By Mike Steffanos
Phillies 4 - Mets 3
Sorry for being so late with this. I wasn't feeling too great last night and the Mets offense did little to pick me up -- or Brian Bannister, either. Anyway, on to your belated recap:
It started out quite ugly for Bannister, who was pitching in first big league game since late April. Three consecutive singles to start the game and a sac fly put him down 2-0 before he could blink. After settling down a little, a 2-run homer by Ryan Howard in the third had him looking up from a 4-0 hole. To Bannister's credit, he didn't shy away from continuing to challenge the Phillies hitters, shutting them down the rest of the way in a solid 6-inning performance.
In the interim, the Mets weren't exactly lighting it up against Randy Wolf. After wasting a Lo Duca single in the first and a pair of walks in the second, the Mets did manage to get one back in the third on consecutive doubles by Lo Duca and Beltran. Then in the bottom of the fifth Beltran belted a 2-run homer to cut it to 4-3. After that, the Mets offense did almost nothing. They managed 2 hits off the Phillies bullpen the rest of the way and, despite gutsy pitching by Bannister and solid work from Feliciano, Bradford and Heilman, allowed another game against the Phillies to slip away.
Thoughts on the game
If Bannister had simply been shelled by the Phillies, this loss wouldn't have bothered me as much. But Bannister did a great job keeping them in this game, as did the bullpen. This was a very winnable game. I know you can't win them all, but this is the last time the Mets will see the Phillies in 2006. What kind of message do they want to send to this team for next year -- or the playoffs, if the Phillies win the wildcard? The Phillies have a comfort zone in playing the Mets right now that I don't like.
The Mets, as presently constituted, are somewhat vulnerable to left-handed pitching. They're lefty heavy in their offense, but David Wright's prolonged slump is obviously playing a part in this, too. He should be feasting on these lefties, like Lo Duca is. Paul has his average up to .314, and the sh*tstorm of tabloid sleaziness seems to have moved on to new targets, at least for now.
Nice to see Carlos Beltran getting comfortable at home after his struggles here for most of the season.
We have no idea what we'll get out of Oliver Perez tonight, but I find myself equally concerned with the thought of this team facing John Lieber again. They have had a terrible approach the last 2 times facing Lieber, and if they revert back to it tonight, I reserve the right to turn the game off.
This game is being discussed in the MetsMerized Mets Talk Forum.