Saturday, August 27, 2016

This Wasn’t Good From The Beginning

GAME RECAP: Mets Mash Phillies 9-4

In need of another storybook run as they look to scale the National League Wild Card standings, the Mets on Friday turned to a player best known for his flair for the dramatic. Wilmer Flores slugged his third career grand slam, Asdrubal Cabrera and Jose Reyes combined for three additional homers and Bartolo Colon cruised, leading the Mets to a 9-4 win over the Phillies at Citi Field. The Mets remained 3 1/2 games behind the Cardinals, who also won, in an NL Wild Card race with five serious competitors. "We're not quitting," Flores said. "I think everybody knows that. We've got to keep it going." One of the league's foremost sluggers against left-handed pitchers, Flores clubbed his slam off Phillies starter Adam Morgan in the fifth inning, opening up a five-run lead for the Mets. An inning later, Cabrera hit his second homer, after teaming up with Reyes to open the game with back-to-back solo shots. All of it was more than enough support for Colon, a beacon of sturdiness as injuries crumble the rotation around him. Though the Phillies chased him from the game with four consecutive hits to lead off the eighth inning, Colon became the first Mets starter to pitch even into the sixth inning in their last four games. He allowed four runs in total, holding the Phillies hitless until the fifth. "Colon just seems to own us," Phillies manager Pete Mackanin said. "We can't square the ball up off of him. He does a heck of a job of command and movement. He's tough. Didn't score enough runs to stay in the game." Morgan gave up six runs in five innings, all of them on homers. Though he did record the Phillies' first run with an RBI single, Colon topped him there, too, recording two hits in a game for the first time since 2002.

  • Before Flores broke the game open in the fifth, Ryan Howard found himself with an opportunity to end the inning. With two outs and runners on second and third, Walker hit a popup into foul territory. Howard jogged back, looking over his shoulder, but the ball dropped in foul territory without going into the stands. Walker made the most of the extra chance and walked, setting the stage for Flores' blast. "It was in that floor-to-triangle area, and I was hoping somebody could run that down," Mackanin said. "You got to pitch around those type of things and make good pitches. Like I said, the mistake to Flores, really kind of put it away for them."
  • The Phillies entered the eighth trailing 9-1, with the Mets seemingly en route to an easy victory. But then Peter Bourjos and Jimmy Paredes led off the inning with singles, and Cesar Hernandez doubled both home. Aaron Altherr, the next batter, doubled in Hernandez to chase Colon from the game. The Phillies wouldn't score again, though.
  • For the third time this season, the Mets hit four home runs against the Phillies. It ties a single-season franchise record, which they set in 1990 against the Astros.
  • Colon passed Luis Tiant with his 230th career win, moving into sixth place among pitchers born outside the United States (since 1900).

Jeremy Hellickson takes the mound Saturday at 7:10 p.m. ET at Citi Field against a Mets team he's struggled against this season. In three starts, he's compiled a 5.63 ERA and a 1-1 mark. Fresh off perhaps his best start of the season, Noah Syndergaard will return to the mound to start against the Phillies on Saturday. He gave the Mets eight shutout innings last time out in San Francisco, improving to 11-7 with a 2.61 ERA.


