Mets Game 9: Win Over Rockies

Mets 5 Rockies 0

Mike Pelfrey stepped up to be the stopper, taking the bull by the horns in the Rocky Mountains to shut out Colorado through seven strong innings.

Game Notes

Pelfrey allowed only 5 hits and walked none in 7 innings, striking out 6. He was the first Met in 2010 to pitch beyond the sixth frame. He pitched the way we expect him to pitch at least 20 times a year — like a true #2 or strong #3 starter, hitting spots on either side of the plate and changing speeds just enough to keep batters off balance. In this game he kept his focus from pitch one through 106, which of course is key to his success. If he can keep doing this, Mets fans can truly have faith that it will be worth tuning in to SNY come August and September.

David Wright walked 3 more times and saw 30 pitches on the night, which is crazy. He has a .286 AVG but a .512 OBP. He’s on pace to walk 234 times this year.

Jeff Francoeur remains red-hot; he had another two hits and is hitting .438 on the season. Would Jerry Manuel really be silly enough to drop Reyes to third, which in turn would bury Francoeur at #6 or lower? Not that I expect Frenchy to continue at this pace for very long, but while he’s rolling, doesn’t it make sense to get him as many at-bats as possible?

Next Mets Game

The Mets travel to St. Louis for a three-game weekend series with the Cardinals. Friday night’s opener pits Oliver Perez vs. Chris Carpenter, with a game time of 8:15 PM EST. Both pitchers have 0-1 records thus far, but the similarities end there.

Joe Janish began MetsToday in 2005 to provide the unique perspective of a high-level player and coach -- he earned NCAA D-1 All-American honors as a catcher and coached several players who went on to play pro ball. As a result his posts often include mechanical evaluations, scout-like analysis, and opinions that go beyond the numbers. Follow Joe's baseball tips on Twitter at @onbaseball and at the On Baseball Google Plus page.
  1. wohjr April 15, 2010 at 7:41 pm
    Nice win today for the metsies, good job big pelf.

    That said, I will repeat what I have pointed out here before. DWright is a bum. The one-handed pop up catches drive me absolutely crazy… especially after having seen what can happen at the Louie Castillo game in Yankee Stadium last year (I was there)… there is just no excuse. Watch how Jeter catches. We are waiting and waiting for DWright to step into this leadership role or vacuum or whatever and it never happens. I thought he supposedly did all this work on his defense this winter… hah! His skills are the most easily replicated as compared to reyes and beltran– we can find someone else to hit .290 w/15-18 HR and middling defense. Use the NY media insanity to our advantage for once and trade DW for PITCHING prospects because he is OVERRATED

  2. Paul April 15, 2010 at 8:57 pm
    wow, wohjr. that’s ridiculous. i’m sure you would’ve had rickey henderson traded for pitching prospects in his prime as well since he didn’t always use 2 hands and only averaged .280 and 16HR over his career…

    but what am I saying – we should get the st. louis media to get everyone to freak out about pujols’ lack of defensive fundamentals:
    http://pictopia.com/perl/get_image?provider_id=314&size=550x550_mb&ptp_photo_id=381718

    maybe their fans will ask to have him traded to us for a couple of young “pitchers”

  3. Mike April 15, 2010 at 11:24 pm
    Anyone who thinks the Mets should trade Wright is completely jaded by the team performance and under-appreciates him. It’s not that I think he is amazing and can’t do anything wrong, it’s that (again) fans are placing their venom in the wrong places. Instead of demanding our already great players to be better, why not demand the guys who stink be better, or better yet not here at all. I’d rather sink my venom into Tatis for being awful than telling David Wright he needs to be better than just an all-star. Do you people even listen to yourselves when you spew this crap?

    I didn’t see today’s game because I have a job and I can’t listen to baseball there, but that Pelfrey had a better start than his first is very encouraging. No walks, mixing his pitches and even contributing with an RBI and a run scored. He can do it all suddenly! He needs to step forward big time this year and become a true number 2 which means 15 wins. That and several other things need to happen for this team to have a chance, but we must give credit where it is due and Pelf is certainly living up to his role so far.

    I shudder to think of Ollie vs the Cardinals. Lets hope the good Ollie shows up for the first time in over a year.

