There was no joy in METville today. In truth, the visiting Philadelphia club turned New York’s weekend into a rather somber affair by completing a three game sweep Sunday afternoon over their turnpike rivals at Citi Field.
Jonathon Niese climbed the hill to make his sixth start, opposed by Philadelphia’s local media foil, Cole Hamels. The Mets gave Niese an early 1-0 lead in the first, when lead-off batter Ruben Tejada opened with a double before David Wright sent him home with a one out single.
Cole Hamels walked six batters in six innings pitched. However, only his three walks issued in the fourth inning really mattered. With one out in the home fourth, Lucas Duda drew a walk. With two outs, Ike Davis drew a second walk. The next batter, Juan Lagares, received Cole Hamels’ third free pass of the inning, loading the bases with two outs and Jon Niese due up. As the game was only in the fourth inning, this was just an unfortunate and unmanageable moment for Terry Collins, as his own starter was pitching shutout baseball. So up went Jon Niese to bat with a huge opportunity to help his own cause and tack on critical insurance runs. Niese struck out looking to end the Mets’ biggest threat of the game. Cole Hamels’ other three bases on balls were scattered about and did little to negatively impact his overall effectiveness. He allowed only two hits, and struck out eight batters while earning his first win of the season.
Without making light or dispersions, it was typical that Jon Niese surrendered a solo home run in the fifth inning of yet another tight game. His lone mistake usually gets hit in the sixth or seventh inning during games like this. There was by no means anything to be upset about during the first six innings of what turned into a healthy quasi-pitcher’s duel.
Then Niese went back to the hill for a seventh inning of work. After retiring the first two batters, the Mets committed an error that had brutal ramifications. Instead of out number three, John Buck dropped a popped foul off the bat of Laynce Nix. It would have been a nice running over the shoulder grab, but the play went down as an error nonetheless. Given a second chance, Nix promptly singled to left. Jimmy Rollins immediately followed with a second consecutive single to left field. Terry Collins then came out to remove his hard-luck starter.
Scott Atchison was summoned from the pen and Collin Cowgill was double-switched into the game in center field for Juan Lagares. Ryan Howard stepped to the plate as a pinch hitter, and quickly dispatched Atchison’s offering deep to center field for a two RBI double. Chase Utley followed with an RBI single off Atchison, scoring Howard from second base and giving Philly a 4-1 lead.
Brandon Lyon was tasked with pitching the eighth inning. He allowed a one out single to Domonic Brown, who then scored on John Mayberry Jr.’s double to left field. Scott Rice and Bobby Parnell pitched the final 1.1 innings without allowing a run, hit or walk. Jon Niese (2-2) suffered the loss. In all, he pitched 6.2 innings, was charged with three runs (one earned). His ERA dropped from 3.81 to 3.31. Niese walked one batter and struck out three before departing the game. Over his last three outings, Niese has sandwiched a no-decision between two losses.
- Ruben Tejada – two hits in four plate appearances; two doubles; started series batting .219 and ends series batting .244.
- David Wright’s nineteenth RBI ranks fifth in the N.L.
- Mets mirror game one effort against Kyle Kendrick – three hits in thirty official at-bats.
- The Bullpen’s 5.13 earned run average is the second worst in baseball.
- Three errors. The Mets are tied for the fifth most errors in the N.L. with 16.
- Daniel Murphy – no hits in twelve at-bats versus Philadelphia. Started series batting .346, and ends series batting .300.
- At .239 the Mets’ team batting average is fourth worst in the N.L.
The Mets are now losers of four in a row, and five of their last six games. After starting a nine game homestand by taking two of three from the Washington Nationals, they ended their stay off Flushing Bay with a 3-6 record. The Mets’ overall record now stands at 10-13 for the season. The Mets are 4.5 games out of first place in the East.
The Mets are headed to South Florida for a three game series against the Miami Marlins, which also closes out the month of April.