2011 Game Recaps

Howard and the Bats Lead Phils to Victory

The Good:

-The first three innings. Nothing could go wrong for this team. Seven runs were stamped on the board and Joe Blanton cruised through the first nine outs.

Ryan Howard is really locked in. Before the game, Charlie Manuel raved about the way Howard is keeping his hands back is the zone, using his brute strength to punish the baseball. In the third inning he did just that, popping a 420-foot bomb to dead center field. Howard only went 4-for-4 with a walk to up his average to .524.

(PHOTO: Philly.com)

When asked if this was a statement made by an offense that was full of question marks heading into the season, Howard said “the statement that we made was just us going ans being us. I think a lot of people counted us out. We’re just going out and playing our game.” If they continue to just “be them,” they’ll make a lot of people happy.  Howard is clearly flourishing in the leadership role this season. The team is climbing on his back and the back, right now, looks strong.

Ben Francisco is punishing the ball, too. Except he had little to show for it the last two games. That was, until the sixth inning when he creamed a baseball into the left field seats about 15 rows back. On Tuesday night, Ben Fran laced two balls right into the stiff breeze in left field that fell just short of a home run. On Wednesday night, he smoked a ball to left field but it was caught by Willie Harris. It was an absolute b.b. Good to see him taking the role he’s been given and running with it.

-The Mets 4-5-6 hitters. Carlos Beltran, Angel Pagan, and Ike Davis went a combined 5-for-12 with five RBI and four runs. It has to be disappointing to rip off 12 hits (a night after putting up 13) and lose.

-A two-run fifth inning for the Phillies made the fans forget (somewhat) about the five-run top of the inning the Mets produced. The catalyst: how about a Shane Victorino two-out check-swing double down the line. He sparked the rally, believe it or not. Even if he didn’t mean to.

Placido Polanco‘s slide was a thing of beauty. He laid out to get that ninth run across. Kudos to him. He’s also swinging a hot stick, which is incredible given his injury-laden spring that held him to 46 at-bats during the exhibition schedule. Dude is a pro hitter.

-The Phillies with runners in scoring position tonight: 7-for-17. Yikes.

The Bad:

Mike Pelfrey was tossing batting practice up there tonight. In the end, the Mets offense – or the Phillies pitching – bailed him out and kept him from going 0-2 on the year. Pelfrey would pitch just two-plus innings, giving up seven runs (six earned).

-J-Roll had himself a night to forget. Rollins had been in a groove to begin the year, but tonight he fell flat going 0-for-4 with two strikeouts and a weak dribbler back to the pitcher. Better luck tomorrow.

Joe Blanton looked as though he was about to land in the top part of this recap. Then the fourth and fifth innings came. “It kind of happened quick,” said Blanton after his 4 1/3 inning performance in which he allowed seven runs on 10 hits. “I started getting ambushed a little bit. I kept trying to get ground balls with guys on to get a double play and it was just through the hole, up the middle, up the middle, up the middle.”

-After the offense raced back in two innings-time, the Mets bullpen faltered. Blaine Boyer had an opportunity to keep the momentum rolling in the Mets favor, but he allowed two runs in the bottom of the fifth and another in the sixth, sucking away any type of energy his team had stolen from the Phils.

-The length of this game. It felt like there was a DH involved somewhere.

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