Ugh. The Phillies looked great early, then gave up five unanswered to the Mets as they took game one of the series, 5-2.
PAPELBON BLOWS IT
-Until this point, Jonathan Papelbon’s 2012 season had been going swimmingly. Then, he let up a three-run home run to a guy named Jordany Valdespin. Yeah. It was Paps first blown save of the season. Your Phillies season in a nutshell.
-Papelbon had not been used in a game since last week in Atlanta.
HALLADAY RETURNS TO FORM
-His line: seven innings, five hits, two runs (both earned), one walk, seven strikeouts. He certainly returned to form after a disaster in Atlanta. Only problem, the offense couldn’t help him out. Halladay deserved better than a no-decision.
-Early on, Halladay’s velocity was strong. At times, his fastball reached 93 on the radar gun both in the ballpark and on MLB.com’s pitch f/x. Clearly, his demise was premature.
-He threw his curveball for a strike often. In a second inning at-bat against Ike Davis, he made the lefty look silly throwing him back to back curves to fan him. Halladay mixed his pitches well throughout. Davis then looked helpless against Halladay again in the fifth inning as Halladay went curve, cutter, cutter, changeup, curve for a strikeout.
-Even in his tough-luck sixth inning, Halladay looked pretty good. He barely missed on a few pitches during his walk to Andres Torres, then got Kirk Nieuwenhuis to hit it right at Jimmy Rollins. Only problem; Rollins had gone to second to cover a potential stolen base. David Wright slapped a double just over the third base bag, literally inches from being foul, that score two runs. Breaks of the game.
A FEW GOOD AT-BATS
-The Phillies didn’t score a ton of runs, but they worked the count well, especially against Jon Niese. Shane Victorino took a walk. Jimmy Rollins had perhaps his best at-bat of the season in the top of the first that led to the run. John Mayberry Jr. hit his hardest ball of the season that knocked Jimmy in.
-In the top of the fourth, Carlos Ruiz was down 0-2 to Niese, but worked a walk with four straight balls. He did not chase; he waited for his pitch and it never came. Chooch gladly made his way to first.
-Niese tossed 80 pitches in four innings, and only 43 of those were strikes. Patience is a virtue, sometimes.
A FEW NOT-SO-GOOD AT-BATS
-It felt like the Phillies were dominating the game, but when Halladay allowed two runs in the sixth and the Mets tied it, the Phillies needed to capitalize on opportunities. Once again, they did not. With the bases loaded in the seventh, Hunter Pence put together an awful at-bat and eventually grounded into a 4-6-3 double play, made whole by Shane Victorino’s baserunner interference call at second base. That was made possible by a poor showing at the plate by Pence.
-Again in the eighth the Phillies had two on and nobody out only to get nothing out of it. More squandered opportunities.
-John Mayberry Jr. has had his troubles at the plate. On Monday night, he was a wizard with the glove, making two diving stops in left field. If there is one thing you cannot deny, it’s JMJ’s ability to play the field at a high level.
-Freddy Galvis made a few nice plays as well. After Roy Halladay was hit in the rear end by an Ike Davis liner, and Carlos Ruiz missed the throw to first base, Galvis was there for a sweet sliding back up. Galvis was also on the scene of a blooper over the head of Halladay. He raced in and slid across for the final out. The kid can play defense with the best of them. But right now his bat is not on par. He still needs work, but his defense will likely keep him in the bigs for a long time.
-Placido Polanco completed a double play of his own in the eighth on a spinning-top grounder by Lucas Duda. He clamly picked it up, fired to first, and ended the threat.
-Tomorrow, the Phillies resume their series with the Mets at 7:05. Miguel Batista takes on Joe Blanton.