Losing to the Mets is no fun. Luckily for the Phillies, the past few years have been
relatively easy as far as beating the Mets has been concerned, however, with an injured lineup and some timely Mets hitting, this year’s task was not as easy and the Phillies dropped their first two games of the season against the Mets. Of course, not all of the pain was inflicted by the Mets in the Phillies first two games, going 0-8 with runners in scoring position in game one and managing only six total hits in the second. Both efforts were further diminished by an atypical five runs allowed by the Phillies on both nights.
The Phillies took the field on Jackie Robinson day looking to erase their Mets-related troubles with a start from Cole Hamels, against Mike Pelfrey, someone who, historically, has had all sorts of trouble against the Phillies.
From the start of the game, Hamels looked dialed-in, striking out the first two batters with ease. However, a single from David Wright and a home run from the then 0.77 batting Ike Davis, and the Phillies found themselves in a familiar hole, down a quick 2-0 to start the game. Just one half-inning through the game and it seemed the Phillies would be in for a long afternoon.
While the Phillies were able to score one run in the bottom of the inning, the frustration continued to mount, as the Phillies left the bases loaded after a Carlos Ruiz ground-out ended the inning.
The next five innings were what fans have come to expect from this team: solid pitching and a lack of run support. Despite their five hits from the second to sixth innings, the Phillies were unable to cut away at the Mets’ lead.
Finally, after seven innings, Cole Hamels was taken out, finishing with ten strikeouts, one walk, and only six hits allowed. Hamels was superb except for the sole home run he allowed, however, he was in line for a loss as he left the game.
In the bottom of the seventh inning though, the Phillies finally got some timely hitting from the top of their line-up, scoring two runs on a sacrifice fly from Ty Wigginton and a double from Laynce Nix, putting them up one run and putting Cole Hamels in line for a much-deserved win.
After that, the floodgates opened and the Phillies seemed to reach their full potential, scoring five runs on three hits, an error and some great discipline in the eight inning. The Phillies lead was extended from one run to six runs and the Phillies would never look back, winning the game 8-2.
While the victory was an obvious and much needed win against the Mets, the performance from Cole Hamels and from the Phillies’ hitters in the seventh and eight innings were a welcomed reassurance that April would likely not be the drawn-out, frustrating loss-fest that the Phillies’ first eight games had been. While not every game will feature a five-run inning, or a ten-strikeout performance from a starting pitcher, the potential is certainly there and games where the Phillies are actually able to score enough runs to win may be more plentiful than expected. While the Phillies have given fans little to cheer about, today was certainly an exception–one that may become more and more frequent.