Mets Game 44: Win Over Yankees

Mets 5 Yankees 3

Jerry Manuel remains employed for another night.

The Mets went ahead early, carried on the back of Jason Bay and rolling behind the outstanding pitching of Mike Pelfrey. There was a tense moment in the 8th, but Francisco Rodriguez came on with the bases loaded and ended both the threat and the inning.

Game Notes

Mike Pelfrey was excellent through 6 frames, allowing only 1 run on 6 hits and 2 walks, striking out 5. He threw 108 pitches, and if it were me I might’ve let him pitch a seventh inning. But thanks to modern technology and training habits the kids can’t go that far any more.

Jason Bay was on fire, going 4-for-4 with 3 runs scored. He is now officially on a hot streak, and may carry the team and Jerry Manuel’s employment for another week or so.

Gary Matthews Jr. struck out again in his only at-bat. I was gone a week and his batting average jumped to .180. Someone fill me in — he’s closing the gap between himself and Jose Reyes. Yikes.

Reyes, by the way, was a very quiet 2-for-5. He tried to stretch a single into a double to end the 8th, and was out by 15 feet. I guess it’s been a while since he’s run the bases.

Angel Pagan went 3-for-4 with 2 doubles, 2 RBI, and a run scored. If Carlos Beltran ever returns, Jeff Francoeur may find himself on the bench.

Francoeur, by the way, was 0-for-4 with 2 strikeouts. He’s now hitting .215 with a .274 OBP. But, his presence in RF did keep the Yankees from trying to score at least twice during the game. Still, he’s going to have to get that bat going to stay in the lineup.

Did I miss something while I was away, or is Chris Carter still on the roster? It was strange not to see him make an appearance in this game at some point. Jerry Manuel opted for Alex Cora in a big pinch-hitting situation in the 6th, and Cora rapped a key, two-out, RBI single, but it seemed like a place for The Animal. I guess that’s why Manuel is so smart.

K-Rod recorded a five-out save, coming into the game with the Mets up by 3 and the bases loaded in the 8th. If that doesn’t smell of desperation from Jerry Manuel then I don’t know what does. Yes, I understand that the Mets didn’t have any other relievers to rely on in that situation but, um, that might have something to do with the Game Seven management of the ‘pen from Opening Day through now.

Next Mets Game

The final game of the “Subway Series” will begin at 8:05 PM on Sunday night, televised by ESPN. It will be a matchup of the aces, as Johan Santana faces C.C. Sabathia.

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. Danny May 23, 2010 at 10:30 am
    I would like to take issue with your characterization of using K-rod the way Manuel did as an "act of desperation". On the contrary. The guy is the Met's premier reliever, is paying paid a zillion dollars, and mostly wastes away in the bullpen waiting for the "classic" save opportunity. I wonder how many second guesses Manuel would have gotten if he had used someone else in the 8th, "saving" K-Rod for the classic 3-out save, and the Mets had gotten beat. This is a classic case of "damned if you do and damned if you don't". Manuel made the right move.
  2. djsnaps1987 May 23, 2010 at 1:13 pm
    jerry was desperate for a win, so he made the right move. hopefully he stays desperate because i like to see him do the right thing for a change.
  3. isuzudude May 23, 2010 at 1:44 pm
    Jerry has no one to blame but himself for the bullpen being completely untrustworthy as of late. Do we think it's a coincidence that Pedro Feliciano and Fernando Nieve ARE TIED FOR THE MOST APPEARANCES IN MLB and have suddenly started slumping on the mound, as if fatigued from overuse? Like we predicted in April when Jerry constantly summoned Perpetual and Nightly into every game, the tandem was going to break down due to receiving too much work – and now we are seeing the consequences to those actions. Things are only bound to get worse, as the rotation behind Johan/Pelfrey has gone to heII, Ollie is a complete waste of time, and KRod is bound to break down as well with all of the 3+ out saves he's going to be asked to record. I just hope the fans are wise enough at this point not to blame the team's struggles on the bullpen (like in 2008) but instead on the manager's usage of the bullpen, as that has been the true culprit behind why late inning leads are going to continue evaporating in the foreseeable future.

    Though, Omar should not escape harsh criticism, either. We all knew in December that a rotation with a back end of Maine-Ollie-Niese was more fragile than a house of toothpicks, yet he did very little to provide adequate depth in case those 3 went down. Now all 3 are out of the rotation at the same time, and though Dickey and Takahashi performed well in their first starts, chances are they will falter at some point. And behind them are group of underwhelming candidates who likely won't perform much better (Pat Misch, Bobby Livingston, Dillon Gee, Tobi Stoner). Right about now it sure seems like it would have been a good idea to have added one of those "innings-eaters" that were available this offseason, like Jon Garland, or retained the services of Nelson Figueroa. But, now with this weak rotation, the bullpen will be forced to pick up an even heavier load. Thank goodness Omar signed Kelvim Escobar to be the workhorse he's so successfully been out of the bullpen. Oh, wait. And why is Jenry Mejia still in the bullpen and not in the minors being groomed as the next Dwight Gooden, as he has been hyped up to be ad nauseam? What did Manny Acosta do to deserve getting demoted instead?

