Mets Game 39: Loss to Nationals
This one hurt … bad.
Mike Pelfrey was masterful through six, allowing no hits until Aaron Boone smacked a line drive single to right to lead off the seventh. Pelfrey also hit a batter in that inning, but allowed no runs, giving his team a better effort than anyone could have expected. Big Pelf went 7 and two-thirds before finally yielding the game to Matt Wise — unfortunately, he walked off the mound losing 1-zip.
Also unfortunately, the masterpiece by Pelfrey was wasted, as the Mets bats could manage only three stinking hits against Jason “Christy Mathewson” Bergmann — the same Bergmann who came into the game with an ERA of ELEVEN and had just returned from a AAA stint.
The Mets can’t waste efforts like this from Pelfrey, because they’re only going to happen once in a while. Although the Mets’ brass is convinced that this is the “real” Pelfrey, I beg to differ — holding a team hitless for six innings is an anomaly, and not what we should expect from Big Pelf. Let’s not forget he was facing a poor-hitting Nationals team. My intention is not to rain on Pelf’s parade — he was outstanding — but rather to point out that he may do this three or four times this season, and struggle to get through five innings in the other twenty or so starts he makes. These are glimpses of what we hope to see from Pelf in the future, not what we should come to expect from him this early in his career.
In the third inning, with two outs and Luis Castillo on first base, David Wright hit a routine popup to right field. Castillo jogged around second, lollygagged to third, while Wright jogged up the first base line watching the fly ball. Rightfielder Austin Kearns dropped the ball, but neither Castillo nor Wright were able to advance. As it turned out, both were stranded as the third out was made. Right then and there, if I’m Willie Randolph, I pull both of my veterans and sit their lazy rears on the bench. The fact that such a move would deplete the bench has no bearing — it’s time Willie takes charge of actions on the field. Had Castillo run hard, he would have scored, and had Wright been running, he would have made it to second. Keith Hernandez and Willie Randolph disagree — both felt Castillo would not have scored, but a) he was rounding third from a jog, so how can you come to that consclusion, and b) that’s not the point. Little things like that win ballgames (or lose them, as in this case), and if Wright and Castillo aren’t going to do the little things, why should anyone else? It’s no wonder this is a .500 team going back to last June.
Kudos to Willie for supporting Jose Reyes’ decision to try to take third base on a sac bunt by Castillo. Reyes was moved to second safely, but when the throw went to first he saw that third was unoccupied and made a run for it. Yes, it was a bad move because he was out, and it was probably an example of a kid making a bad decision and trying to do too much, but I’d rather see somebody fail when hustling and being aggressive, rather than the lazy mistakes made by Castillo and Wright.
I’m not going to the ledge yet, but it’s concerning when you score only 13 runs in four games and lose three of them to one of the worst teams in MLB.
The Mets travel to the Bronx for another Subway Series, beginning on Friday night. Johan Santana faces Darrel Rasner in a 7:05 pm start. Let’s get two of three this weekend, boys.