Friday, April 18, 2008

Phils Rally Late But Fall Short

The most anticipated game of the season so far between the Mets and the Phillies featured quite possibly the two best left handed change-ups in the game. Johan Santana and Cole Hamels went head to head in the opener of the second series between the two teams. Santana had struggled in his last outing, while Hamels had pitched strong, but at times lacked the run support so far this season.

This Mets struck early against Hamels scoring a run in each the first and third innings off the Phillies ace. David Wright who usually struggles against the young lefty went 4 for 4 in the game, coming a home run shy of the cycle. The game turned into a pitchers duel, which displayed Santana's strike out capability. By the eighth inning, Santana had racked up 10 strikeouts while only allowing one run off a solo home run by Chase Utley in the 7th. Both Hamels and Santana got into trouble in the eighth as Hamels left the game with the bases loaded and 1 out, followed by JC Romero who allowed three runs to score.

In an interesting move, Charlie Manuel brought Chris Coste out to pinch hit in the eighth with two on to set up a favorable match up with Santana. Willie Randolph, however, replaced Santana with Aaron Heilman, and in turn Manuel used a second bench player and brought out Greg Dobbs to pinch hit. Dobbs hit his first pinch-hit home run of the season to make it a one run game. Heilman managed to settle down after the homer and got Jenkins to fly out to deep center, a ball that hit to any other part of the park would have tied the game, and got Jason Werth out to allow for Pedro Felliciano to come into the game to face Utley and Howard. Feliciano managed to get Utley to strike out, and kept hold of the one run lead.

In the ninth, Manuel brought in Brad Lidge to pitch having not gotten any work in the last few games, and after getting into trouble, Lidge allowed a run to score after an error by Howard allowed the Mets to load the bases. The bottom of the ninth featured former Phillies closer Billy Wagner, who although couldn't strike out and Phillies, secured the win for the Mets.

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