Tagged: Mike Pelfrey

Crucial Times…

As I sit here writing this, the Mets are in extras against the Reds.  After what was a phenomenal week, ending the home stand, the Mets have hit a skid.  Granted, I will take a 5-1 week all the time (Sun-Sat).  But the end of the series in Philly has left a horrid taste in my mouth.  After dominating 3 less-than-stellar teams and going 9-1 on a critical home stand, NY has dropped its last 2 against its main rival.  I was not as frustrated about Saturday’s loss (although, I always hate to them…and watching Pelfrey get blitzed).  After winning 8 in a row, losses are to be expected and a lot of times, crushing losses.  That’s just baseball.  -side note: what a play by Davis to get Votto at first…love this kid.  Love his defense- It was more Sunday’s loss that was so disheartening.  Although it is still early in May, this was a big series.   The Mets were hot and had a big test.  Played a great game on Friday to get at least a win and got bombed on Saturday…how would they respond?  Especially in the lion’s den?  Coming right out of the gate and watching DW5 hit that bomb…I was psyched and thought that Saturday was behind us.  Even after Santana gave up the 2 HRs (both were after he had 0-2 counts), he still looked good.  And then Barajas’ huge 2 run shot…it just looked like they were over the hump and going to make a statement.  Especially with Santana on the mound.  And then it happened…the walk to Moyer was the breaker…after that, everything was a blur.  I didn’t even make it through the inning before catching up on my DVRed tv shows.  -side note: I have a feeling that Chuck is ending, unfortunately- 

This brings me to my point…can the Mets respond from such a disheartening weekend?  And what does this team want from this year?  They have showed how much potential they have, pitching the way they have (both starting and relieving).  With no one other than Wright (and not BA-wise) really on track (maybe Francoeur), only good things should be coming from the offensive department, right?  Well, tonight, they start a 3 game series in Cincy…a team they can take 2 of 3 from.  And then back home.  So, this is a time to show that the speed bump was just that…and not a huge pothole.  -game has gone to Top 11, now-  Ollie looked solid, tonight, going 6 innings, only 2 runs.  4 BBs, though.  But, again, I will take that from him. 

So, I might have been wrong about hitting Reyes in the 3 hole…sort of.  They have won 7 of 9 games, entering tonight, with him hitting in that spot.  But, it has not been due to Reyes, whose average is down to .217.  I think that they have to continue as things are…but only because there’s not a lot better option.  Bay finally hit a HR last week…but still waiting for him to break out.

Ok, so, I also want to bring up something else that is going on in sports…the NBA Playoffs.  More specifically, the Spurs/Suns series.  I’ve been a Suns fan for years (don’t ask) and definitely have my feelings about the Spurs.  But this is going to be a tremendous series.  With all of the history between the teams and the Spurs maybe reaching the edge of their dominance and the Suns playing better defense.  This is what the playoffs are all about.  People are finally starting to come around on the Suns and pick them to actually beat San Antonio.  They have home-court.  Amare has been playing out of his mind; Grant Hill has revived his career.  -Game to Bot 11, Acosta in-  I know the Cavs/C’s series is going to be great, as well, but this should be a series that goes at least 6 games. Its tough for me to see either team beat the Lakers, but…to finally vanquish the Spurs might give Amare just enough reasons to stay in the Valley of the Sun.   

Hopefully, the Mets will pull this one out and can go for the series win, tomorrow…and…no…Nix homers off of Acosta for a 3-2 win…3rd loss in a row

Tuesday, 7:10, Great American Ballpark, Maine vs. Arroyo…

 

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A Week in Review…

Over the last week, the Mets have been on a tear.  And the key has been the starting pitching.  Oliver Perez had the iffy start on Wednesday against the Cubs that resulted in the Mets only loss, since last Sunday.  I think he did enough to keep the heat off of himself in the rotation.  He went 5 innings and only allowed 3 runs.  That’s…ok, not terrible…and that is what the Mets need (at the minimum) from him and John Maine.  The problem on Wednesday was the bullpen.  Newly-acquired Manny Acosta got wrecked in that game…as did Takahashi.  John Maine got hurt in his start on Friday against the Braves.  He was pitching better than his first few starts, but then he got hurt.  That just seems to be how it goes for Maine, unfortunately.  I’m not entirely sure what needs to be done with him.  It’s really hard for me to see the Mets re-signing him in the off-season.  I would wish him well and enjoy it if he succeeds some place else…but he just has been so inconsistent over the last 2-3 years, whether it be pitching or injury. 

