Let the games begin….again. Major League Baseball resumed their regular season today. In Flushing, the Philadelphia Phillies arrived to open a short six game home stand at Citi Field. Jeremy Hefner took the hill this evening making his 19th start of the season, opposed by Philadelphia’s Kyle Kendrick. Hefner has been nothing short of stellar lately, allowing two runs or less in his last eight starts. After considering Hefner posted a 4.76 ERA over his first fifty-one innings pitched, he entered tonight’s game with a 3.33 ERA for the season after 108 innings. Jeremy went 0-5 to start the season, then compiled a 4-1 record since May 29th. Meanwhile, Kyle Kendrick has enjoyed a handsome measure of success at Citi Field over his career, and shut-out the Mets back on April 26th, surrendering only three hits.
The Mets were 17-11 (.607) in their last twenty-eight games before the break. They ended the first half with a 6-3 road trip, and now begin the second half of the season with a 41-50 record. Philadelphia owned an even 48-48 record entering tonight.
To begin the dog-days of summer, there were no real surprises in Coach Terry’s line-up versus the right-handed Kyle Kendrick:
Jimmy Rollins led-off the game with a single. After Hefner struck out his personal nemesis Michael Young, Kirk Nieuwenhuis grossly misjudged a well-struck drive to straight-away center by number three hitter Chase Utley, that bounced off the wall for a stand-up triple, and scored Rollins from first. Left fielder Domonic Brown then slapped a grounder the opposite way between David Wright and the third base line, to deliver Utley for a quick 2-0 Phillies lead. First baseman Darin Ruf followed, and placed a bloop hit in right field for a single, while Brown took third. That brought up right fielder Delmon Young, who topped a weak bouncer to third in which Wright had no play. Domonic Brown scored from third for a 3-0 Philly lead, with still only one out. Number seven hitter, John Mayberry Jr. singled to left, scoring both Ruf and Young to increase Philadelphia’s lead to four. Carlos Ruiz lofted a fly to left field for the second out. Then pitcher Kyle Kendrick stepped in, and mercifully ended the top half of the first for Jeremy Hefner by looking at a curve ball for strike three.
Eric Young led off the Mets second half by strategically getting hit by a pitch on the back of his right elbow, then proceeded to steal second base. Daniel Murphy hit a fly to left, deep enough to narrowly allow Young advancement to third base. David Wright then dug-in against Kendrick, and worked a full count before looking at an inside fastball for strike three. Clean-up hitter Marlon Byrd took his turn, and likewise struck out, swinging at a low breaking pitch to end the inning, stranding Eric Young on third.
It was back to the top of the line-up for Hefner in the second. After retiring Rollins on a lazy fly to right, Michael Young struck out on three pitches. Chase Utley ended the Phil’s second at-bat with another fly to Nieuwenhuis, which again gave the Mets center fielder trouble, albeit for an out this time. In the bottom of the frame, Ike Davis, batting .165 this season, led-off by looking at strike three. John Buck flied to deep left, but not deep enough, for out number two. Kirk Nieuwenhuis was next, and closed the second inning by also looking at strike three. That was Kyle Kendrick’s fourth victim in only seven batters faced.
Domonic Brown demolished a Hefner offering to lead-off the third, depositing the pitch into the right field Pepsi Porch for a 5-0 Phillies lead. Next, Kirk Nieuwenhuis continued to have his troubles in center, misplaying another fly, this time off the bat of Darin Ruf, that landed the Philly first baseman on second base. Delmon Young followed with a flare to right field, once again misplayed, this time by Marlon Byrd. Ruf scored on the play, while Young wound up on second base with no outs. John Mayberry Jr, then ended Jeremy Hefner’s night with a hard liner – a double to left field, scoring Delmon Young to give the Phillies, a 7-0 lead. Coach Collins took the ball from Hefner and summoned Greg Burke from the bullpen. No matter, another hit – a double by Carlos Ruiz followed as Mayberry scored. After Kyle Kendrick laid down a successful bunt and Jimmy Rollins drew a walk, Michael Young homered off Burke to make the game an 11-0 affair.
The Mets finally got to Kyle Kendrick in the fourth inning with five straight hits. Daniel Murphy and David Wright led off with consecutive singles. Then Marlon Byrd stepped to the plate, and stroked his sixteenth home run of the season, to make it an 11-3 game. Ike Davis and John Buck followed with singles, but Nieuwenhuis flied to left for the first out. Omar Quintanilla ended the fourth by grounding into a 6-4-3 double play.
