In a move that could prove costly this weekend against the Atlanta Braves, the Phillies wasted all their runs for the rest of the week in one game, beating the Mets 16-1 at Citi Field last night.
The 16 runs are the most scored by the Phillies in any game this year, tallying eight runs in the first, one in the eighth and then, in an obvious display of sheer waste, scored seven more in the ninth. The Phils pounded out a season-high 21 hits as well, including a five-hit game from Juan Pierre (now hitting .318 on the season), a 4-5, 4 RBI night from Chase Utley and a 5 RBI effort from Ryan Howard, who hit another ninth inning home run, this one a grand slam, off his new favorite left-handed reliever, Josh Edgin.
Mets starter Jeremy Hefner failed to record a single out in the first, leaving after pitching to just seven Phillies, all of whom reached base. Phils pitcher Tyler Cloyd came to the plate (and grounded into a double play) before throwing a single pitch in the game. The Elias Sports Bureau says it was the first time in 100 years the Phils scored eight runs in the first inning of a game on the road, last accomplishing the feat in 1912.
Dude, baseball’s been around a long time.
Still, the Phillies’ sweep of the Mets last night shows just how devastating last weekend’s series loss to the Houston Astros (who were swept by the second wild card leading St. Louis Cardinals yesterday) really was.
If the Phils had swept Houston, they would be just one game behind the Cardinals. Had they taken three out of four, they’d be two back. Even a split of the series would have put the Phillies three games off the pace.
But they remain four games out with just 12 to play and begin what should be a tough homestand against the Braves and the Washington Nationals. The Nats could be in position to clinch the division when they come to Philadelphia next week, hoping to exact some revenge for 2007, 2008, and 2010, when the Phillies beat the Nats to clinch the NL East in each of those seasons.
You know they want to win the NL East in Philly.
The Phillies also trail the Brewers by a game and a half and the Dodgers by just a game.
The Cardinals’ next six games will be on the road against the Cubs and the Astros, the muts of the NL Central. The Brewers’ task is a bit tougher, traveling to Washington for four games and then Cincinnati for three. However, the Reds, whose magic number is now two, probably won’t have a whole lot to play for other than homefield advantage by then. And the Dodgers finish their series against the Nationals tonight, then play three in Cincinnati as the Reds try to clinch, and three against the improved Padres in San Diego.
The Phils need these three teams to falter at the same time they’re winning every game in front of them.
A very unlikely scenario.
But for one night it was glorious to see the offense shine. And the eight-run first was good enough for Tyler Cloyd, who pitched very well against a demoralized Mets team. Cloyd went eight innings, giving up just one run on three hits while striking out six. However, Mets manager Terry Collins wasn’t overly impressed.
“No disrespect to Tyler Cloyd,” Collins said afterward. “But three hits? We’re better than that.”
Ah yes, the “no disrespect” line. The kissin’ cousin to the “with all due respect” compliment, copyrighted by Ricky Bobby.
Terry seems to be indicating that little eight-run first may have dampened New York’s spirits a bit. I mean, I’m sure the 235 people in attendance last night were a bit bummed by it, too.
Where It All Went Right
When Collins decided to allow Jeremy Hefner to throw a baseball. The Phillies were all over the right-hander from the get-go, burying the Mets before the game was 15 minutes old. Frankly, this was the type of game the Phillies should have had against Houston last weekend.
Most Attractive Play
Ryan Howard’s grand slam against Edgin. Either Howard has figured out how to hit left-handed relievers, or he’s figured out how to hit this left-handed reliever. Either way, Edgin is personally responsible for six Ryan Howard RBIs in two days. Perhaps a small bottle of cologne from the Big Piece wouldn’t be out of line.
Juan Pierre, who has flown under the radar all season long, but has been better than the Phillies could have even dreamed. He’s hitting .318 with an on-base percentage of .360 and 35 stolen bases (leading the team) in just 121 games. While he’s not an every day player and his defense is less-than-spectacular, he’s a very good platoon player that the Phils should seriously consider bringing back in 2013.
Terry Collins, who seemed to indicate that Tyler Cloyd was NOT an awesome pitcher during his postgame comments. Did he not see the three hits given up? Was he not present for those six strikeouts? Is he not aware of Cloyd’s 32-win season in the minors this year (that’s pretty close to his real win total, right)? For shame, Mr. Collins. For shame.