Jon Niese had 2 very nice starts last week.  Not quite what I want to eventually get out of him (5 and 2/3 with 1 run and 5 and 1/3 with 1 run).  But he’s not getting crushed and he is striking out people (7 and 6, respectively).  Unfortunately, a lack of run support has stopped him from getting a win, in either game.  Still, I am liking what I am seeing from him and look forward to his starts, now. 

Johan and Pelfrey are both looking amazing.  Each got a win last week and looked very strong, doing so.  Pelfrey could get another win, tonight, pending the outcome (which is stuck in the 6th due to a rain delay…Mets are up 1-0, though).  Pelf looked good (but not), tonight.  He did not have the control we’ve seen him exhibit this year.  He allowed 10 baserunners in 5 innings, but still managed to get out of it every time, extending his scoreless streak to 24 innings.  If he does win tonight, he will be 4-0 with a .69 ERA…early Cy Young candidate, anyone?

Now…to the hitting.  Sigh.  Still…not good.  Its getting better, as they are getting timelier hits…but, no one is tearing the cover off the ball.  They still only have 50 hits over the last 7 games (including tonight’s that hasn’t been called yet).  Yet, assuming they win tonight, will be 6-1??  That’s just baseball, I guess.  Still waiting for the Jason Bay that we heard about all off-season.  He’s picked it up the last couple games, but still no HRs and 5 RBI, while hitting .269.  David Wright is a little better, but not much 3 HRs, 10 RBI, .222.  Francoeur: 3, 10, .286.  That’s around what I expect from him. 

The Mets have called up Ike Davis.  I was originally against it, but it seems that maybe its what this team has needed.  He has looked right at home, playing 1st base.  He’s also hit very nicely in his 7 games.  1 HR, a couple RBI, and a .318 average.  Granted, its only a week, but he looks like he could be the real deal.  And to have left-handed power is only going to help.  

So, there has been a lot of talk about Jose Reyes hitting in the 3rd spot in the lineup.  It has been thrown around quite a bit over the past couple years.  I’ve thought about it in different circumstances and I finally made a decision as to what I feel about it.  Under ideal circumstances (Beltran being back, Wright and Bay hitting like they are capable, etc), I am supremely against it.  However, given what is going on now, I absolutely love the idea.  And for these reasons:

  • David Wright has not been (W)right.  I still think something is up with him.  Maybe its mental.  Maybe there’s an injury somewhere that no one knows about.  Maybe he’s just trying too hard.  Or maybe (gulp) he’s not as good as we all thought he was??  I hope like everything that its not the last one.  But…whatever the reason…he is not the center-piece of this lineup, right now. 
  • Carlos Beltran is not healthy and it doesn’t look like he will be, anytime soon.  Hopefully before the All-Star Break, but…I’m not holding my breath.  So, we need to move on…at least for a while. 
  • I know his average doesn’t reflect it now (but who on the Mets is sporting a nice BA), but I think that Angel Pagan belongs near the top of the lineup.  He is making strides as a base runner.  He has the speed.  You can hit him in the leadoff spot, followed by Castillo, Reyes, etc..

Monday, 7:10, Citi Field, Kuroda vs. Perez…

Not in the Cards…

The series with the Cardinals was very similar to that with the Rockies.  The Mets didn’t necessarily play that bad…they just didn’t win a majority of the games.  Which…is not good…but at least the games were watchable.  Actually, the Mets were only losing for 5 of the 38 innings played.

