By: Paul DiSclafani
The Mets (7-6) bomb Phillies pitching for the second night in a row, following up their four home run night yesterday with six more tonight in an 11-1 win in Philadelphia and a 4-1 start to their nine-game road trip. It’s the third time in the last 16 years that the Mets have hit six home runs in a game – all three times at Citizens Bank Park.
Neil Walker, who hit a home run last night, hit two more tonight, upping his team leading total to six. The switch hitting Walker, who hit just three home runs from the right side in the last three years, has hit three from that side already in his first 13 games as a Met. Lucas Duda and Walker went back-to-back last night, then did it again tonight.
The Mets had hit just 2 home runs in their first eight games of the season, but have socked 17 in the first five games of this road trip (scoring 33 runs), including 10 in the two games in Philadelphia. That is a team record for a five-game stretch.
Mets manager Terry Collins said last night that his team was built on power. He stayed with that theme tonight, adding that this Mets team can make it difficult on opposing pitchers who can’t afford to make mistakes:
“We got a lot of guys who can hit it over the fence. There is no easy guy in that lineup when you are facing them. You make a mistake and you know somebody can hit a home run. That’s really tough on the opposition when they know they have to make quality pitch after quality pitch, that’s really hard to do. Today we got some balls to hit and we hit ‘em good”
Philly starter Vince Velasquez (the former Padre) came into the game with 15 shutout innings in his two starts, striking out 25. He put up six shutout innings in a 1-0 win against the Mets on April 9th. But that streak was over three batters into the game.
David Wright doubled to right after Velasquez struck out Cirtis Granderson to start the game and after getting ahead of Michael Conforto 0-2, the fireballer served up a hanging curve that Conforto (2) curled around the foul pole to give the Mets an early 2-0 lead. “Hitting is contagious”, Conforto said.
In the third, the Mets got to Velazquez again with the long ball. With pitcher Logan Verrett on first thanks to an error by Ryan Howard at first, Velasquez got Granderson and Wright for the first two outs, but Conforto hit a rocket over his head and up the middle to keep the inning alive for Yoenis Cespedes. As he did in the first against Conforto, Velasquez got ahead of Cespedes 0-2, but once again went to a curve ball and Cespedes (4) deposited it deep into left for a 3R home run and a 5-0 Mets lead.
Meanwhile, Verrett (W, 1-0) the spot starter, was dealing again. He threw six shutout innings against the Marlins last week and put up six more zeroes tonight against the Phillies while filling in for Jacob deGrom. Verrett struck out four and gave up six hits and now has 13 shutout innings on the year.
Collins reiterated why the Mets have confidence in Verrett and go to him when they need to:
“He gets outs and he throws strikes. He stepped up and gave use exactly what we needed and that’s big innings. When you needed a start, he gives us a good one. That means a lot to us. We know there is going to be a day when someone is going to show up sick that is supposed to pitch and hopefully this guy is rested enough and if you need somebody, he can step in and do the job.”
Mets continued the home run barrage against the Phillies bullpen, specifically Brett Oberholtzer, who was tagged for three of them. Walker hit a solo shot in the sixth to make it 6-0, then Duda powered a 2-run shot in the seventh followed immediately by Walker again to make it 9-0. Granderson got into the fun with his second of the year, a 2-run shot off the video board in right to make it 11-0.
Mets go for the sweep on Wednesday with Bartolo Colon (1-1, 2.13) on the hill against Jeremy Hellickson (1-1, 4.30). Hellickson got the win against the Mets at Citi Field on April 10th.
POSITIVES: Walker hit 16 home runs in 2015 and is one behind Bryce Harper (7) … Mets are now 5-2 on the road … Mets have 33 extra base hits in their 13 games … Mets have hit four or more home runs in consecutive games for the first time since 2005 … Mets hit eight HR in a September game against the Phils last year … Walker is 7-11 with three home runs as a right-handed batter … Juan Lagares robbed a two-run homer from Maikel Franco in the eighth inning, reaching over the wall in center field … Mets have won five of six
NEGATIVES: Phillies (6-9) have not had more than nine hits in any of their 15 games … Asdrubal Cabrera was only regular without a hit