Mets Game 80: Loss to Phillies
At least we took three out of four.
Mike Pelfrey pitched, eh, okay. He did manage to keep the Mets in the game, and allowed “only” three runs in five innings of work, but got away with a number of mistakes. He looked really good in the first two innings, showing good location with his sinker and slider and occasionally humming a high fastball north of 95 MPH. However, he seemed to lose his location completely in the third, and as a fan it was like walking on eggshells, hoping that Pelfrey would somehow find a way to get through each inning. Indeed, every batter was a struggle, as he went to full count against nearly everyone from that point on. Still, he did leave the game down only 3-2.
Pelfrey got no help from home plate umpire, whose strike zone was the size of a tin cup (as Ron Darling quipped) — though it expanded remarkably in the bottom of the ninth with nervous rookie Mike Zagurski facing Jose Valentin and Shawn Green.
Guillermo Mota pitched a scoreless sixth, and Aaron Heilman retired the first two batters he faced in the seventh, sporting a diving change-up. But it was all a ruse, as Shane Victorino pulled a change-up to the most shallow part of the stadium, bouncing a fly off the rightfield foul pole. Chase Utley followed with a hard grounder down the first base line that rolled all the way to the wall and Shawn Green negotiated into a triple. Where in god’s name was Carlos Delgado playing? No one’s quite sure. Usually, in the late innings of a tight ballgame, a first baseman will play close to the line to protect against grounders that could become extra-base hits. Utley’s ball wasn’t that close to the line — about six feet to the left — but Delgado was not even in the TV picture. I imagine he was trying out his new iPhone, snapping a picture of Utley’s sweet swing. And why it took Shawn Green ten minutes to pick up the ball in the corner is another mystery — perhaps he was waiting for it to stop breathing.
Though his range was non-existent and worthless in this game, Delgado’s bat was effective. He blasted another line-drive homer into the rightfield stands, and poked a double down the leftfield line. That was the extent of the excitement on the offensive side, save for a two-out, pinch-hit RBI single on an 0-2 count by Ruben Gotay in the top of the ninth.
One issue that got me steamed — absolutely terrible at-bats in the top of the seventh by the Mets. Down 3-2, Shawn Green led off and was looking to jerk a first-pitch fastball into the seats. That’s fine, he got a good cut, it turned out being a foul line drive. However, he was still looking to go a yard, instead of looking to get on base, on the second pitch, and popped up the ball Dave Kingman style to first base. Carlos Gomez follows with a bunt attempt — good idea — but failed and then swung at a terrible pitch in the dirt and popped up meekly. Then Ricky Ledee comes up to pinch-hit, J.C. Romero is brought in for the lefty-lefty matchup, and Willie Randolph calls Ledee back and replaces him with Damion Easley. So, with no one on base, down by one, Easley sitting on the bench all day, and Romero coming in from the bullpen, and a stiff wind blowing in, what does Damion do? Swing at the first pitch, of course — a crapola ball off outside corner that Easley pulls to shortstop for an easy groundout. But it’s OK for the “veteran” to do that, because he hits a homerun once every blue moon. Genius.
The ball looks really freaky in the six-fingered hand of Antonio Alfonseca. Question: how does he squeeze all those fingers into a standard glove?
The Mets travel to Colorado for a three-game series with the Rockies. Tom Glavine goes to the mound against Jason Hirsh in a 9:05 PM EST start.