The one very good thing has been the starting pitching (ironically) has been the starting pitching.  Oliver Perez threw a nice outing on Friday night: 6.1 innings, 4 hits, 1 run, 3 BBs and 4 Ks.  I will take that from Ollie every single outing.  But…that is not likely.  Bullpen blew his chance for a win, though.  On Saturday…(well, Saturday is a story in and of itself) Santana did a wonderful job starting as well, pitching 7 innings, 4 hits, 0 runs, 1 BB and 9 Ks.  A nice rebound from has last performance against the Nats, where he gave up a 1st inning grand slam.  And the much awaited 3rd start of John Maine on Sunday did not go terribly.  He gave up a 3 run shot to tie the game in the 5th inning.  That was so disheartening to watch b/c he always seems to get by the one inning.  His pitch count got obscenely high for only 5 innings and not a lot of runs (115). 

We just still can’t hit.  At all.  The Mets did scrap together 9 hits on Friday and did fight back to get a couple runs in the 9th, but still fell a run short.  Saturday…was awful.  They went hitless until the 7th when Pagan blooped a single in.  Despite the game going 20 innings, they could still only manage another 6 hits.  So, the got 7.  In 20 innings.  And the last 3 innings were against non-pitchers.  On Sunday, the Mets got 4 hits…and none of them after the 2nd inning.  That’s just ridiculous.  I mean, I know they faced Carpenter and Wainwright in the series, but still.  That’s 20 hits in 38 innings.  And only 2 of them were extra base hits.  And both were on Friday.  That’s just…not how you win games…regardless of how good your pitching is.  I don’t mean to sound like a broken record, but…they just need to hit better.  It also would be more interesting to watch the games if you actually felt like you didn’t need 3 hits in an inning to score a run. 


Points:

  • Jeff Francoeur has cooled off considerably…coming into Monday night, he was 0 for his last 11…
  • Mike Jacobs was FINALLY sent down to Buffalo…in favor of Tobi Stoner, in order to save arms in the bullpen
  • Stoner was then sent back down in favor of much-heralded Ike Davis, who made his MLB debut Monday night…
  • Coming into Monday, the Mets are last in the NL in BA with RISP…still
  • Mike Pelfrey has more saves this year than K-Rod…1
  • Also, Craig Anderson of the Colorado Avalanche, had one of the best goalie performances I have ever seen in the NHL playoffs on Sunday night…saving all 51 shots in a 1-0 OT win over the Sharks…

Next up for the Mets: 4 games against the Cubs at Citi Field…

Ending on a Rocky Mountain High…

Despite going 1-2 this week in Denver, there are still some positives that can be had.  I really like the way Mike Pelfrey has been throwing the ball.  He had a wonderful game today, going 7 innings, allowing 5 hits, 0 runs, 0 BBs, and 6 Ks.  The number that really sticks out to you is the 0 walks.  Mike has had trouble throughout his short career with walking batters.  In his first start, he did have 4 BBs, but stayed ahead of the count very nicely, this afternoon.  He also became the first Mets starter this year to pitch into the 7th inning.  No other starter has looked even half as good as Pelfrey so far, this year.

Jeff Francoeur has continued his blazing start.  In the series against the Rockies, he went 4 for 11.  While Wright has looked solid and Bay has been….well, there, it is Francoeur who has been the consistent threat in the lineup. 

The Mets bullpen has also looked very solid this week, only allowing 4 runs in 11+ innings.  Other than Nieve (who has 1 bad outing in 6 appearances) and Jenrry Mejia (who may be in over his head right now), everyone in the bullpen has been very solid. 

I really, really want to like Jon Niese.  He has looked…ok.  I like a lot of his pitching and the way he handles himself, but he just gets beaten up by that one batter every game and it ruins his outing.  In both of his outings, he’s looked like he was figuring it out and almost making it through his 5 or 6 innings and then just gets caught.  He got bailed out by an offense that finally scrapped together some runs.  Otherwise, he would be 0-2.  Hopefully, he can finish his next start stronger.

