Mets Game 98: Loss to Dodgers
Dodgers 3 Mets 2
An even dozen — the Mets collected their 12th walkoff loss of 2010, losing in extras for the 7th time in 11 tries, and on the short end of a one-run ballgame for the 19th time out of 30 occurrences.
Does losing so many times in tight ballgames indicate anything? Bad luck? Poor management? Subpar fundamentals? Lack of intestinal fortitude? Or do they just plain stink?
Mike Pelfrey walked off the mound allowing “only” two runs, but he walked off after only five frames and 82 pitches. He gave up 6 hits and 2 walks, striking out 2, in his longest outing since June 26.
Jerry Manuel continues to insist that Pelfrey’s problems are due to his inability to establish the fastball and get ahead early. That’s partly true, but it’s mostly unhelpful. Manuel’s explanation is similar to telling you that your shirt is full of red blotches because you have a nosebleed. Thanks, I already know my nose is bleeding — but can you tell me WHY it’s bleeding? Can you tell me how to make it stop? And how to prevent it? As mentioned here before, the reason Pelfrey can’t establish his fastball, and can’t get ahead of hitters — with any of his pitches — is because of an intermittent balance problem during the leg lift that affects his arm angle and release point. You probably noticed that he was still doing that slight hunch over about half the time during the game. If he can go back to staying tall more consistently as he comes out of the leg lift, he’ll regain command, likely regain his confidence, and hopefully get back close to where he was in the first half.
The Mets used 7 pitchers in the 13-inning game, with Oliver Perez the last man standing. Somehow Ollie managed to work out of trouble started by Elmer Dessens in the 11th, and his luck continued when Matt Kemp flied out on a 3-0 pitch to lead off the 13th, but that luck ran out with the next batter James Loney — who hit a walkoff homer.
Just what the heck was Kemp thinking, by the way? There’s nothing wrong with swinging away on a 3-0 count when the situation warrants it, but considering Ollie’s wildness, hacking away there made little sense.
More bad baseball: Jose Reyes going from first to third on a groundout with one out in the top of the third. Had Reyes been thrown out — and he nearly was — it would have been out number three. Not worth the risk, since with two outs it would’ve taken a base hit to score him anyway.
Reyes pulled a Marv Throneberry and lost a ground ball in the sun in the first frame. A few minutes later, it appeared that Ike Davis similarly lost sight of a pickoff throw. The disappearing ball trick resulted in the Dodgers scoring the first run of the game.
Jason Bay had two more hits. Let’s hope these past two games are the beginning of a rampage by Bay.
Rod Barajas left the game with an oblique strain in the sixth inning. Henry Blanco took his place as a pinch-runner on second base with one out and Jose Reyes coming to bat with the score 2-1 Dodgers. Reyes singled to left to score Bay (who was on third) but station-to-station Blanco had to stop at third base. Luis Castillo hit into a DP to end the inning and strand Blanco on 3B. Why did the lead-footed Blanco pinch-run instead of Josh Thole? Hmm … well, Blanco did throw out an attempted base-stealer in the bottom of the sixth, so maybe Jerry Manuel saw that coming. (Blanco threw out another runner in extras, but there wouldn’t have been extras if the Mets score a third run in the 6th.) Maybe Thole — who isn’t exactly a speed demon, though more fleet of foot than Blanco — doesn’t score either, but it did seem to be a curious decision at the time and looks even worse after the fact.