With a month left to the season, the Mets are in very good position to take the National League East. If only the bullpen would cooperate. The Mets offense tried to get back into the game Tuesday night after a poor start by Jonathon Niese, but the bullpen flopped big-time and the Mets were losers to the Phillies.
The game was scoreless until the third inning when the Phillies pounded Niese for five runs, capped off by the three-run home run by Darin Ruf.
It was Ruf again the fifth, singling home another run to make it 6-0.
But the Mets mounted their comeback in the bottom of the inning. Travis d’Arnaud walked with one out. Ruben Tejada reached on what was ruled an infield single, thanks to poor defense by the Phillies. Kelly Johnson pinch hit for Niese and singled to score d’Arnaud to get the Mets on the board. Tejada moved to third. Curtis Granderson hit a ball out in front of the plate. He was thrown out but Tejada scored to make it 6-2. Then Yoenis Cespedes reminded everyone what the Mets have been missing over the past few years. He homered into the seats in left to cut the lead to 6-4.
Niese labored through five innings, allowing six runs on seven hits. He walked two and struck out a pair. It was Niese’s third straight poor start after pitching so well for a couple of months.
Then it was time for the bullpen. Bobby Parnell, back from the DL from his phantom injury, promptly walked the first two batters he faced in the sixth. Freddy Galvis bunted back to Parnell. He promptly threw the ball into right field to score a run to make it 7-4. That was all for Parnell. Eric O’Flaherty, who has been just as bad as Parnell came on with runners on first and third with no outs. He walked his first and only batter to load the bases. Then came Carlos Torres. Darnell Sweeney connected on a double into the gap in right-center to plate two more runs to make it 9-4. With runners on second and third, Cesar Hernandez grounded out to the drawn-in infield for the first out. Aaron Altherr lined out to right, but Cameron Rupp on third broke on the ball and could not get back in time to tag up. Torres walked a batter to load the bases with two outs. And it was Ruf yet again, singling home two more runs to make it 11-4. Andres Blanco doubled to extend the lead to 13-4. Carlos Ruiz hit a ball to short. Tejada made a great play to stop it, but his throw bounced in front of Michael Cuddyer and it got by him. The throwing error made it 14-4.
The Mets tacked on four meaningless runs along the way to go down 14-8.