With two outs and a runner on first base in the fifth inning, Coach Collins switched from Greg Burke to lefty reliever Josh Edgin to face Chase Utley. The Philadelphia second baseman greeted the Mets second reliever with a home run to right field, making it a 13-3 game.
Jeremy Hefner faced sixteen batters in two innings pitched. He pitched into the third but failed to record an out. Jeremy threw sixty-two pitches, forty-four for strikes. He allowed eight earned runs on ten hits, and surrendered one home run. His ERA rose to a 3.93 mark. Otherwise, he walked no batters and struck out three before departing the game on the losing side. Greg Burke pitched 2.2 innings in relief of Hefner, allowing four earned runs on two hits, while walking three and striking out two.
Pinch-hitting for the pitcher’s slot, Juan Lagares hustled-out a double to lead-off the bottom of the fifth. Eric Young advanced him to third base for Daniel Murphy, who grounded to second, allowing Lagares to score from third for the Mets fourth run of the game.
Mets youngster Gonzalez Germen entered the game to pitch in the top of the sixth inning, and promptly struck out Delmon Young. Omar Quintanilla then booted an easy grounder hit by Mayberry for the Mets third error of the game. After Carlos Ruiz flied to Byrd in right, Phillies starting pitcher Kyle Kendrick flied again to Byrd for the third out. The Mets threatened Kyle Kendrick in the bottom of the frame. Ike Davis stroked a one out single, and John Buck doubled down the right field line, setting up second and third for Kirk Nieuwenhuis. The Mets center fielder drew a five pitch walk to load the bases for shortstop Omar Quintanilla – with Juan Lagares on deck. Omar’s fielder’s choice, 3 to 6, scored Davis from third to make it a 13-5 game. Juan Lagares followed with a sharp single up the middle to score Buck, which also knocked Kyle Kendrick from the game. Eric Young drew a walk off new pitcher Luis Garcia to load the bases for pinch-hitter Josh Satin. But the Mets couldn’t convert. Satin bounced lightly to third base, ending the inning.
In to pitch the top of the seventh, Scott Rice took his turn against the Phillies, and almost got decapitated by a Michael Young come-backer, which Rice luckily got a lot of glove on. He otherwise retired the side in order.
Seventh Inning Stretch:
Kyle Kendrick lasted 5.2 innings, allowing six earned runs on nine hits. He walked one and struck out seven before departing on the winning side. He threw 103 pitches, sixty-three for strikes. Luis Garcia pitched a scoreless seventh inning, as Ike Davis ended the frame by grounding into a double play.
Scott Rice stayed on to pitch the eighth, and hit lead-off batter Domonic Brown, but the first base umpire ruled a swing on the play, extending the at-bat. A fly to center resulted in the first out. Then out came manager Terry Collins to make a double switch. David Aardsma was called-in from the bullpen to relieve Rice, and Andrew Brown was inserted in to play first base. Aardsma recorded two outs and allowed a single to Delmon Young.
Facing reliever Jason Diekman in the bottom of the eighth, John Buck appeared to suffer cramps in his right hamstring, but finished his fourth at-bat of the evening. Nieuwenhuis worked a one out walk and Quintanilla singled to right, sending Kirk to third base. Juan Lagares stepped in, and hit a topper to Diekman, who got the force of Quintanilla at second. With two outs, Eric Young grounded out to Chase Utley.
Into the ninth they went with the Mets trailing the Philadelphia Phillies by a 13-6 score. Terry Collins stuck with David Aardsma, who pitched a scoreless frame.
For last licks, the Mets led-off with Andrew Brown facing Philly’s Justin DeFratus. Brown singled cleanly to center, bringing up David Wright, who deposited Justin’s first pitch into the left field stands to make it a 13-8 game. Marlon Byrd followed, and worked the count full, before getting called out on a low fastball. Anthony Recker stepped in as a pinch-hitter, and grounded to Chase Utley at second. John Buck wrapped things up with a grounder to Rollins at short.
The Phillies take the series opener by a 13-8 final score.
- In his first game back at Citi Field, I guess two hits by Ike Davis was a highlight. Along with John Buck and David Wright, they were the only Mets with multiple hits.
- Clawing back for eight runs on twelve hits was….admirable.
- Nice bounce-back appearance by Gonzalez Germen. He needed it.
- David Aardsma, three strikeouts in 1.2 innings of work.
- Three errors, with particularly spotty play in center and right field.
- Jeremy Hefner never had it tonight. Second game in a row the opposition got to him in the first inning. His fastball was registering in the low 90′s, and obviously appeared very hittable. It took him thirty-eight pitches to get out of the first inning.
- Would have been nice to see Josh Satin come through as a pinch-hitter in the sixth inning.