Game 93: Win
Mets 8 Reds 3
Is Mike Pelfrey the answer?
For six innings, it sure looked like he might be. Of course, it was only his second ML start, and even Mr. Willie was barely interested in the results. He thoroughly downplayed Pelfrey’s performance, keeping to his “even keel” way about things, and vehemently insisted that one cannot get too excited about one or two starts by a young pitcher. And he is quite right to feel that way.
But then, Mr. Willie still won’t admit that Jose Valentin is the starting second baseman, so everything he says must be taken with a grain of salt.
As Met fans, we are allowed to be excited. Yesterday’s Pelformance began to fulfill our hopes that Mikey is the second coming of The Franchise Himself, Tom Seaver.
True enough, he threw about 90% fastballs, and many “experts” have already stated that he’ll need more than a fastball to win at this level.
However, he threw 90% fastballs and still stifled a very strong Cincinnati lineup. Which leads one to wonder how much more effective Pelfrey will be if and when he actually does establish a second or third pitch. After all, with “just” a fastball, he struck out Adam Dunn and Junior Griffey, among others, instigating 12 ground balls and allowing only 2 fly balls. He showed his breaking pitch — looks to be part slider/part curve — just enough to keep the batters guessing, and did very nicely, thank you, relying on the command of his sinking fastball and infield defense. If he can continue to pound the lower part of the strike zone with his 92-96-MPH heavy ball, all the “experts” saying he needs another pitch will change their tune to ” … he’s a lot like Brandon Webb … ” (interesting, isn’t it, that no one every says Webb needs another pitch?).
Pelfrey’s strong outing was well supported once again by the powerful Mets lineup; this time the hero was Carlos Beltran, who hit his second grand slam in as many days. Beltran turned on and cah-reamed a hanging curveball far into the upper deck in left field. His monster shot gave the Mets a five-run cushion and blew the air out of the Reds’ collective balloon. Interestingly, Reds starter Eric Milton pitched around Paul LoDuca to face Beltran, who thus far has put up weak numbers from the right side of the plate. That stuff might work with Strat-O-Matic, but unfortunately for Milton he had to face the real, live Beltran and not one-dimensional card stock; and he had to toss a real baseball rather than a pair of the dice.
Cliff Floyd went 0-4 but pounded the heck out of the ball. He is looking great.
As usual, it took only four relievers to close out innings seven through nine. All arms were effective, though it took the group a total of 60 pitches in those three innings. That said, it’s possible Mr. Willie will have to go to a combination of Heath Bell and Aaron Heilman in game two.
Crazy when you think back about 25 years, and guys like Goose Gossage pitched three full innings in one game to earn a save. Of course, the Goose didn’t always have to come back and throw the next day, as pitchers often finished what they started back then.
Speaking of the old days, Edgardo Alfonzo went oh-fer-four in his AAA debut. Those who remember Fonzie’s early days know that he skipped that level and came straight to the bigs from AA.
Steve Trachsel looks to keep his winning streak alive vs. Aaron Harang tonight. Meanwhile one wonders who the Mets are scouting tonight … Benson vs. Zito, Javy Vasquez, or Greg Maddux? Or did they see Mark Redman lose a 1-0 gem this afternoon vs. Boston?