Welcome To The Roller Coaster – Friday night at Citi Field, Adam Morgan made history, but not the kind he'll want to remember. In losing his eighth consecutive decision, the lefty tied for the franchise's third-longest losing streak among starting pitchers since 1913. After some first-inning fireworks, Morgan settled down until the fifth. That's when Mets first baseman Wilmer Flores smashed a grand slam to left-center field, effectively handing the Phillies, and Morgan, the loss. Morgan left after completing the inning, finishing with six earned runs allowed on eight hits and two walks in the Phillies' 9-4 loss. "Command issues, missing location, it's as simple as that," manager Pete Mackanin said. "Too many pitches out over the plate to hit." It started from the beginning. Jose Reyes sent Morgan's fourth pitch of the night over the fence, and Asdrubal Cabrera deposited his very next offering into the seats, too. Morgan got into somewhat of a groove from there. After allowing a Yoenis Cespedes single, he retired three in a row to the end the frame. He allowed three baserunners but escaped damage from the second to the fourth. He was starting to resemble the pitcher who allowed just one earned run over six innings against the Cardinals last week. Plus, Morgan finished Friday night with eight strikeouts. But things started to unravel in the fifth. Bartolo Colon and Reyes began the inning with back-to-back doubles, and after inducing a pair of groundouts, Morgan watched as first baseman Ryan Howard couldn't corral a popup off the bat of Neil Walker in foul territory. With the inning extended, Morgan walked Walker in a nine-pitch at-bat. "I don't know if [Walker] wore him out," Mackanin said. "He just made a bad pitch to Flores. Tried a backdoor slider and it ended up right in his wheelhouse." Indeed, Flores crushed the first pitch he saw -- an 82-mph slider -- over the fence. "That's the one looking back, if I got that, it's a whole different ballgame," Morgan said. Morgan has pitched well in the Minor Leagues this season. He's 6-1 with a 3.04 ERA in eight games with Triple-A Lehigh Valley, but that success for the most part hasn't carried over to the Majors, where he is 1-8 with a 6.50 ERA. Philadelphia made a late run, scoring three runs in the top of the eighth. Still, the deficit created by Morgan proved too much to overcome. "I'm definitely not giving up on myself or this team," Morgan said. "I see improvement. Sure, the home runs and the numbers will tell you different, but I see improvement."

There Can Be Only One – Not much remains from the Phillies' 2008 World Series team. Chase Utley? Gone. Jimmy Rollins? Gone. So are Cole Hamels, Brad Lidge and Jayson Werth. Don't forget about manager Charlie Manuel, either. Now, with Carlos Ruiz's trade to the Dodgers on Thursday, only one player from Philadelphia's magical season is left: Ryan Howard. "You play with guys your entire career, now you see them in different uniforms. It's definitely something you need to get used to," Howard said. "But that's baseball. That's the business aspect of it." Ruiz joins fellow former Phillies Utley and Joe Blanton in Los Angeles. Howard's future, of course, is also unclear. He has one year left on the five-year, $125 million contract he signed before the 2012 campaign, but the Phillies could exercise a $10 million buyout on his club option for '17 instead of paying the $23 million owed to him next season. Howard is rumored to have cleared waivers, which means he can be traded before Aug. 31. He hit cleanup against the Mets on Friday, and he entered the game slashing .199/.252/.442 with 19 homers and 43 RBIs. "It's crazy, he's going over there playing for a team that's playing for another ring," Howard said of Ruiz. Eight years ago, Howard, Ruiz and the rest of the Phillies helped the franchise capture its first World Series since 1980. Ruiz's trade pushes the memory even further into the past.

Today In Phils History – The Phillies issued 17 free passes against the Dodgers in 1903 but still only lost the game by 1 run. Pitcher Art Lopatka filed suit against the Phillies in 1948 alleging that the team’s trainer did not issue proper care following being hit in the hand by a batted ball during batting practice in April of 1946 which was later concluded to be a broken hand which subsequently became infected and ended his career. 3 years later, Del Wilber hit 3 solo homeruns for the Phillies accounting for all of the scoring in the shutout against the Reds. In 1987, Mike Schmidt hit career homerun #522 passing Ted Williams and Willie McCovey for 9th on the all time list. Bobby Abreu hit a walk off, inside the park, homerun in the bottom of the 10th in 2000. The Phillies acquired Jeff Conine on this day in 2006. Lastly, Happy Birthday to Jim Thome who was born on this day in 1970 (Mike Maddux is also celebrating his 55th birthday today).  

The Phillies are currently 59-69 this season putting them on pace to beat most preseason predictions. All time, the Phillies are 48-51-1 on this day. I expect the Phillies to finish in the bottom half of the division but not last in the NL East by finishing the season with a 77-85 record.

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