(Neil Miller/Sportsday Wire)
After the Philadelphia Phillies scored a season high eight-runs in the sixth inning at Citi Field Tuesday night the big crowd slowly disappeared. And by the time the last out was made in the ninth inning handing the New York Mets a 14-8 loss, the ballpark resembled those insignificant games of September.
Yes this was September, the final stretch and for the first time since the new ballpark opened in 2009, the games have some meaning. But that big inning for the last place Phillies that saw two Mets errors and three pitchers out of the pen walking four on three hits, well that was not the September start to remember.
And after a 20-8 month of August, you just hope this was one of those bad games that happen once in a while down the stretch. No harm again, as the Cardinals came from behind and beat the Nationals, so the Mets did not lose ground and maintained their 6-½ game lead in the division.
But the boos were heard, something that was not heard much last month. They were for Bobby Parnell who started that bullpen implosion in the sixth inning, and in all fairness to the righthander it was his first outing after another stint on the disabled list. He walked the first two Phillies he faced, and committed a throwing error on a sac bunt that led to a run.
Manager Terry Collins came out of the dugout and lifted Parnell. Before the game the pen had some reinforcements with the September call ups, and at this time of year, and with a pennant race at hand, every arm helps out of the pen. And there is every reason to believe that Parnell will not figure in the plans if Collins gets that chance to comprise a postseason roster.
Again, it was not the way to start September with Collins’ team positioning to be a part of postseason baseball next month.
“We’re in a playoff race and I wanna help the team as much as possible,” Parnell said. “I wanna be there for them so like I said I’m gonna continue to work to get better. It’s what I’ve done the last seven years, it’s all I know.”
But in September, with those precious few games remaining, the last thing the home fans wanted to see was their pitcher implode on the mound. Parnell would throw the rosin bag on the ground more than once to show his frustration. After the error he stooped down to his knees.
The last thing the once big crowd wanted to see was a bullpen implosion, against the team they defeated a franchise tying ten straight.
They did not want to see Jonathon Niese also implode a second time in two weeks on the mound. Last week down in Philadelphia, Niese got the start and gave up five runs to the Phillies in the third inning and he duplicated the effort Tuesday night in the same inning.
The difference that time was the torrid pace of August for the Mets who eventually won that game last week in extra innings. They had to overcome a 14-4 deficit Tuesday night when they came to bat in the sixth and that was too much to overcome.
A stinker to start September as August was now in the record books. For Collins and his team it is on to Wednesday and trying to salvage taking two of three before hitting the road again for ten games in September.
Said Collins about the stinker to start September, “You gotta forget ‘em. We obviously had two brutal innings. We’ll regroup and come back tomorrow..” And the good thing about baseball is, there is a tomorrow and this was only the first of 27 more games this month for the Mets. In that span are three at the Nationals next week, and those games could provide a much better scope as to where the Mets will be in October.
But this was the beginning of September, and a good start it was not that had their fans leaving Citi Field with hopes there won’t be another game similar to this one down the stretch,
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