Today's game marked the last time the Mets will play in Philadelphia this season. The Phillies, being the ever gracious hosts, sent them on their way with a parting gift in the form of a relatively easy win.
The game started off inauspiciously, as the Phils' latest incarnation of the surprisingly effective fill-in 5th starter that nobody had really heard of before this year, David Buchanan, pitched quite well. Buchanan did his best Mo'Ne Davis impersonation, throwing six innings of four-hit ball while striking out six and walking one, leaving the game with a 2-1 lead. Unfortunately for the Phillies unlike the Little League World Series, MLB games do not end after six innings.
Buchanan allowed 5 base runners on the day, the first being Juan Lagares who he hit square in the middle of the back in the second inning. Daniel Murphy picked up the Mets first hit of the day with a double down the RF line in the 4th inning and came around to score as David Wright followed that with a slicing single up the middle.
The Phils took the lead in their half of the fourth as Darin Ruf blasted a ball deep into the center field batter's eye area with Ruiz on first following a walk. This was just Ruf's fourth start since Sandberg's "I know what [Howard] can do, I want to see what Ruf can do" about-face. Regardless, that would be all the offense could muster against an again-effective-for-no-particular-reason Jonathan Niese. He's actually a lot like Buchanan in that regard, as he doesn't have any dominating skills, but can command the ball okay--at least as much as you need to command against a team that doesn't like to take walks.
Buchanan was actually charged with the Mets' second run too, as he walked Juan Legaras to start the 7th inning, after which he was replaced by Justin Berfartus. I didn't use "relieved" in that last sentence, because he was of little relief. With Lagares on first De Fratus promptly served up line-drive double to right to Matt den Dekker (he of the .233 wOBA), whose mother missed out on a wonderful alliterative opportunity, allowing Lagares to score.
De Fratus then allowed a single to Wilmer Flores (.244 wOBA), and followed that up by spinning a hanging slider that Anthony Recker (.243 wOBA) smushed deep into the afternoon. Fun fact: Recker had been 0 for his last 18 before killing that baseball. Okay, maybe that fact isn't so fun. That tater was also inconvenient in that it allowed Niese to bat for himself and stay in the game for the bottom of the seventh, a boost for the Mets who have had some trouble at the back end of their bullpen this season. Good job, good effort, Berfartus.
The Phillies had a chance to plate another run in the seventh after Dom Brown's two-out pinch-hit double against Niese. Ben Revere singled on a ground ball through the middle, but I already said the Phils couldn't get to Niese after Ruf's bomb, so you know the gist of what's going to happen here. Ben Revere slapped a single up the middle and Pete Mackanin sent Dom home where he was out by approximately 2 AU. It was either a completely terrible call down by two with two outs with Rollins coming up (if you're trying to win the game), or a great call (if you're embracing the tank). I'll leave that assessment to the reader.
Bastardo Bastardoed the eighth inning, striking out two but walking one in the process, while Buddy Carlyle, a guy who is a professional baseball pitcher and not the guy who sang Shipoopi in the Music Man, or the guy in the plane crash The Day the Music Died, kept the Phils off the board in the bottom of the 8th.
After a clean top-half of the 9th by Cesar Jimenez. he of the not-at-all-likely-to-regress 0.00 ERA, 3.41 FIP and 5.46 xFIP, the Phils faced Jeurys Familia in the 9th. Ruf was due to lead off the inning, but despite being responsible for both of the Phils runs to that point Sandberg pinch-hit for him with Grady Sizemore, to a clattering of Twitter responses. I'm going to offer a hot take on this move: It was probably correct. Not so much because Ruf can't high right-handed pitching, but because Familia has been death to righties over his entire major league career, and has very pronounced splits - .154/.262/.244 vs RHB, .313/.409/.426 vs LHB. If I'm Ryne Sandberg I do the same thing there. I also probably cut out this paragraph and paste it on my wall, since it's one of the very few times he's going to see me defend his managerial moves -- or, well, no, if I'm Hall of Famer Ryne Sandberg I don't actually care what a guy like me says, so never mind that.
Regardless, Sizemore struck out. Cody Asche worked a 2-out walk, and Chase Utley ripped a pinch-hit
home-run ground-rule double to the right-center wall. The play was ruled a double after replays showed a fan leaned slightly over the rail to catch the ball with his hat, though if you catch a ball that's very nearly a homer in your ball cap I think it should count; round it up to a dinger. Call it style points or something. Chase was placed back at second base where he would be as Ben Revere flared a weak ball to center to end the misery that has been the Mets visiting Citizens Bank Park this season.
Overall, I'm like:
But it wasn't all bad times:
#Phillies Chase Utley is batting .351/.433/.667 in 67 career pinch-hit plate appearances.— Ace of MLB Stats (@AceballStats) August 11, 2014
Chase Utley's last 6 PAs: out, BB, 1B, 2B, 3B, HR (assuming this is a double)— The Good Phight (@TheGoodPhight) August 11, 2014
Actually, it's 26 ABs without a K for Utley, forgot to count the last AB of the 8/3 game.— The Good Phight (@TheGoodPhight) August 11, 2014
Fangraph of Now We Get To Stay Up Really Late to Watch Them Do This Stuff On the West Coast! Yay!