Baseball is a funny game. Tonight, the Phillies and Mets both had 13 base runners. Both teams also had 3 home runs. And neither team scored any runs other than the runs they scored from hitting their home runs. However, because of the vagaries of timing, the Phillies more than doubled the Mets score, cruising to an easy 7-3 win.
For the second night in a row, the Phillies showed power at the plate that they didn't in the first 7 games. It started early, with the Phils scoring 5 runs in the first inning. The first two came on a Chase Utley bomb to straight-away center field. The next three came on a Domonic Brown colossal shot to the upper-deck in right field. Both home runs were perfect exemplars of what that player can do. Utley's was a short-stroke line drive that just kept on going. Brown's was a beautiful looping swing that resulted in a towering home run.
The Mets answered the Phils' first-inning five-spot with another John Buck home run (5th of the season for him) in the second inning and then a Lucas Duda home run in the fourth. Though the Mets had base runners all night, the key for the Phillies was that none were on for the home runs.
After a short rain delay and a drastic change in temperature and wind pattern as a result, the two teams blanked each other until the 6th inning when pinch hitter Laynce Nix hit another Phillies home run, also with a man on base. The Mets answered in the 8th with another Duda home run, but again with on one on base.
The result -- all runs scored via the home run, but the Phillies winning 7-3.
Other things to note:
- Kyle Kendrick pitched well enough, though he gave up 10 base runners in 6 innings and was lucky that the home runs were not hit with them on base.
- The Phillies bullpen performed roughly as imagined in the off-season. Kendrick gave way to Antonio Bastardo for the seventh, who gave way to Mike Adams for the eighth, who gave way to Jonathan Papelbon for the ninth. The only hiccup was the solo home run Adams allowed to Duda. Charlie Manuel used his top relievers even though the game was not very close because they had not gotten much work. Given the performance of the rest of the bullpen this season, this was probably a smart move.
- The Phillies defense is very worrisome. It didn't bite them in the ass tonight, but there were many troubling plays. Ryan Howard botched a slow roller to first that was ruled a hit but easily could have been an error. Howard and Utley converged on a foul pop-up that neither caught because the other was in the way. Michael Young bounced an unrushed easy throw to first that Howard luckily scooped up. Howard had a bad throw to second on a grounder that Jimmy Rollins saved. Even the key defensive play of the night for the Phillies -- with men on second and third and only one out, a nice catch by Ben Revere on a short fly ball followed by a throw to second to double-up the runner who was still off the bag -- involved a terrible throw by Revere . . . even though he was very close to second base at the time. Thankfully, none of this poor defense mattered (nor will any of it show up in the box score), but it will be a concern going forward.
- The Phillies won their first series of the season!!
Fangraph of off-day momentum (even though there's no such thing, duh!):