Mets Game 85: Loss to Astros

Astros 4 Mets 0

Is it safe to say Mike Pelfrey is NOT ready for prime time? Or are the Mets going to continue to force him out to the mound, and crush his confidence with every outing?

Pelfrey pitched six innings, allowing six hits, two walks, one homer, and four earned runs. Not a bad outing — certainly one of his better performances of the year — but not a good outing either, despite what the highly optimistic SNY broadcasters might suggest.

Mike’s got some good stuff, there’s no doubt about it. He has a potentially great sinker, a potentially devastating slider, and a potentially good changeup. Unfortunately, that’s a little too much “potential” and not enough “ready now” for a first-place, championship-bound team.

Think about it: this may have been Pelfrey’s BEST game of the year, and he still allowed four runs in six innings. And he was benefitted by an unusually liberal strike zone. Not exactly lights-out.

MetsToday reader Micalpalyn pointed out that Pelfrey is not unlike Jeremy Bonderman circa 2003 — a very big, raw kid with electric stuff that is nowhere near consistent enough to count on for big league duty. Bonderman, however, sowed his oats on a last-place team that finished 47 games behind the league-leading Twins. The Tigers could afford to trot Bonderman out there every five days and let him learn on the job. The Mets, on the other hand, are in a very tight pennant race that could become tighter in the second half. Every win counts. And while we have seen some very tiny baby steps in each Pelfrey start, it’s apparent that he can’t help — as a starter — this year. He looks good in spurts, yes, but makes enough mistakes to counteract the good. He’s pitching just well enough to lose.

Of course, it didn’t matter whether Pelfrey allowed four runs or one — the Mets could not make sense of future Hall-of-Famer Wandy Rodriguez, who kept them off balance with an array of 87-MPH fastballs, hanging curveballs, and straight changeups.

The Mets mustered only four hits — one each by Jose Valentin, Carlos Beltran, Damion Easley, and Ramon Castro. Beltran’s was the only extra-base hit, a double. They never threatened to score, never getting past second base.


Wandy Rodriguez is simply spectacular, the best lefthanded pitcher I’ve seen since Ron Guidry. I’m guessing this is what Sandy Koufax looked like (I’m too young to have seen Sandy pitch). I can’t believe Wandy isn’t the starting pitcher for the NL All-Star team. Wandy went nine full innings for the four-hit shutout, walking one, striking out eight, and expending only 105 pitches in the process. He could have gone another three innings if necessary.

What’s with Shawn Green’s first-pitch hitting in this game? He’s usually the one guy taking a strike. Very strange.

Jose Reyes chose to play umpire in the 8th inning and not run out a grounder down the third-base line that stayed fair. Besides the embarrassment of third baseman Mike Lamb walking the ball over the first base for the putout, Reyes was pulled from the game by manager Willie Randolph. On the one hand, I’m with Willie on this one — the batter shouldn’t be watching the ball, but putting his head down and running to first. On the other, Willie has allowed this lackadaisacal crap all year from the supposed “veteran leaders” of the club (Julio Franco, Carlos Beltran, etc.) — so why make an example of Reyes, and why now? This was an issue that needed to be nipped in the bud back in May, or early June — most certainly during that losing streak, when nearly everyone on the field was sleepwalking. To make matters worse, Willie was asked point-blank about Franco’s jog down the line in the last game vs. Philly by Joe Benigno on WFAN, and Randoph’s response was something to the effect of, “you can’t expect a 49-year-old guy to bust it down the line”. Huh? Are you kidding me? I don’t care if you’re 29, 49, or 99 — if you’re on a MAJOR LEAGUE roster, you better be physically able to sprint 90 feet. If you can’t, turn in your uniform and go play in a Sunday softball league.

Should be interesting to see how this turns out …

Next Game

Tom Glavine goes against Woody Williams in a game for the geezers. Start time is listed as 7:05 PM EST.

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. JIMMYJ723 July 6, 2007 at 10:19 pm
    I actually though Pelfery had pretty good stuff. He finally decided to rely on his off-speed pitches to get out of jams, instead of trying to blow away major leagues with his fastball. It wasn’t a great outing my any means but I can defintely see the “potential.”

    As for Reyes not running out a groundball… that was dissapointing but he hustles 99% of the time, so i’m not too worried.

    Last but not least, Willie Randolph. He’s a terrible manager and there are more and more signs everyday that he’s beginning to lose his ballclub. Unfortunatley, I don’t think he’s going anywhere for a while.

    P.S. – Phillies up 6-3 and Braves up 3-2 for the moment… How much longer till the All-Star break ?

  2. joe July 6, 2007 at 10:32 pm
    I agree with you that Pelfrey had good stuff. Unfortunately, he’s still insconsistent with his command, throws too many pitches to each batter (esp. for a pitch-to-contact guy), and was helped quite a bit by the generous strike zone.

    As for Willie, I’m getting really tired of hearing, night after night, “you have to give the other pitcher credit, he threw a great ballgame …”

    It’s amazing how every awful pitcher in MLB turns into Koufax when he faces the Mets. Also amazing that the NL ERA is over 4, with all these great pitchers out there.

  3. sincekindergarten July 7, 2007 at 5:13 am
    We’re still up two games, even after Matt pointed out on MetsBlog that we’ve lost five of the last six. Am I a tad concerned? Yep. We’ve got two lefties pitching in that bandbox known as Minute Maid, with its short porch in left.

    Oh–forgot to say this yesterday. Early in Friday Night’s game, Keith Hernandez wondered aloud about the reasoning for the “bunch of pumpkins” in the upper reaches of the stadium . . . then Gary Cohen reminded them that they weren’t pumpkins, but big oranges, in keeping with the corporate sponsor of the park. Keith resoponded by saying something along the lines of, “No, I have not had anything to drink–yet.”

  4. joe July 7, 2007 at 9:42 am
    Somehow I don’t see Keith having much fun in Houston — not his kind of city. But I guess there’s always hanging out at the hotel bar.

    I’m not so much concerned about our lefties going as the fact we got schooled — again — by the little lefty with the girl’s name. I’m thinking “Wandy” is actually short for “Magic Wand”, because I didn’t see anything special about the slop he was throwing.

  5. […] July of last year, Reyes was reprimanded and disciplined for “dogging it” during a game. The way I remember it, it was EXACTLY the same situation as yesterday’s […]