  4. gary s. April 16, 2010 at 12:01 am
    before u knock d wright, watch pop flies by utley and jeter that land in the seats every nite in philly and yankee stadium and ask why the mets screwed up their best hitter by building citicavern.if wright played in philly or yankee stadium he would hit 40 homers every year.once again, thank u freddie and jeffie.i hope wright signs with another team when his contract is up and gets a ring.he’ll never get one with this team.by the way did u ever stop to think that philly has howard/utley, the yanks have texiera/cano and we have tatis/jacobs & castillo/cora at first and second base.what a joke!!!
  5. isuzudude April 16, 2010 at 7:03 am
    David Wright has never hit lower than .302 in a season since 2005, and was averaging 30 homers a season before the world came crashing down around him last year. He also won 2 gold gloves prior to 2009. Now all of a sudden he’s a .290 hitter with 15-18 HR power and middling defense? I’m all for constructive criticism and the fair exchange of ideas, but if you’re going to bash someone at least use the correct statistics and honest analysis. If you want a guy traded simply because he makes one handed catches, you’re going to find that you’d turn your roster over pretty quickly with all the moves you’d be making. Dumb dumb dumb.

    Wright has actually been one of the few bright spots so far this season. He’s already 1/3 of the way to last year’s HR total, and we’re not even 2 weeks into 2010.

    Mike Pelfrey has also been pleasantly surprising; albeit in just 2 starts so my jubilation is tempered. I love that new split fingered fastball. Oh, but how quick the prince will turn into the frog tonight once Oliver takes the mound. 7 walks in 4 innings pitched? Sound about right?

  6. Walnutz15 April 16, 2010 at 9:08 am
    Nice to see Pelfrey working well with Blanco yesterday — obviously, we’re seeing the importance of the battery pairing for Pelfrey. Granted, it’s easy to give your backstop a lot of credit after a successful performance….but I think it’s pretty obvious by now that Pelfrey needs a catcher who’s going to freely communicate with him, and one that knows the hitters he’s facing.

    ….And Blanco’s certainly been around the block.

    Nice to see them take one from De La Rosa. Though, they didn’t exactly look smooth in doing so.

    That circus-like inning with Reyes and Castillo being caught on the base-paths was plain and simply put: bush.

    Kudos to Wright, in that it takes a whole lotta self-restraint not to show how vexed you might become — when downright stupid base-running mistakes are made when you’re standing at the plate.

    Granted: missed signs happen from time to time — but when you, yourself, run yourself into trouble (e.g. – Tatis at the plate last week, the scary display they put on during that inning yesterday) — it’s time to smarten up.

    It amazes me to see how many mental mistakes we’ve seen on the basepaths already from the Mets.

    Hopefully, we see less of it as the months play out. That whole inning was like watching little league kids in their 1st experiences with “leading” and “stealing”.

    Glad they were able to overcome that inning.

    If the Mets are somehow able to take this series from the Cards, then they’d have exceeded my expectation-level from this trip.

    I would hope to come away with a game this weekend, even though it may seem like a “defeatist” mentality. All eyes on John Maine Sunday…..a good showing would have me kicking Dan Warthen straight on out the door.

    I don’t expect it, but would find it amusing.

  7. Nick April 16, 2010 at 1:00 pm
    Well, forgive me for going out on a limb but… Why all the hate for Castillo? Sure, he was over the hill by the time we got him. He can’t run like he used to and his defense is nowhere near what it was. But.. Last year, as promised, he turned it around, batted .300, stole some bases and scored some runs like he’s advertised. This year looks to be more of that though he’s not exactly off to a scorching start. I can’t watch games cuz I work, but when I look at the Stats, Castillo is 2-4 with a couple of runs scored. Didn’t last year buy him any goodwill? (not including that “devastating” drop)
    Think of the headache we would have had in trading him (the rumor mill already said that the focus of trading Castillo prevented the Mets from courting other pieces), and then what? We would’ve ate a bunch of money and got stuck with an equally not so great Orlando Hudson.

    BTW, did anyone catch the broadcast on the Pelf game when he threw a strike and Gary Cohen said “Oh what a nice splitter”, Keith immedietaely, “yeah that’s a nice sinker”, and right after he continues, “that’s as good as a fastball as he’ll throw”. LoL
    I know many pitches resemble each other, and hence the term “breaking ball” for what could be a curve, changeup etc… But that just sounded silly…

  8. Walnutz15 April 16, 2010 at 1:35 pm
    I can’t speak for anyone else, but personally – Castillo’s a guy I never wanted here to begin with; especially on a 4-year extension.

