Mets Game 20: Loss
What an ugly, ugly game.
The Colorado Rockies must have had a pregame prayer, or some kind of “come to Jesus” party, because they suddenly remembered how to hit the baseball. The Rox pummeled Mets pitching for 20 hits and 11 runs — all earned.
Mike Pelfrey was rocked — pardon the pun — pitching three putrid innings. He allowed 6 runs on 8 hits and a walk, throwing 61 pitches in the process, only 38 for strikes.
Long man Aaron Sele played the sacrificial lamb, and didn’t fare much better, allowing another 4 runs on 6 hits in two innings of work.
Ambiorix Burgos tried to apply a tourniquet, and was somewhat successful, though not before allowing another run on three hits.
Pedro Feliciano was able to hold the Rox scoreless on two hits, and Joe Smith closed out the game without incident. Smith kept his perfect 0.00 ERA intact.
Meantime, Josh Fogg managed to look like Tom Seaver against the Mets hitters, who must have been nursing hangovers. Fogg should have been flogged by the most powerful lineup in the NL, but instead cruised through seven innings of scoreless baseball. The Mets were much too aggressive, chasing bad pitches, and allowed a mediocre hurler to beat them. Granted, they would have need to score in double digits, but being shut out by Josh Fogg is unacceptable, regardless of the score.
Pelfrey Not Powerful
What’s becoming increasingly clear with each outing is that Mike Pelfrey is not ready to be a big league starter. The Mets felt the need to force the issue after his stunning spring, but the fact is, spring training doesn’t mean much (just ask Moises Alou and Shawn Green).
Pelfrey’s biggest issue is making the transition from being a power pitcher in college — where 95-MPH fastballers are rare — to a smart sinkerball pitcher in MLB. If he fell behind against NCAA batters, Pelfrey could rear back and fire a fastball toward the middle of the plate and blow it past the hitter. When he does that in the bigs, the batter hits it hard.
Part of Pelfrey’s problem last year was being too fine, picking around the plate and falling behind hitters. This year, he’s throwing too many hittable pitches, getting too much of the plate. He needs to learn to guide that hard sinker along the corners, and he desperately needs to consitently spot the changeup. It’s nice that the slider is coming along, but it is not effective as a “pitch-to-contact” weapon — and ultimately, that is Pelfrey’s game.
With the Mets down 9-zip in the fourth inning, both leadoff batter Jose Reyes and second hitter Endy Chavez swung at the first pitch thrown to them. Carlos Beltran followed in the bad baseball habit by swinging at a 2-0 pitch. The pattern continued with other hitters in the lineup throughout the game. Just what are these Major League batters thinking? It would be a different story if Roy Oswalt were on the mound, but you don’t have to worry about not getting a good pitch to hit with Josh Fogg facing you. Even little leaguers know to take a strike when you’re down by nine.
Shawn Green continues to wield a hot bat. He hit the ball hard every time up except in his last at-bat (he struck out looking), most notably driving a three-run double with two out in the sixth. He now has 8 doubles, the fifth-best total in the NL.
Jose Reyes’ slump lasted all of two games, as he collected four hits, including two doubles.
With a nine-run lead, pitcher Josh Fogg attempted a sac bunt in the fifth. In the 7th, Burgos buzzed him. It was not a purpose pitch, however, because the home plate umpire did not acknowledge it as such by tossing Burgos out of the game.
The Mets finally mounted a rally with two outs in the ninth inning, and might have scored a few more runs had Carlos Beltran been correctly called safe at first base on a fine play by shortstop Troy Tulowitzki. However, you can’t cry over spilt milk when it takes the team 26 outs to get something started.
The Mets have a travel day tomorrow, then open a 3-game weekend series in Washington D.C. against the Nationals. Oliver Perez is scheduled to face Matt Chico in the opener.