By Mike Steffanos
Mets 8 - Phillies 3
Played Saturday, June 30, 2007
The Phillies seemed to have Jorge Sosa on the ropes a couple of times yesterday, but he managed to dodge the worst of the bullets. What he couldn't evade was a hamstring injury while preventing himself from being doubled up at first in the top of the sixth. The Mets came out with an important series win, but will be without their fifth starter for at least a couple of starts.
After being staked to a 3-0 lead in the top of the first, Sosa gave back a couple of runs in the second when a single and two walks loaded the bases with no outs. He had a chance to get out of it with only one run scoring when he induced Greg Dobbs to hit into a double play, but allowed Carlos Ruiz to drive in the second run with a single with the pitcher on deck. After pitching a 1-2-3 third, Sosa gave up a long home run to Howard in the fourth to tie the game 3-3.
I thought the turning point of the game for Sosa and the Mets came in the fifth. After Beltran's 2-run homer in the top of the frame put the Mets back up 5-3, Ruiz led off the bottom of the inning with a single. He was bunted over to second by pitcher Ryan Madson. After retiring Jimmy Rollins for the second out Sosa walked Michael Bourn, bringing up Chase Utley with the tying runs on base. Sosa fell behind 3-1, but after a strike and a foul ball induced a weak grounder to second base to end the threat. That really seemed to take the wind out of the Phillies' sails, whereas a couple of runs there would have had them right back in it.
Sosa was gone after that, thanks to tweaking his hamstring in the top of the sixth. Early reports are that it's not a bad one. Sosa is on the DL, but with the All Star break might only miss a couple of starts if all goes well.
|Jorge Sosa (7-3)|
|Season (11 Games)||64.1||30||28||55||38||23||6||3.92||1.21||8-3|
While it was nice to see the Mets jump on rookie starter J.A. Happ, it was also good to see the Mets tack on against the Phillies bullpen. When the Phillies swept them in early June, it was their inability to score runs off the mediocre Philadelphia relievers that cost them every bit as much as the failures of their own bullpen. In game one of this series they did nothing against the Phillies 'pen, but in the last 2 games they have scored 5 runs off the relievers.
The long ball barrage that fueled the first 6 runs was nice, but sometimes when the Mets go through a streak like this I worry that they become a little too dependent on home runs. I was glad to see them tack on a pair in the ninth with hits and heads-up baserunning.
I've given Shawn Green credit earlier this week for his vastly improved outfield play and baserunning. After yesterday's 1-3, however, he finished June with a .182/.229/.318 line in 66 ABs. He's going to have to start hitting pretty soon. It helps that he is no longer a huge liability in RF, but ultimately his bat will be what keeps him in the lineup whenever Alou returns or the Mets trade for an OF.
The Mets have a chance to really put the hammer down on the Phillies, but to do it they will need Mike Pelfrey to do something he didn't do early in the year, throw strikes. Citizens Bank Park is an intimidating place for a young guy to pitch. It will be interesting to see how he responds.