    Last year’s “bounce-back” was nice and all, but the bottom line here is: the 2009 Mets finished in 4th place….dropping 90 ballgames.

    Castillo couldn’t have done it more anonymously than he did last season; and still had major mess-ups along the way. On top of it, he exemplifies this organization’s philosophy of trying to draw blood from a stone…..”justifying” contracts.

    They could have easily picked up 5, 6, 7 cheaper 2nd baseman over the past handful of off-seasons….yet, Castillo’s still here – with his gimpy calf and knees, providing sub-par range, and punchless stick at 2nd base.

    To re-iterate, I’ve never been a fan of his. Even less as he moves further and further away from the “former gold glove” moniker…and with gaffes on the base-paths perpetually out of the 2-hole.

    However, none of this constitutes “news” in Met-land. It’s been this way for the past 2 and a half seasons.

  9. Paul April 16, 2010 at 2:18 pm
    Walnuts: care to tell us which of these 5, 6, 7 free agent 2Bs that we could have had performed better than Castillo last season? Very very few men can be as resilient as Castillo was last year, especially in New York. He didn’t pull up lame like Robbie Alomar, or fold under pressure like Kaz. He kept showing up and did his job, getting on base. His defense at second is only bad in terms of range -> but by the same measurement, we would be criticizing Jeter’s defense as well. But for some reason some of us here believe he is the model of defensive technique…

    Nick – a sinker is actually a type of fastball. there are the broad pitch categories: fastballs, breaking balls, off-speed. and then there are the specific pitches: for fastballs, there are the 4-seam and 2-seam (aka sinker). breaking balls = curveballs, sliders, screwballs (screwball might count as off-speed, too i suppose). Off-speed = change-ups, split-fingers, etc.

    I love Gary, Kieth, and Ron, as well as Howie on the radio. Definitely among the best in the business. We should never take them for granted.

  10. Paul April 16, 2010 at 2:24 pm
    just looked up wikipedia (not sure how credible that is), but they categorize the splitter as a fastball… i feel like ron darling himself would tell you it is an off-speed pitch. and they distinguish the sinker from the 2-seamer, though i’m pretty sure they’re thrown the same – some just sink and others don’t as much.

    i think it’s funny that there’s an “other” category, including pitches like the shuuto. we should totally cross-fertilize pitches… that would be awesome.

  11. Walnutz15 April 16, 2010 at 2:31 pm
    I just typed an absolute manifesto, and the board didn’t accept the comment.

    Joe, does this board have something that rejects comments coming through at the same time as someone else?

  12. Walnutz15 April 16, 2010 at 2:43 pm
    Paul: this has very little to do with 2009, as it speaks to an overall condition — that sees the Mets rewarding mediocrity like Castillo with 4-year extensions (similarly w/Oliver Perez).

    Like Perez’s situation last winter, there have been other 2nd baseman on the open market since the Mets decided to make Gimpy their long-term 2nd sacker.

    I can’t speak for many others, but like me – I know that Joe didn’t mind seeing someone like Ruben Gotay flourish within the lineup in 2007, as a positive influence as a young player.

    The Mets, however, seem to be so scared that a kid like that will make a mistake – late in a game – that they could never take that risk.

    Instead, they bring in a gimpier, more-hobbled, less athletic player because he’s “proven”…to make the same kind of miscue they feared with a younger and more athletic option. (Cue: Castillo’s dropped pop-up last summer; and really – I’m not impressed with his range at all. It gets worse by the year.)

    This isn’t to say Gotay would’ve been the next coming, but he seemed to be fitting in at 2nd base – and I personally would have lived through the growing pains with him……similar to what the Mets are, inexplicably doing with Mike Jacobs now…..hitting clean-up to start the season? C’mon.

    They have a very interesting way of conducting their business, especially in the guys they do choose to give a shot. I’m convinced that they could’ve filled 2nd base with a cheaper, just as productive option — dating as far back as the days of Jeff Keppinger.

    He didn’t get a real shot, either.

    Others I would’ve explored over the last few winters?

    - Mark Loretta
    - Mark Grudzielanek
    - Orlando Hudson, either of the 2 times he hit the market….citing a desire to play here.
    - Kelly Johnson — even before his white-hot start to this season; I liked him as a solid switch-hitting 2nd baseman.

