Say this for Daisuke Matsuzaka: He has a strong sense of self-confidence.
“I believe as long as I have my command I can get batters out,” Matsuzaka said after he was completely unable to make pitches in the Mets’ 6-2 loss to the Phillies Wednesday night at Citi Field.
The loss was the Mets’ sixth in their last eight games, as they fell to 59-72.
Following back-to-back strong outings from Zack Wheeler and Jon Niese, manager Terry Collins suggested prior to last night’s game Matsuzaka could throw 120 pitches. And to be fair, he did come close. When he was lifted after 4 1/3 innings for Robert Carson, Matsuzaka (0-2) had thrown 110 pitches — 66 strikes and 44 balls — and trailed 4-1.
“[Last night’s] game was pretty self-explanatory, I think,” Matsuzaka said.
He loaded the bases three times, hit two batters and allowed six hits while walking four.
“I really haven’t seen him this year at all,” Collins said of Matsuzaka, whom the Mets signed on Aug. 22. “It’s been a couple years since I’ve seen him pitch live. I do know the history. He does take some time between pitches, but I will tell you his stuff is good enough. It plays. [Last night] the command was off and therefore he was off. When he commands it, he’s going to get outs because it’s good enough.”
Even though Carson, David Aardsma, Scott Atchison and Pedro Feliciano were mostly effective in the final 4 2/3 innings — the quartet combined to yield just two run on six hits — the damage was insurmountable, especially with Cole Hamels on the mound for the Phillies.
As he has seemingly throughout his career, Phillies starter Cole Hamels was able to make the lead hold up. Hamels (6-13) struck out eight in seven innings while scattering nine hits and two runs. He improved to 7-12 in 25 career starts against the Mets.
The Mets actually led 1-0 in the third when Ike Davis drove in Eric Young Jr. in the third for the game’s first run. Young reached on a fielder’s choice when Roger Bernadina could not catch his flare into short center. The Mets’ left fielder stole second and advanced to third when Jimmy Rollins did not cover while Carlos Ruiz caught Andrew Brown’s pop-up.
Andrew Brown’s RBI double in the sixth scored Daniel Murphy from third to cut the deficit to 5-2. But that’s as close as the Mets would come.
John McDonald added an insurance run in the top of the ninth when Atchison could not control Kevin Frandson’s tapper, and Jacob Diekman threw a 1-2-3 bottom of the frame in recording his first save of the season.
Carlos Torres (2-2, 2.96 ERA) will oppose Ethan Martin (2-2, 6.33 ERA) in the series finale Thursday. After the game, the Mets leave for Washington to begin a three-city, 10-day road trip.
Follow Mets beat writer Denis Gorman on Twitter @DenisGorman.