John Maine is on his last straw.  He looked awful on Tuesday.  Gave up 1st inning runs, despite getting the first 2 hitters out.  That seems to be a theme with him.  He seems to be almost out of an inning and just can’t close it out.  His fastball isn’t where it used to be and his off-speed pitches don’t have the confidence, yet.  But…after rushing a throw to 1st and allowing more runs to score on his own error…and barely making it through the 3rd…sigh.  He’s got a chance…maybe 2…and then he’s got to be out of the rotation.  It’s that bad.

Are you telling me that the best we can do at 1st base is Mike Jacobs or Fernando Tatis?  That has to be a joke.  Tatis was a nice story 2 years ago…and he was…ok…last year, but the time has come.  Give a kid a chance.  Or someone else.  I am done with Tatis.  And Jacobs…is just terrible.  He is 3 of 18 this year.  Put Cora at 1st…or Angel Pagan (if Beltran ever gets back).  Call up Nick Evans…just not Mike Jacobs. 

My last rant is going to be on scoring runs.  We seem to be the same team as last year (in which we lead the league in BA but were 11th (?) in runs).  We can get guys on base.  We draw walks or get hits (sometimes), but we do stupid things on the base paths.  For example: David Wright came up today with no out and Reyes and Castillo on 2nd and 1st respectively.  Castillo was thrown out on a botched double steal -where Reyes didn’t run but Castillo did.  And then Reyes was thrown out at 3rd, trying to steal.  When Wright stuck out, he was the 3rd out after coming to the plate with 0 outs.  I mean…what?  How does that happen?  And that’s just one example.  We are horrible at getting runners over and using outs productively, not to mention hitting with RISP.  Coming into today, the Mets were something like .175 with RISP.  That would be last in the NL…obviously.  I am starting to think this is on Manuel.  Its almost like Herm Edwards and Time Clock management with the Jets back in 2004.  Some of these principles are very basic in baseball and this team is almost clueless on the base paths and manufacturing runs.  Hopefully, they will figure something out in St Louis, tomorrow…

Friday, 8:15pm, Busch Stadium, Perez vs. Carpenter…

Weekend Mess…

What a series with that Nationals.  They say that you can’t tell anything in the first month or so of the season.  And that you spend the first couple months figuring out who your team is and what you’ve got to work with.  Unless, either, the results are similar to the previous year or spring training.  I believe both to be the case for the Mets.  Examining how the Mets have played in their first few games reminds me exactly of what I watched all of last year.  The pitching has been average at best.  The offense is odd.  There are some proven hitters, but no one has been consistent.  And no one wants to hit in the clutch.  In the 2 wins, the Mets have scored 15 runs.  In their 4 losses, they have scored 12 runs.  Now, you would expect that to a certain degree b/c runs are how you win games.  But this is what the team did all of last year.  They would get red hot and win a game or 2, and then go ice cold and lose 3-4.  The Mets start the season with a relatively easy schedule (at least a home-favored one) and these are wins that need to be had.  Losing series at home to Florida and Washington are just unacceptable.  Granted (again), its still very early, but the way this club has been playing…I don’t see a lot of reasons why the culture of this club should change.  Getting Reyes into mid-season form and getting Beltran back with both help, but there is something deeper with this team that needs to be addressed.  And until that happens, one or two players will not make a difference.


The Good:

  • Mike Pelfrey: pitched a good game on Friday and picked up the win.  He went 6, allowing 4 hits, 2 runs, 4 BBs, and 4 Ks.  He also only threw 94 pitches, so he would have been in good shape to pitch the 7th if needed…
  • Jeff Francoeur: off to a tremendous start, hitting .476.  He leads the team in BA, hits, RBI, doubles, tied for 1st in HRs and has only stuck out twice…
  • Jose Reyes has returned…I think that’s good.  We’ll soon see…

The Bad:

  • Starting Pitching: no starters’ ERA is under 3.00.  Also, no one has gone more than 6 innings in a start.  Ok, maybe the starting pitching isn’t bad, but…it could definitely be a lot better.
  • Mike Jacobs: Cut him.  Now.  With a Knife.  Or else I will.  He has 2 hits in 15 ABs…and has 4 K’s.  Thankfully, he did not start the last 2 games.  Again, is it kind of early to be wanting to cut someone?  Maybe…but the 4th or 5th place hitter cannot only have 2 hits and 4 Ks in 15 ABs…not on this team, anyway…