  4. mets May 23, 2010 at 1:45 pm
    I think it was a very smart move by Jerry. What would be the point in not pitching him in that spot? It wasn't like he pitched him 3 innings or anything.
  5. James Moché May 23, 2010 at 1:50 pm
    The lot of the Met fan is to suffer. With three horrific starters, we can fully experience that lot, now. And it's better than collapsing on or about September 21.
  6. Mark May 23, 2010 at 1:55 pm
    Welcome back. Your analysis, as always, is spot on. Yes, I agree that using K-Rod for a five-out save smelled of desperation. Yet, it was the right thing to do, given the state of the Mets bullpen (in particular, Jerrys overuse of Pedro and Nieve is starting to pay dividends). Thankfully, Igarashi will be activated today so they will have another dependable arm in the pen (and Acosta will go back to AAA where he belongs). What worries me, though, is that, based on last night's outing, they won't be sending Jenry down to be stretched out any time soon. Good think that they don't need a starter or two (or three) on the major league level.

    I am in the distinct minority who likes Cora (though I grant you that he's overpaid). That said, I couldn't figure out why Jerry didn't use Carter in that situation – he's a better hitter, and it was a pinch hitting opportunity with little expectation that the player would subsequently be inserted into the game on a double switch (for Cora to do so, both he and Reyes would have had to get on base before Castillo's AB, being that there were two outs). Plus, in light of Castillo's injury, I probably would have expected Jerry to hold Cora on the bench. The thinking was puzzling, but it worked out.

    Let's dwell on at least one positive: Pelfrey was, once again, fantastic. The Mets needed a strong outing and he stepped up. The guy has really matured. He seems to be figuring out how to pitch. You can see it too – in tough situations, he hunkers down and figures out a way to work his way through the jam. The Yankees managed one run off of him on a failed kick save. I am really impressed with the kid.

    And, I too wish someone could explain GMJ's presence on the roster. The guy isn't hitting (to say that his average was raised to .180 after a hot streak says it all) and he's not that great defensively. Perhaps its time to take a chance on someone from AAA – perhaps Feliciano, in light of Pirdie's injury. And I really would like to see them bring back Parnell. They need another hard thrower out of the pen (and send Jenry down to be stretched out). And if they don't do the latter, then at least send down Dessens. They need more dependable arms. At the rate Jerry's going, Nieve (and possibly Pedro) are going to be useless by the all star break. Perhaps Jerry's been reading Joe Torre's book on how to manage a bullpen …

  7. MikeTomaselli May 23, 2010 at 2:52 pm
    I couldn't believe Cora was not double switched with Castillo after Luis made the final out of the inning. If he uses his backup 2B-man when his starter is gimped and he has the chance to double switch him you have to do that… right?

    Ugh but what do I know…

  8. gary s. May 23, 2010 at 3:48 pm
    dude, u are right on.hard to figure when this team will be more than a .500 squad..the owners stink, the gm and the manager are clueless, we have 2 starters and the bullpen is fried by memorial the ballpark is WAY TOO BIG!!II've been saying this for 2 the beat writers and radio guys are saying the same thing.bring in the fences!! they've just about finished off their best player (wright) and what a coincidence, jason bay can't home runs anymore.does anyone think that if they played in a park like philly has, that bay would have one home run and wright would be having such difficulties? btw, i sat in section 531, row 7 for friday's game.u are completely obstructed from seeing the outfield from the foul line to centerfield.HOW CAN U BUILD A NEW BALLPARK FOR 850 MILL WITH 100'S OF OBSTRUCTED SEATS?thanks fred and jeff.
  9. wohjr May 23, 2010 at 4:53 pm
    The trade DWright bandwagon picks up another member!
  10. metstoday May 24, 2010 at 12:07 am
    Using K-Rod for a five-out save is the right move if the Mets don't have another save situation on Sunday night.

    Mike Scioscia NEVER used K-Rod for more than a 3-out save during his record-setting 2008 season, and he rarely had him go more than 3 outs in '07 and '06. Why? Because Scioscia managed his bullpen for a full season, not from game to game, and he had concerns about keeping K-Rod's arm healthy and his performance effective.

    Though, with Monday as an off day, I suppose it wouldn't be the worst thing in the world for K-Rod to pitch for five outs and then pitch again on Sunday. And it appears the Mets won't have many save opps this year anyhow.