The Mets got a big game out of Mike Pelfrey even after he struggled in the first inning. He gave up 2 walks and a single in the first and I thought it was going to be a long night. But he settled in to go 8 innings on 123 pitches without allowing a run. He was helped out by two excellent plays in the field by Angel Pagan. It seems like every night Pagan is making plays. He never takes a night off.
As usual, the Mets had very little offense. But it was just enough to squeak out a win because Pelfrey was so good. They only had 3 hits and 5 walks in the game. They scored off Nelson Figueroa in the first on a sac fly by David Wright. And Ruben Tejada walked in the fourth with the bases loaded. That was it for the offense.
The bullpen made it close in the ninth. Bobby Parnell and Hisanori Takahashi gave up 3 hits and 1 run with the Astros threatening to tie or win it. But Takahashi bailed out Parnell to preserve the win.
The Mets take the first game of the series and do it again tomorrow night behind Johan Santana.
Houston Astros (58-69) at New York Mets (63-64) 7:10 pm
Nelson Figueroa (3-1 2.98) vs Mike Pelfrey (12-7 3.80)
TV: SNY Radio: WFAN
What to watch: The Astros come to town today coming off a four game sweep of the Phillies… In Philly! You know Figueroa will be highly motivated too. He pitched pretty well against the Mets on Aug. 15 going 5 innings and only allowing 1 earned run. Pelfrey has recovered to pitch three solid starts in a row. We’ll see if Jose Reyes is held out because of the oblique strain that recurred last night.
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The Mets lost another heartbreaker in the bottom of the eighth inning. Johan Santana went 8 innings but got touched for two homers by Hunter Pence. He hit a 3-run homer in the first and the game winner solo shot in the eighth. It wasn’t Santana’s finest game giving up 4 runs, but he did have good control only walking 1 and making it through 8 innings on 103 pitches.
The Mets had decent offense going with 8 hits and 4 walks. The got to Nelson Figueroa in the first for a run and it looked like it might be a good night. Jose Reyes and Josh Thole were both 2 for 4 and Reyes had a steal. David Wright hit a solo shot in the eighth to tie it but Santana couldn’t hold it.
We’re going to see some different pitching scenarios like this for the rest of the season with the Mets operating without a closer.
I don’t know if that “Lick Count” is entirely accurate but it’s a new statistic we should be working on to see what percentage of licks works best in certain situations and maybe have the struggling starters implement the lick schedule.
But seriously – We’ve now seen 4 of the 5 starters and Oliver Perez goes today. Since this team’s success is going to rely on how well the starterrs pitch I’ve been watching them closely this week. As expected, a good outing by Johan Santana.
Good outings by Jon Niese and Mike Pelfrey have eased my nerves a little. The bad outing by John Maine definitely worries me as, from what I’m hearing, he might not ever find his true form. Continue reading →
After last night’s game against the Rays (losing 4-2) the Mets made six more cuts. That takes the current roster down to 27 players. Cut from the team last night were pitchers Nelson Figueroa, Kiko Calero, Bobby Parnell, and Elmer Dessens. Also cut were infielder Russ Adams and outfielder/first baseman Chris Carter.
Both Figueroa and Carter were somewhat surprising. They both seemed to be on the very edge of making the team. Relief pitcher Raul Valdes is still on the roster but will probably be cut by tomorrow’s 3pm deadline to get down to 25 players.
Carter appears to have lost the battle for the last spot on the roster to Frank Catalanotto. Omir Santos is still on the roster but will probably be cut by tomorrow as well.
I’m sure there are some really unhappy players right now. Figueroa made no bones about his desire to make the team, speaking openly to the press about it. And I assume Carter is unhappy after having a really good spring.
As usual, one of the biggest position battles in Mets spring training is for the fifth starter. Although the fifth starter can be a conglomeration of garbage, I really like the options that the Mets have for this season. Last year, the battle was between Livan Hernandez and Freddy Garcia. What a mess that was! By the way, have you seen the video of drunk Freddy Garcia at this year’s SoxFest getting fans excited for the season? A sloppy, drunken, expletive-filled, aging fifth starter is sure to get the Chicago fans pumped about the season.
There have been two big surprises about the Mets coming off their 70-win disaster of a season last year. First, the Mets and Omar Minaya didn’t do more to improve the team via trades and free agency. Second, there aren’t many position competitions on the field in spring training. We’re basically going to see the exact same team we saw last year, plus Jason Bay.
The first point we’ve argued about all winter. Some of us think the Mets should have done more in the offseason to shake up the team. Other fans have been on board with Minaya’s plan that there weren’t better players on the market than the Mets that are returning from injuries. Whether you’re on board with the plan or not, it’s finished and we’ll see how it plays out. If things don’t look like they’re working out by mid-season, it’s likely that Minaya and Manuel are finished with the Mets too.
The second point is an interesting one. You would think that a team coming off a horrible season would have plenty of competition for playing time. But the Mets appear to be pretty set at most positions and that’s probably a bad sign. It’s very likely that we’re going to see the exact same team that drove into a brick wall last year.
There’s only one certainty when it comes to the Mets starting pitchers for 2010: Johan Santana. As long as he’s healthy, there’s no reason to think he won’t be one of the best pitchers in baseball. He’s had some minor injury problems but I don’t expect to see any decline in his performance. After Santana, the situation gets very murky, very quickly. This is about to get ugly, so Mets fans hold onto your hats.
Mike Pelfrey- In 31 starts Pelfrey finished the season at 10-12 with a 5.03 ERA. 2009 was a serious regression for him from his 2008 line of 32 starts 13-11 and 3.72 ERA. Pelfrey had some disgusting performances like June 4th in Pittsburgh giving up 8 runs in 3.2 innings and giving up 9 runs in 4.1 innings in Atlanta on July 17th. There were other ugly games but you get the idea. Often Pelfrey looked uncomfortable and frustrated, but who wouldn’t be while pitching poorly? He had a bad year but the Mets have too much invested in him for him not to be back in the rotation. He’ll be there. You can bank on it. But I doubt that he’ll be considered the #2 starter. He should be demoted in the rotation. I’ll be surprised if he doesn’t have a bounce-back year in 2010.