The Ugly:

  • Hitting with RISP:  here is why the Mets don’t score runs.  If you don’t hit HRs, then you need to get hits with people on base.  The Mets are the worst team in the NL, hitting .188 with runners in scoring position.  Tell me you don’t remember THAT from last year…
  • Santana’s 1st Inning on Sunday:  Yikes.  This was bad.  2 hits, 4 runs, 2 BBs.  He only gave up one more run in his next 4 innings, but if Santana is pitching like that (at all), this team doesn’t have a prayer.  Ron and Keith were talking during Sunday’s broadcast and said that the Mets are going to need to win pretty much all of Santana’s starts.  Is that unrealistic?  Yeah.  But, is it necessary?  Probably.
  • Starting From Behind:  The only game that the Mets did not give up a 1st or 2nd inning run was in the 1st game of the season.  The way this offense has performed this year, playing from behind from the beginning does not bode well.

Tuesday, 8:40pm, Coors Field, Maine vs. Smith…

  

Classic, Part 2…

If last night was amazing, tonight was ridiculous.  Don’t get me wrong, when Werth caught the ball in the bottom of the 10th, I sensed something bad would happen.  Parnell coming in to face Utley, Howard, and Ibanez?  In Extras?  *cringe*  Yeah, I had a feeling one of them would go deep…and Utley did.  He has 15 HRs this year and 4 have come against the Mets.  BUT…this game was still great and it would have been worth the price of admission…

Normally, games like this are awesome and sometimes you lose them…but, we should and could have had this one.  Mike Pelfrey pitched well.  I know people have not been throwing him a bone at all this year, but he is selling me every start he makes.  He pitched very well into the 7th inning.  I agree with Keith Hernandez and absolutely love how he stared down Chase Utley twice.  When Utley kept stepping out on him, Pelf stared him down and Utley stared back.  A few pitches later, Utley grounded out and both players passed each other, again staring each other down.  This is what the Mets need.  They need to get emotionally involved and add some fire.  It happened on Tuesday and Pelf replicated it again Wednesday night.  He did give up a couple hits in the 7th and Beltran dropped a ball he would catch 99 out of 100 times.  But all in all, Pelf held his own in a huge game and deserved a better fate.  He went 6+ innings, 6 hits, 4 runs (only 2 earned), 1 BB, and 2 Ks. 

Sean Green came in and could not keep any inherited runner from scoring.  That is something that cannot happen when you consistently enter games in the middle of innings.  Feliciano might be the unsung hero of this team.  He entered in the 8th and got the assignment Parnell would later get and it wasn’t close.  3 up, 3 down against Utley, Howard, and Ibanez.  K-Rod pitched 2 innings and was great, with the help of Tatis’s sick double play in the 10th.

Offensively, the Mets tore the cover off the ball, collecting 16 hits in all.  Pelfrey started the charge, going 2 for 3 with a double, RBI and a run scored.  The Mets shelled Hamels, who barely made it through the 5th, allowing 11 hits, 4 runs, 2 BBs, and a K.  David Wright also a nice night going 3 for 5 with a walk and a run scored.  He has continued to rake.  He hit a sinking liner in the bottom of the 10th, with F-Mart on 1st, that Jayson Werth made a diving grab on.  If Werth misplays that ball at all, it gets by and Martinez walks home to end the game.  That is how the entire game went.  Santos contributed 3 hits, while Castillo and Beltran each had 2.  Santos’s big flub came in the bottome of the 8th when he popped up (on the 1st pitch, no less) with the bases loaded and only one out.  That is what killed the most.  I saw a stat during the game that the Mets lead the NL is batting average with RISP (something like .282).  I suppose it could be true…just sometimes hard to believe, watching this team. 

