If you were at Friday night’s opening game against the Philadelphia Phillies, I’m sorry. If you watched at home, at least you were able to run out, and catch a movie while the night was still young. Because on this particular evening, Philly dispatched the Mets with unexpected haste. The game will go down as lasting two hours and thirty-five minutes. However, Kyle Kendrick only needed 2:21 of that to defeat the Mets. The other fourteen minutes were consumed by an umpiring delay.
To earn his second win of the season, Kyle Kendrick (2-1) pitched a rather commanding complete game shutout over the Mets. Through an impressive economy of pitches and stellar pace, Kyle Kendrick only surrendered three hits, limited his bases on balls to one, and struck out five. He tossed 107 pitches, of which seventy-three went for strikes. All the Mets could muster were singles by Ruben Tejada, David Wright, and pinch hitter Justin Turner. Ike Davis was only the fourth Met to reach safely, as the recipient of Kendrick’s lone walk allowed.
Over the first five innings, Mets starter Dillon Gee (L,1-4) matched Kendrick frame for frame. Early on, he appeared to command his change-up and fastball well. He struck out two batters in the second inning – Ryan Howard swinging, and John Mayberry Jr. looking. Through five full innings, Dillon kept Philly scoreless, and limited them to three scattered hits. Back in the first inning, Gee walked Jimmy Rollins to lead off the game, but then retired the next six batters. Over his first four innings, Kyle Kendrick at one point retired ten Mets in a row. Each pitcher managed to keep the other in check until the sixth. That’s when the game got away from Gee.
Back to back singles to lead off the sixth inning by Jimmy Rollins and Chase Utley gave Philly base runners on first and third with no outs. Michael Young, who earlier singled off Dillon Gee, promptly delivered his second hit through a half drawn-in infield, scoring Rollins from third. The next batter was Ryan Howard, who punished a Dillon Gee offering that caught way too much of the plate, and launched it into the left-center field distance. Howard’s third knock of the season gave the Phillies a 4-0 lead, and an eventual final score.
* The Bullpen – Jeurys Familia pitched two scoreless innings; twenty-nine pitches, one hit, one walk, one strikeout. Josh Edgin pitched a very good inning, striking out two batters in the ninth. The embattled left-handed relief pitcher needed a positive outing to get people off his back.
* Team Batting – three hits in thirty official times at-bat. No support over Dillon Gee’s first five shutout innings.
The Mets are now 10-11 on the season; one game below the .500 level. Slipping into the second division came awfully early for us this season – much earlier than last year for sure. The team’s starting pitching held up just a little longer last year. This season, the back end of the rotation is presently growing into a dilemma before April even expires. The bullpen is also once again problematic. Offensively, Ike Davis is off to the same start as last season, while David Wright is not. That’s no slight. It’s just that he was batting over .400 this time (+/-) last year. Ruben Tejada is following a lousy Grapefruit League with an equally lousy April. He is still only batting .219 so far. Unfortunately, falling below .500, and noted sub-par performances overshadow John Buck‘s remarkable month and Daniel Murphy‘s return to form at the plate.
In light of the team’s current plight, I think it is best if we all just maintain our composure. Let’s get a win Saturday, and get back to the .500 mark.
Game Two on Saturday is scheduled for 1:00pm. Hopefully Jon Niese is okay, and feels no lingering effects after being struck by a come-backer in his last start. Cole Hamels is Philadelphia’s expected game two starter.