreless innings, although he did walk an uncharacteristic three batters. He struck out seven, picked up his 14th win of the year and improved to 4-0 in August with just two runs allowed over 31 innings with 32 strikeouts.

The lineup lost two of its regulars, but saw the return of Placido Polanco. Just like they have all year, when someone gets wounded, someone else steps up. Jimmy Rollins hit the DL and Raul Ibanez was scratched with a sore groin. Wilson Valdez filled in at shortstop, and the red hot John Mayberry Jr. occupied left field.

Looks like Mayberry can hit righties too. He hit a two-run homer off Mets starter Dillon Gee in the third inning, his eleventh of the year. Mayberry also added an RBI on a bases loaded walk.

Shane Victorino started the scoring in the second, triping home Wilson Valdez and Cliff Lee, both of whom had singled. Lee hustled around the base-paths on the play, scoring all the way from first.

Carlos Ruiz added a two-run single after Mayberry's walk, and Hunter Pence jacked a two-run shot in the sixth, his 16th of the year and fifth with the Phils.

Polanco went 2-for-4 in his return to the lineup, batting second behind Victorino.

Gee lasted on 3.2 innings, allowing eight runs on seven hits, six walks and three strikeouts.

The Phils' bullpen pitched two scoreless innings; a sight for sore eyes.

David Herndon allowed just two hits over his two frames, with one strikeout. Herndon has not allowed a run in his last nine appearances totaling 10.2 innings, lowering his season ERA from 4.83 to 3.61.

The Phils and Mets get right back at it tonight, with Vance Worley (8-1 2.76) squaring off against Jon Niese (11-10 4.05).

Worley should be well rested after pitching three strong innings against Arizona before a rain delay forced him from the game. Worley is 2-1 in three starts against NY this year. He beat them on July 15, allowing one run on four hits on 5.1 innings with four walks and four strikeouts. His other victory came on his first outing of the year back on April 29. He threw six scoreless innings, allowing two hits and four walks with five strikeouts. His only defeat was an ugly one on May 29. Worley lasted just three innings, allowing eight runs (five earned) on twelve hits.

Niese is 1-2 with a 4.82 ERA He's 3-3 in his career against Philly with a 2.82 ERA. He's started against the Phillies four times this season, losing twice in April and beating them in May and July. Over his two victories, he allowed just three runs (one earned) and struck out twelve. The Phils tagged him for six runs over just four innings back on April 7th.

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