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Chase Utley, you are the man: Phillies 7, Mets 6

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Kyle Kendrick sucks, Chase Utley is awesome, and Ryan Howard helps the Phillies walk it off.

I'll never stop loving you, Ryan Howard.
I'll never stop loving you, Ryan Howard.
Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

I started writing this recap in the fifth inning of today's game, and it was a very different recap than the one you're getting.

That's because through five innings today, the Mets teed off on Kyle Kendrick. He allowed six runs (five earned), and the damage could have been so much worse. Some bad baserunning by Wilmer Flores and a great running catch from Ben Revere put a damper on two different scoring chances, so Kendrick should probably buy Revere and Flores a watch or something.

The worst moment of Kendrick's pretty putrid start came in the fifth inning. On his 69th pitch, he gave up a solo shot to Lucas Duda. And on his 70th pitch, he gave up another one to Travis d'Arnaud. He'd finish the inning, but not before I lustily booed him from my couch.

Here are a few of my favorite tweets about Kyle Kendrick today.

I'm cheating a little, that last tweet is from two years ago. But it's just as relevant now as it was then.

What made all this worse is that the Phillies had just one hit against Zack Wheeler through five innings. That one hit was Chase Utley's solo shot in the first inning. When Utley came up in the sixth inning, he singled for his second hit of the day, and THE PHILLIES second hit of the day.

I had written this lengthy diatribe about Kyle Kendrick and the Phillies offense, and by the end of the fifth inning I was itching to click "publish" and unleash it on the world. But then, the game turned around. The Phillies started clawing their way back. After Utley singled in the sixth, Grady Sizemore walked. Then Domonic Brown, who at this point is probably praying for the end of the season just as hard as Ryan Howard, doubled to score Utley and Sizemore and bring the Phillies to within three.

Zack Wheeler was replaced by Vic Black, who was nearly out of the inning when he allowed a two-out single to Ben Revere. Jimmy Rollins followed with a single, and then Chase Utley came to the plate and lined a triple to far right field. Utley was just a double away from the cycle, and the Phillies were down only one run. For my part, I was unable to stop myself from getting excited. No matter how bad the Phillies are, I always want them to stage a comeback and win.

Mets reliever Josh Edgin stopped the bleeding in the bottom of the seventh, and shut down the Phillies in the eighth inning. Meanwhile, I deleted everything I'd written so far.

The Phillies didn't make me regret doing that. Cody Asche led off the ninth by hitting a double off of Jenrry Mejia, who was pitching for the third straight day. Marlon Byrd, who'd had the day off, pinch hit for Ken Giles and singled to tied the game. The Mets had blown five-run lead after leading 6-1 in the sixth inning.

Ben Revere and Jimmy Rollins courteously became outs one and two to bring about a moment that most Phillies fans would never even dare to dream of. With two outs in the bottom of the ninth of a tied game, Chase Utley came to the plate. A double would win the game. A double would complete the cycle. For just a moment, the outcome was obvious, ordained by the Creator.

Buuuuuuut it wasn't meant to be. Utley's chance at the cycle was spoiled when Marlon Byrd stole second with two outs and a full count. With first base now open, the Mets walked Utley to face Ryan Howard. I don't blame the Mets for that. If you were a pitcher, would you want to face this guy:

Or the guy who came into today hitting .218? That's a no brainer. But in the end, Howard made them pay. With two outs and a full count, Howard lined down the right field line. The ball stayed on the fair side of the line, Byrd scored, and then this happened.

This recap wouldn't be complete without mentioning the bullpen. Mario Hollands, Jake Diekman, and Ken Giles combined to allow just three hits and one walk over four innings in relief. Without their scoreless efforts today, the game could have ended much differently.

Here's the Fangraph of winnitude:


Source: FanGraphs

And of course, this: