Mets Game 59: Loss to Padres
Padres 2 Mets 1
Who knew this would turn out to be a pitchers’ duel?
The unlikely combination of Mike Pelfrey and Josh Banks traded zeroes through six innings, each giving up only one run before exiting the ballgame. Banks was more efficient than Big Pelf, throwing only 71 pitches to Pelf’s 112. However, they both gave up a single earned run before handing off the game to the bullpen.
And the bats remained silent in the battle of the bullpens — and remained silent in the bottom of the ninth.
With lefthanded hitters Brian Giles and Adrian Gonzalez due up for the Friars, Willie Randolph called on lefty specialist Scott Schoeneweis to hold the fort. However, he walked the first two batters he faced, then knocked down a ball back to the box by Gonzalez for the first out, which put runners on second and third. The next batter was intentionally walked, setting up another lefty-lefty matchup for Scho, with Paul McAnulty the batter. Schoeneweis proceeded to hit McAnulty with the first pitch to force home the winning run. Ugh.
Mike Pelfrey still needs an offspeed pitch, particularly one he can throw for a strike. So many times in this game he ran into deep counts with hitters because he couldn’t put anything other than his fastball over the plate. On the few occasions he guided the slider through the strike zone, it was predictably flat and easily smacked. Have to give him credit though, for spotting the sinker well on both sides of the plate. I sincerely hope he figures out how to throw a decent straight change or something (curve? forkball?) similar — if so I have full confidence he’ll be a legit MLB starter.
However, I believe his strong outing had more to do with the ineptness of the Padres’ offense than the effectiveness of Pelfrey. The Friars left 15 runners on base, and won the game thanks to two walks and a hit-by-pitch. Pelf gave up only one run in his six frames, but struggled in nearly every inning. A better hitting team would have done more damage.
Schoeneweis has five walks in his last two outings, spanning less than a full inning. He was missing on very close pitches, but what the heck is he doing walking Scott Hairston to start the inning — after starting him 0-2 no less? Hairston, unlike his brother Jerry, does not take steroids and is no threat to put one over the fence, particularly at Petco. Put the ball over the plate!
Kind of disappointing to see the Mets bats do nothing against Banks. Ryan Church looks lost, and I wonder if his head is still an issue. I hope we see Fernando Tatis playing 1B in Friday night’s contest — it would be nice to see some offensive production and hustle from that corner for a change.
Jose Reyes was the only Met with more than one hit, going 2-for-3. He’s 5-for-7 in his last two games, and now hitting .289 on the year. The Mets had only five hits all game, and one walk — also by Reyes. First-pitch swinging by this team is driving me nuts.
Reyes was also sparkling in the field, making several excellent plays that saved runs.
I like seeing Willie Randolph throw caution to the wind, and ignore his 100-pitch alarm. He’s been pushing his starters to 110+ pitches recently, and I would be happy to see that eventually extended to 120-130 (won’t happen, but I can dream, can’t I?).
Watching the postgame: Mike Pelfrey has a very big face; Scott Schoeneweis could pass for House MD.
Abraham Nunez made his Mets debut, pinch-hitting late in the game. Strange pickup, and even stranger promotion. I suppose it’s good to have him around because he can play shortstop, third base, and second, except, the Mets have no need for a backup at any of those positions. He’s also a switch-hitter, which means little when your career average is .242. He had one excellent year with the Cardinals at age 29, but that’s the age most players are in their prime. I hope he can make a contribution but would much rather see Jose Valentin back with the club.
Johan Santana goes against Randy Wolf in another 10:05 pm EST start on Friday night. Watch it on SNY, listen on WFAN or XM 188.