The Mets began perhaps the most difficult stretch of their schedule on a down note, losing to the Phillies on Memorial Day.
The Phillies drew first blood in the third — Jonathon Niese walked two batters and then Ty Wigginton doubled to score them both, making it a 2-0 game. Daniel Murphy saved a third run with a spectacular diving catch to end the inning.
The Mets tied things up in the fifth when Vinny Rottino followed a Lucas Duda walk with his second home run in three games, yet another homer that would not have been gone in the old Citi Field.
It appeared Terry Collins was going to take Niese out of the game after five innings, but after a conversation in the dugout he changed his mind and sent Niese out for the sixth. It turned out to be a bad idea — he walked the leadoff batter and then John Mayberry, Jr. hit a monster shot to left to make it 4-2. Then he removed Niese.
It was an odd game for Niese. He allowed just two hits and struck out seven Phillies, but he walked five batters.
The Mets got those runs back in the sixth when Scott Hairston laced a Cole Hamels pitch into the left field seats for a two-run home run to tie the game at four.
David Wright was forced into duty at shortstop, and it may have contributed to the loss. Justin Turner hurt his ankle during a rundown in the third, and with Ronny Cedeno still nursing a calf strain, Wright slid over to short.
In the seventh with no outs and Jimmy Rollins on first, Placido Polanco hit a dribbler to the pitcher for an all-but certain double play. But unfamiliar with making the play, Wright positioned himself in front of second base instead of behind it. When he got the throw he couldn’t find the bag with his foot, so he threw over to first for the sure out. Rollins eventually scored to give the Phillies the 5-4 lead.
Wright certainly can’t be blamed. It was only his second career game at shortstop, and a player filling in in an emergency cannot be expected to know all of the nuances of a position.
But Collins can be blamed for bringing Manny Acosta into the game to pitch the ninth. Acosta had to keep the game close to give the Mets a chance in the ninth. Of course he failed, allowing two singles and then a three-run homer by Wigginton to put the game out of reach. Wigginton, by the way, was 3-3 with six RBIs.
Acosta and his now 11.86 ERA cannot remain on this team, it’s as simple as that.
Mets lose 8-4.