What Happened, in a Sentence:
The Phillies did a better job manufacturing runs, beating the Mets 4-2.
Verrett Avoids Big Mistakes
Saturday was Logan Verrett’s second attempt to replace Matt Harvey’s spot in the rotation. As I wrote last week, the first attempt didn’t go so well. Verrett entered the game walking 11.1 percent of opposing batters, the eighth highest mark for anyone with at least 50 innings pitched. Last night he followed the maxim of “just throw strikes and trust your defense” as well as he could. Ryan Howard can still drive mistakes, and he crushed a hanging slider over the wall to lead off the second and give the Phillies a 1-0 lead. Verrett had a relatively easy time through the order until Andres Blanco and Carlos Ruiz had back-to-back two out singles. Freddy Galvis grounded out to first to end the threat.
Verrett started to tire in the fifth and needed help to avoid big innings. Phillies pitcher Jerad Eickhoff led off the fifth with a double. Odubel Herrera doubled a hanging slider off the top of the wall, but Eickhoff didn’t read the play and only got to third. The Mets conceded the run on a ground ball, but it took two batters before Cody Asche could deliver. In the sixth, Verrett got two outs then hit Ruiz with a curveball. Galvis singled on another hanging slider. Eickhoff stayed in, worked a 3-2 count and then tapped a slow ball to Asdrubal Cabrera. The pitcher hustled down the line for an infield hit and Ruiz tried to motor all the way from second. Thirty-seven-year-old catchers aren’t known for their speed, and James Loney immediately spun home to throw him out. Verrett may not have been pretty, but the Phillies couldn’t fully capitalize on his mistakes in the zone.
Mets Manufacture Runs
One of the main talking points surrounding the Mets this season has been their reliance on home runs to score. Relying on home runs shouldn’t be a problem in Citizens Bank Park, but the Mets did find other ways to score early. Juan Lagares – playing center while Yoenis Cespedes continues to rest his injured quad – doubled to lead off the third inning. Verrett successfully bunted and Jose Reyes flew to left for a sac fly. Curtis Granderson led off the next inning with a double and the Mets went to manufacturing another run. Neil Walker rolled over to advance Granderson and then Loney was hit by a pitch. Travis d’Arnaud hit a hanging slider off the end of his bat, deep enough for another sacrifice fly but not a home run.
After six innings of 2-2 ball, d’Arnaud led off the seventh with another double. This time the Mets couldn’t manufacture a run. Brandon Nimmo hit a comebacker right to Eickhoff, but the young Phillies pitcher held the ball too long and d’Arnaud was able to get back to second base. Lagares dropped a perfect sacrifice bunt. Kelly Johnson came in to pinch hit but couldn’t drive the ball deep enough to left. Cody Asche is a natural third baseman and horribly bungled the throw on Reyes’ sacrifice earlier in the game, but he threw cleanly here and d’Arnaud didn’t try to advance. Reyes walked to load the bases for Cabrera, who’s now in an 0-26 slump with runners in scoring position. Cabrera lined a pitch towards the gap, but it stayed up long enough for Asche to slide and catch it to end the inning.
Phillies Score on Late Mistakes
Peter Bourjos reached base in the seventh after Cabrera threw the ball away on a fairly routine play. Asche walked on a 3-2 count. Hansel Robles came in to face Maikel Franco, the Phillies best hitter. d’Arnaud called for a fastball away, but Robles threw a fastball that tailed off the plate inside. Franco muscled it for an RBI single to left. Howard swung at the next pitch and hit a deep fly out. Blanco grounded out but the Phillies had the lead. Erik Goeddel came in for the eighth and surrendered a leadoff double to Ruiz. Galvis advanced him on a groundout. Goeddel threw a splitter in the dirt that went past d’Arnaud for a wild pitch. Meanwhile, the Phillies’ duo of Hector Neris and Jeanmar Gomez shut the door on the Mets, who could only muster a two-out single in the eighth.
– This is the first time Erik Goeddel and his younger brother Tyler have both been in the majors when their teams faced each other. The Phillies needed a pinch hitter while Erik was pitching, but they called on Cesar Hernandez instead of making writers like me happy.
– Lucas Duda began baseball activity today. Look for our staff post on Monday for my prediction of how Duda fits in to the rest of the Mets season.
Jacob deGrom will try to lead the Mets to a series win. Philly counters with Zach Eflin, who will be making his seventh career major league start.
Photo credit: Bill Streicher – USA Today Sports