Carlos Delgado went 3-for-4 with two home runs including a game-tying solo shot, setting the table for a four-run eighth inning in the Mets 6-3 win at Citizens Bank Park. The Phillies finish their homestand 7-2.
Circumstances were a little different in last night’s contest because of the depleted bullpens, but make it two straight Phillies losses that occurred in the eighth inning. When asked to identify the biggest concern headed into the final month, I told Metsblog before this series that the eighth inning was a problem spot. After the game, Charlie Manuel listed the unavailable relievers and expressed concern over the number of innings guys like Chad Durbin are piling up. Tired or not, the eighth inning is definitely unsettled.
Manuel was playing with a short deck, so what you get is Rudy Seanez, probably the Phils’ weakest reliever aside from new call-up Andrew Carpenter, matched up with Carlos Delgado, the Mets’ hottest hitter. After the game, post-game analyst Mitch Williams said Manuel needed to find a way to get left-hander J.C. Romero into the game expressly for Delgado, but it seemed Manuel and Rich Dubee got together beforehand and decided he was unavailable. If I was calling the shots, lights-out closer Brad Lidge would have pitched a two-inning save. Lidge was relatively fresh, but as last night affirmed, he appears to be at his absolute best in a ninth-inning save situation. Lidge has allowed a total of 14 earned runs this season. Ten of them have been in non-save situations. Relief pitching is a strange game.
They needed Kyle Kendrick to be a tick better. Kendrick pitched into the start of the sixth, but was lifted with his pitch count at 101, dooming himself with deep counts. Scott Eyre relieved Kendrick and pitched two shutout innings. So far, Eyre’s been a heckuva good pickup.
Give credit to the Mets for bouncing back from Tuesday’s thriller. The two sides arrived at a 1-1 split afterall, which is what many of us predicted. According to Metsblog, Delgado for MVP talk is beginning to take shape. I thought Jose Reyes played a big role in getting on base and pestering Kendrick early. Johan Santana settled in after giving up the homers to Ryan Howard and Jayson Werth, who did the only thing they could do against Santana: Wait for the fastball and hit it hard.