Friday, July 3, 2009

Why the Phillies are better than the Mets

There was a play in the eighth inning tonight that summed up the critical difference between the Mets and the Phillies. David Wright fielded a grounder from Shane Victorino and threw to first, where the ball bounced off of Daniel Murphy's glove and rolled several yards down the line into foul territory.

Even if Murphy had caught the ball cleanly, it probably would have been a hit; in fact, the play was ruled a hit. After Victorino was safe at first, he continued up the line a few strides, then stopped and started to walk back to first. And then he noticed something.

Nobody on the Mets was going after the ball.

After he couldn't handle the throw, Murphy dropped his head, presumably mad at himself for not making the play. By the time Murphy started going after the ball, Victorino was on his way to second base, which he made easily.

The score was 7-2 at the time, and the play had no bearing on the outcome of the game. But it said a lot about which team was better able to play smart fundamental baseball.

It was not the first mental lapse of the game for the Mets. Earlier, Fernando Tatis, installed at second base even though he has barely played it because he could supply more offense (Tatis is hitting .261 with three homers in 153 at bats), failed to cover second on a single by Jimmy Rollins, who alertly took second.

The Mets could have put on a fundamentals clinic tonight, and it wouldn't have done them any good with Livan Hernandez melting down and the Mets unable to put up much of a fight against retread Rodrigo Lopez.

There are two new disturbing trends with the Mets. It's one thing to struggle against the Sabathias and Gallardos. But in the span of four days, the Mets have been helpless against journeymen Lopez and Mike Burns.

Meanwhile, each member of the patchwork part of the Mets' rotation, Hernandez, Tim Redding and Fernando Nieve, has now failed to make it out of the fourth inning in his last start.

No pitching. No hitting. No fundamentals. Oh, and the Braves are now tied with the Mets for third and could pass them tomorrow.

Who would have thought that Fourth of July might mean fourth place.


NYM said...

That theory of why the teams are different might have been more believable had the Phillies not put on an very similar display themselves a couple weeks back in a game vs the Sox. Errant pickoff throw rolls away from Howard. Youkilis starts jogging down to 2b. As thats happening Howard starts to literally *walk* not run, not even jog, but walk over to go get the ball, completely disregarding the fact that Youk is running, Youkilis sees this and takes off to 3b. Those perfect Phillies then followed that up a few days later, but letting Marco Scutaro just run straight to 2b after he walked.

All teams make mistakes. The Phils aren't perfect either.

jorgesaysno said...

Simply put, the Phillies are just better than the Mets right now.

Not to sound too much like Jerry Manuel here, but the Mets need to play a "perfect" game in order to beat good teams.

And for all their flaws, the Phillies are still are good team.


Uncle Mike said...

I'm reminded of a cartoon Charles Schulz wrote for "Peanuts" -- keeping in mind that this was before divisional play, and that finishing first meant winning the Pennant without all those pesky Playoffs. (Unless you're the 1951 New York Giants.)

Panel 1, Charlie Brown winding up on the mound: "This is a very important game."

Panel 2, ol' Chuck fires it in: "Tradition has it that whatever team is in first place on July 4th wins the Pennant."

Panel 3, POW! Line drive up the middle, Charlie Brown dives out of the way and his clothes go flying.

Panel 4, the blockhead is lying on the mound, flat on his back, in his underwear: "And the team that is in last place usually stays there!"

Neither the Yankees nor the Mets are in first place at the moment, but it's just the baseball equivalent of an old wives' tale, and it's a long summer, and there's still plenty of reason to hope.

Well, for we Yankee Fans, anyway. For Met fans, it's probably going to be more "Good Grief!" than "the Snoopy Dance."

At least the Mets don't have to worry about shortstop the way Charlie Brown does. You'll never have to worry about Jose Reyes doing this:

Panel 1: Charlie Brown pitches.

Panel 2: "Ah, he hit it right to my shortstop. This should be easy."

Panel 3: Snoopy is sitting on second base with his cap turned backwards, posed as if he's driving: "Here's the World War I Flying Ace, zooming through the air in his Sopwith Camel."

Panel 4, Charlie Brown rolls his eyes: "I can't stand it!"

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