Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Phillies Overpowered by Mets

GAME RECAP: Mets Beat Phillies 6-3

Three home runs helped the Mets burst out of a long weekend offensive drought, with Wilmer Flores' three-run shot in the sixth propelling New York to a 6-3 win over the Phillies at Citi Field. "The home runs were a big difference today," Mets manager Terry Collins said. "That's something we have not been doing." Flores, Michael Cuddyer and Lucas Duda all went deep in support of Bartolo Colon, who earned his seventh win by holding Philadelphia to three runs over six innings. Colon struck out six, walked two and allowed a two-run single to Chase Utley in the third. Ryan Howard drove in the other Philadelphia run with a sacrifice fly in the fifth. "I do feel as a team we are playing better," said Howard, whose team has lost five of seven following a six-game winning streak. "You've got to continue to try to find the positives. The results aren't necessarily there all the time. But you just have to continue to try to find the positive in each day and try to carry it over." Flores' blast off Justin De Fratus scored Cuddyer and Daniel Murphy, who also added an RBI single. The homer gave the Mets their first win in four tries and Flores sole possession of the Major-lead homer lead among shortstops, with seven. "When he gets to the 400 at-bat mark this guy is going to have some pretty impressive numbers," Collins said. "I just know he's a good hitter. He's a clutch hitter with guys on base."

  • Phillies right-hander Severino Gonzalez cannot get through a lineup more than twice. He lasted just 4 1/3 innings. In four starts this season, he has not pitched more than five innings.
  • De Fratus replaced Elvis Araujo with a runner on first and no outs in the sixth inning. He walked Cuddyer on four pitches, then allowed a three-run home run to Flores to make it 6-3. De Fratus has allowed 7 of 9 inherited runners (77.8 percent) to score this season, which is the highest percentage in baseball among relievers with eight or more inherited runners. "It was tough to find the strike zone today," De Fratus said. "It was just a freak day."
  • Utley went 2-for-3 with two RBIs and one walk. He is hitting .406 (13-for-32) with five doubles, one triple, six RBIs and a 1.111 OPS in his past 10 games.
  • "I ain't going to lie, I thought I had it. It would have been nice if it had gone. I guess it's knowing the field, knowing where the jetstream is." -- Howard, who flied out deep to center field with the bases loaded in the fifth inning.
  • Outfielder Kelly Dugan, who ranks No. 16 among Phillies prospects according to MLBPipeline.com, will begin to play extended spring training games Wednesday in Clearwater, Fla. He has been sidelined with a stress fracture in his right foot.
  • Phillies first baseman Ryan Howard is the only player on Philadelphia's roster with an extra-base hit against deGrom. He has homered.
  • Freddy Galvis is 3-for-3 against deGrom.
  • The Mets have won 18 of their past 23 games against the Phillies.

Mets right-hander Jacob deGrom pitches Tuesday night against the Phillies at Citi Field, where he hopes to build upon a dominant pitching performance last week against the Cardinals. He allowed one hit and struck out 11 in eight scoreless innings against St. Louis. He is 2-0 with a 1.37 ERA in three career starts against the Phillies. Phillies right-hander Jerome Williams hopes to finish May on a high note because so far it has been a tough one. He is 1-3 with a 7.03 ERA in five starts in May, following a solid April, when he went 2-1 with a 3.80 ERA in four starts.


Room For Improvement – Phillies right-hander Severino Gonzalez is in the rotation for the foreseeable future, which means at some point the 22-year-old must prove capable of pitching more than twice through a lineup. He lasted 4 1/3 innings in Monday's 6-3 loss to the Mets at Citi Field. He is 2-1 with a 6.88 ERA in four starts. "The second and third time through the order, I have to pay attention to that," Phillies manager Ryne Sandberg said. "He's a young pitcher. He's still working on the secondary pitches. The first time through the order, his fastball is effective. But you know what? Since he's been here, he's hung in there and held his own pretty well." Gonzalez struck out the side in both the first and second innings -- he allowed one run in the first -- and recorded his first seven outs via strikeout, until Lucas Duda crushed a solo home run 452 feet to right field in the third and Michael Cuddyer ripped a solo homer 434 feet to left field in the fourth. Gonzalez then allowed a leadoff single to Mets pitcher Bartolo Colon in the fifth. Curtis Granderson followed with a single to right. Sandberg pulled him two batters later. Gonzalez entered the afternoon holding hitters to a .593 OPS the first time through the lineup. The OPS ballooned to 1.301 the second time through. It explains why Gonzalez has not pitched more than five innings in any of his starts. "That's one of those goals I have," Gonzalez said through translator and teammate Andres Blanco. "Stretch a little bit more. That's good for me and good for the team." Perhaps Gonzalez took a step in the right direction. He had struck out just five batters in his first 12 2/3 innings this season. He struck out eight Monday. "Basically, I focused more on keeping the ball down," he said. "The other team, they will swing at everything, something that will help. The changeup worked pretty well today."

Looking To Improve Their Performance – If the Phillies could hit just enough and get enough quality starts from the rotation, they figured they could surprise a few people this season because they expected to have one of the best bullpens in baseball. It has not happened that way. The bullpen allowed three runs in Monday's 6-3 loss to the Mets at Citi Field. Left-hander Elvis Araujo got a huge inning-ending double play in the fifth inning. But after he allowed a single to Daniel Murphy in the sixth, Phillies right-hander Justin De Fratus walked Michael Cuddyer on four pitches before Wilmer Flores hit a 3-1 fastball over the wall in left field for a three-run home run. "It was tough to find the strike zone today," De Fratus said. "It was just a freak day. "I watched the video [of Flores' homer run]. I mean, I'm trying to get it down and away. I think I got it away enough, but it's such a predictable count. I think at that moment, I hadn't thrown any secondary pitch for a strike yet. Flores, he did what he should with that pitch. He should barrel it. He should hit it hard, and he did, and it got over the wall." The Phillies' bullpen has the highest WHIP in baseball at 1.52. It also has allowed 21-of-41 inherited runners (51.2 percent) to score, which is the highest mark in the Majors. The average bullpen entered the day having allowed 30.6 percent of inherited runners to score. No other bullpen had allowed more than 45.1 percent to score. "Yeah, that's been a problem for us," Phillies manager Ryne Sandberg said. "A lot of the same. A lack of establishing the strike zone out of the 'pen. And quality pitches when they're pitching behind in the count." De Fratus has allowed 7-of-9 (77.8 percent) inherited runners to score this season. Phillies left-hander Jake Diekman has allowed 7-of-11 (63.6 percent). They have the two highest percentages in baseball among pitchers with eight or more inherited runners. That is a considerable change from the past. De Fratus had allowed 27-of-84 inherited runners (32.1 percent) to score before the season. Diekman had allowed 21-of-75 (28.0 percent). That is more in line with the 28.7 percent big league average from 2012-14. "I don't know if that is really attributed to anything," De Fratus said. "It's just a matter of sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't. The game plan hasn't changed. I'm still out there trying to go in and pound the strike zone. It didn't happen today. It's just one of those days. My arm wasn't catching up like it usually does. That's really all it was."

The Phillies are starting the season as expected and are now near the bottom of the NL east at 19-28. Given the departures, aging stars, injuries, and performance this spring, don’t expect their competitive place in the standings to last. All time, the Phillies are 41-52-0 on this day.

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