The Mets (52-56) crushed the Phillies (47-61) on Wednesday afternoon at Citi Field, beating Philadelphia 11-2.
Zack Wheeler took the mound for the Mets and was once again solid, albeit inefficient. Wheeler went 6.2 innings, allowing 2 runs on 7 hits and 2 walks, striking out 4 and throwing 112 pitches. Zack is now 3-0 with a 1.82 ERA in his last 6 starts.
Wheeler worked in and out of trouble for the first few innings, running up his pitch count but keeping the Phillies off the board despite getting into a bases-loaded jam in the top of the 2nd. The Mets got some baserunners against Kyle Kendrick, but he too kept the scoreboard clean, with some help from Ben Revere‘s glove. Revere made a diving play on Curtis Granderson in the 1st, a few running catches in the gaps, made a nice play to cut a ball off before it got to the wall on a base-hit, and robbed Lucas Duda of a solo shot to lead off the bottom of the 4th.
The Phillies broke through in the top of the 5th, when Ben Revere led off the inning with a cheap double and scored on a double from Ryan Howard. However, the Mets answered in the bottom of the frame. Juan Lagares and Ruben Tejada led off the inning with a pair of singles, and Zack Wheeler laid down a sacrifice bunt to put runners on 2nd and 3rd with 1 out. Granderson walked to load the bases, bringing Daniel Murphy to the plate. A wild pitch by Kendrick brought Lagares home and moved the other runners to 2nd and 3rd, and Murphy brought both of them, and himself, home by smacking one over the wall in left field to put the Mets up 4-1.
Jimmy Rollins led off the top of the 7th with a solo shot to make it 4-2 New York, but Wheeler got the next 2 batters to fly out to Chris Young in left field. Terry Collins pulled Zack and brought in Dana Eveland to face Chase Utley, but Eveland walked the Philadelphia 2nd baseman on 4 pitches. After Utley stole 2nd and then moved to 3rd on a passed ball, Eveland plunked Howard to put runners on the corners and send Terry back out to the mound for another pitching change. Collins brought in Jeurys Familia, who got Marlon Byrd to ground out on 1 pitch to retire the site.
The Mets broke the game wide open in the bottom of the 7th against Mario Hollands. Granderson led off with a ground-rule double before Murphy grounded one to 3rd for the 1st out. Hollands intentionally walked lefty-killer David Wright to pitch to Lucas Duda, but Duda made him pay by lining a base-hit to score Grandy and move David to 2nd. Justin De Fratus came in to pitch to Travis d’Arnaud, and TDA lined a double (which could have been ruled a single and an error) into left to score Wright and move Duda to 3rd. Chris Young hit a slow roller between 1st base and the pitcher’s mound, and as Duda came in to score, De Fratus misplayed the ball, allowing CY to reach base while d’Arnaud moved to 3rd. Juan Lagares struck out, but despite Familia being on-deck, De Fratus decided not to walk Tejada, who lined one into left for a base-hit to score Travis and move Young to 2nd. Familia then made the decision to pitch to Tejada a moot point by lacing one to left for a base-hit of his own, bringing CY home to make it 9-2 Mets.
After Familia worked a perfect top of the 8th, the Mets poured it on a bit more in the bottom of the inning. Murphy singled, and with 1 out, Duda hit one into the Pepsi Porch (just out of the reach of Ben Revere) for his 19th homer of the season, putting the Mets up 11-2.
Carlos Torres looked wild and hittable in the 9th after a rare couple of days off, but kept the Phillies off the board and put the finishing touches on a blowout victory, giving the Mets another series win at home.
Wheeler was pretty solid today, but he really has to keep his pitch count down. For a while, it looked like he might not be able to even make it through 5 innings, even though the Phillies had yet to score. He finally found the strike zone (and, ironically, gave up a couple runs) in the middle innings, but you’d like to see him get ahead in the count more consistently early in games. Still, this was another strong outing for Zack as he continues to turn the corner and become what the Mets hoped he would become when they traded for him 3 years ago.
Familia has been great this year, and was strong on the mound once again today, but I’d be lying if I said I expected him to smoke one through the hole and drive in a run when he came to the plate. Apparently he’s 2-for-2 this year, though, so maybe we should try to get him in the lineup…
As I said last week, Murphy’s slumps don’t tend to last very long. Of course, I jinxed him into a slump when I wrote that, but, true to form, he broke out of it pretty quickly and has been raking lately. Duda is red-hot, and should have had 2 homers today (and 20 on the year). Alas, Ben Revere was too good out in center (and in left-center, and in right-center, and beyond the fence), so Lucas will have to settle for 1. A microphone picked up on a player (or a fan) yelling “We got the Hulk!” after his blast in the 9th. If Lucas keeps smashing, that name might stick. Travis d’Arnaud continued to hit well, Lagares had some hits, and Teajda continued to own the Phillies’ pitching. This was a solid day for the bats all-around.
That being said, scoring 0 runs one game and 11 runs the next will only get you 1 win, even if it still adds up as 11 runs over 2 games in Sandy’s “run differential” column. I’d trade the blowouts for consistency. 5 runs in one game and 6 in the next is much better than 0 and 11.
It’s always nice to win a series, especially against the Phillies. The Mets have now won 4 series in a row at Citi Field. Let’s see if they can make it 5.
Up Next: The Mets will have the day off on Thursday before opening up a 4-game set against the Giants on Friday Night at Citi Field. Jon Niese (5-6, 3.23 ERA) will face Ryan Vogelsong (5-8, 3.94 ERA) at 7:10 PM.