Could Have Beens:

  • 15 of the Mets 16 hits…were singles.  That’s a 4 hits:1 run ratio.  That’s terrible.  Only Pelfrey got more than a base.
  • The Mets loaded the bases twice and had 2 runners on twice and didn’t score in any of those 4 innings…
  • During the 7th inning, when the Phils got 3 runs, Beltran dropped a catchable ball (but it was a hit) and Wright misplayed a grounded that would have been an easy out at home…defense always does come back to bite them
  • The Mets were 6 for 19 with RISP (not terrible) but had 16 LOB…that’s bad. 
  • If these were the first 2 games, I cannot wait to see Thursday night’s rubber match.  Unfortunately, I do have 2 playoff softball games, so I will be watching the game, after the fact…
  • Also, I watched the Series Premiere of Royal Pains tonight…USA Network is coming out with some awesome shows.  Their summer slate (Burn Notice, Royal Pains, and Psych) might rival CBS during year…

 

Thursday night, 7:10, Citi Field, Moyer vs. Redding…   

Pitts…blah

After the terrible loss on Monday, the Mets played one of their most un-inspired performances of the year, as Santana didn’t pitch well and was marooned with a 3-1 loss.  Wednesday was washed away due to rains in Western PA.

Thursday, was an afternoon game.  I have always been a fan of afternoon games.  Businessmen take an afternoon off to watch some baseball.  There’s always lots of kids that come out to the game via either a summer camp trip or a field trip from school.  Its kind of an old school type of baseball that can take you away from the stress and frustrations of everyday life.  And, for people like me who try to watch/follow every game, it gives you a free evening.

A day after trading (I mean donating) their best player to the evil Braves, the Pirates came out swinging…and hitting.  Before anyone knew what happened, the Pirates landed 6 hits and a walk that plated 4 runs in the 1st inning…with only 1 out.  Much like the US in their game against Costa Rica last night, Pelfrey did not even show up against the Bucs.  He only lasted 3 and 2/3 9 hits, 9 runs (8 earned), 4 BBs, and 3 Ks.  Too bad for Pelf.  He pitched his 2 best games of the year in his last 2 outings.  If the Mets had scored an inning earlier in each game, he could be 6-1…well, now 2.  But, they didn’t and he falls to 4-2. 

Also, as I am writing this, JJ Putz is getting shelled.  He has not done well at all, lately.  I’m starting to form the opinion that he should go on the DL (I hear they need a 10th for Bridge).  Not that he is hurt to the point of some of the other Mets, but he might just need some time to work on some things, like his focus/mentality.  The Mets pitching staff (and bullpen especially) have been more than great this year.  So, let Putz work himself out and lean on your strengths for a bit. 

This has just been a rough trip and I think the Mets just need to start over.  They need to get out of Pittsburgh and begin a new series.  It wouldn’t shock me if the Monday night “giveaway” is still longering and maybe a plane ride can help it a little bit. 

The news on Reyes is not great.  He had a minor setback this week and it doesn’t look like he will be back this weekend in DC.  The latest I heard was the best case would be Jose could return on Tuesday before the series against Philly.  Ryan Church, however, is also supposed to come off the DL on Sunday.

 

While waiting for the Plane:

  • On the positive side, Carlos Beltran came back with a bang, today.  He went 2 for 4 with a walk and 2 extra base hits: a double and a HR!!!
  • The Mets hit a HR!  It was their first since last Friday against the Marlins…
  • David Wright seems to be starting to show signs of breaking out of his slump…maybe.  He went 2 for 3 with 2 BBs, an RBI, a stolen base, and 2 runs…he does needs to pick it up.  If the Mets are going to turn it around and make a little run before the All-Star Break that keeps getting closer, Wright is going to have to be the David Wright of old.  He doesn’t need to hit bushels of HRs, but he does need to start getting more doubles and triples…
  • Jerry Manuel has said that the next few games are an audition for Fernando Martinez.  With Church set to come off the DL, Martinez is going to have to start hitting better if he wants to stay in NY.  He did go 2 for 4 today, with an RBI and a run scored.    

 

Friday, 7:05, Nationals Park, Redding vs. Martis…