    Many of these guys could have been had on 1-year commitments….however, because of Castillo – we couldn’t pursue any of them….and in the cases of Keppinger and Gotay – they were phased out in preference of older veteran players.

    Castillo is living off his reputation. He’s no longer a “gold-glove caliber” 2nd baseman, and hasn’t been for years — in fact, yesterday’s boxscore should have had 4 Rockie hits.

    Castillo for some reason, found it prudent to field Tulowitzki’s grounder up the middle on the back-hand…..in lieu of letting Reyes come through it with his momentum going toward 1st.

    It’s just strange to me, how much stock was placed in Castillo…as he’s been nothing but gimpy and punchless since he’s come over.

    Seeing him in the 2-slot, without fail – is another thing that infuriates me.

    That’s been the Met way, until it changes. “Justification” of veteran contracts.

  13. Paul April 16, 2010 at 3:01 pm
    Yes, in terms of the extension decisions/contracts, I completely agree in that we didn’t need to extend Luis for 3 years. The last good value extensions the Mets really got done were the ones for Wright and Reyes (though those were no-brainer slam dunks).

    Gotay, is an interesting example, but to be fair I also think the Mets gave home grown guys like Anderson Hernandez a decent chance.

    But all I can say about your list is that none of those guys are really outperforming (or even playing more) than Castillo right now. Hudson is the only one who we really should’ve focused on more, but I’m not going to lose too much sleep on that… he’s not exactly Chase Utley or Dustin Pedroia

  14. Walnutz15 April 16, 2010 at 3:06 pm
    * On edit: I had a brain-fart w/regard to Johnson….he’s not a switch hitter.

    In summation – I’m just not a huge fan of:

    - largely replaceable players
    - who are constantly banged-up
    - with dwindling range
    - who get gunned-down trying to stretch base-hits down 8 runs.
    - and suffer from mental lapses at various points in the game, whether in the field of at the plate.

    To me, the Mets “jumped the shark” the second they acquired Castillo. The funk has stuck with them for the last few seasons….citing that guys aren’t out-performing him right now doesn’t mean much to me — when we could’ve had other options at the spot over the past few years to begin with.

    He was the organization’s choice, however.

    So were guys like Schoeneweis, Perez, et al….no one I’d ever enter into long-term agreements with either. I view Castillo as “that” type of player, who’s always going to get it worse from the fanbase.

    …..to touch on your post above — with his hot-start, Kelly Johnson right now has more HR’s than Castillo will have the entire 2010 season. We can book that right now.

  15. Mike April 16, 2010 at 3:13 pm
    Ahh Louie Castillo. The gift that keeps on giving. He always provides a topic for debate among Mets fans and distracts the front office from more important things while trying to trade him. I don’t hate his bat, I just hate it in the two hole. He is useless there on this team. If they expect to have rallies they need guys at the front of the order to not just get on base but drive the ball. I already voted for him to bat leadoff. The man gets on base and works a count. To me he is ideal in that role. His defense is bad but he is not sloppy and he does not make things worse with his defense (unless you count not getting to a ball resulting in hits, but I was referring to him not throwing the ball away etc). Yes his contract is ridiculous and a mistake, but again, why focus your venom on a guy who is still one of the better contributors on the team while guys like Tatis and Cora get a free pass? Stick Castillo on a good team with real WS potential and they will still be contenders. He isn’t the reason this team has failed the past 3 years.
  16. Paul April 16, 2010 at 5:28 pm
    “Stick Castillo on a good team with real WS potential and they will still be contenders.”

    Solid point. Well said Mike.

    Oh how I long for the days when we were able to point all our venom at A-Rod and J-Roll instead of our own…

  17. Nick April 18, 2010 at 1:58 am
    Paul – Yeah I guessed that it was a variation of the same pitch, it just sounded funny when they said it one after the other like that.. Casual fans might find it amusing = P

    I understand the other side of the Castillo debate. There was no reason to give the guy the contract they gave him given that he was coming in as an over the hill player. But why in the world do you waste your time in the offseason, and in season, dumping this guy and eating his salary, for orlando hudson who (I love the hustle), but really isn’t that good. Plus, do you want to have his mouth on this team after he thinks Dye not getting work is because 32 ball clubs that all have black players, are suddenly racist for this one guy? I’m glad we have Castillo and not race-complex Hudson. There I saids it, and i won’t take it back!