Mets Game 5: Loss to Phillies

Phillies 10 Mets 7

For a moment there, it appeared as though the Mets would come back again to take a ballgame. Then it all fizzled out.

Game Notes

Mike Pelfrey was awful, again, allowing 7 runs (6 earned) on 8 hits and a walk in 2 innings pitched. Similarly to Game One, Big Pelf was not getting any sink on his fastball, but this time it wasn’t always because of an inability to stay on top of the ball. In this game, he was doing a better job of staying upright at the balance point and in turn staying on a straight line toward the plate — for the most part. Here’s what happened, though: perhaps because staying upright is “new” to him again, his release point was a few inches too high. When the release point is too high, it’s almost impossible to get any sink, because you can’t get the necessary finger pressure on top of the ball when you release too early. This type of adjustment is incredibly minuscule — we’re talking an inch or two at most; maybe even less than an inch. From what I saw, Pelfrey stayed upright around 40-50% of the time, but because he hasn’t done that in almost a year, it was foreign to him and that’s why we saw the slightly high release. Otherwise, he was still hunching over slightly the majority of the time, and in turn dropping his arm angle slightly, which results in flat pitches (i.e., no sink).

So while Pelfrey confidence may be an issue (as Bobby Ojeda suggests), that is a result or symptom of his actual problem — which still, I maintain, is mechanical in nature.

Believe it or not, I think that Pelfrey took a step forward in this game, despite getting rocked. Though, that’s only if he’s aware of his “hunching over” issue and making steps to fix it. If it is just blind luck that he happened to be staying more upright at times in his brief outing, then I take back that suggestion.

Interestingly, it seems like Mike stays upright at the leg lift when he throws his curveball — and did so on the deuce that Ryan Howard blasted into the centerfield stands. I wonder if the hitters are picking up on that detail, and therefore know the curve is coming when he keeps himself more upright? That would qualify as “tipping” his pitches.

This Pelfrey issue is driving me crazy; when is Dan Warthen — or Scott Boras — going to email or call me for a consult? I can fix Big Pelf in 10 minutes, no jacket required.

On the bright side, Taylor Buchholz threw two scoreless innings, striking out five and allowing three hits. His 12-6 curveball is devastating, but his fastball is pretty flat and high in the zone.

Pedro Beato
was also effective, spinning one perfect, 9-pitch (7 strikes) inning.

Offensively, Angel Pagan had two hits including a double, homer, two RBI, and two runs scored. Brad Emaus, Jose Reyes, and Ike Davis all had two hits each as well. Davis drove in two runs, and has driven in a run in every game this year — at this rate he’ll break Hack Wilson’s record for RBI in a season.

Interestingly, although Emaus drew a walk in addition to the two hits, he saw only 9 pitches in his 4 plate appearances. In comparison, Jose Reyes saw 15 pitches in 5 plate appearances. And yes, Jose has yet to draw a walk this season — though he did steal his second base of the season. That extension is looking less and less possible with each passing day.

Josh Thole finally faced a lefthanded pitcher — Antonio Bastardo — and struck out.

Francisco Rodriguez
managed to gain his first “game finished” of the year, as he pitched the bottom half of the eighth. What a waste of a “finish”, no? K-Rod now needs to finish 54 games in the final 157 games of the year.

Next Mets Game

The Mets and Phillies engage in the rubber match at 3:05 PM on Thursday afternoon in Philadelphia. Jonathon Niese goes to the mound against Roy Halladay. The Mets are undefeated in rubber games this year, so they have that going for them.

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 6, 2011 at 11:52 pm
    If boras is worth half what he’s supposed to be… he’ll have a google alert on pelf that will tip him off to this post. My guess is he doesn’t.
  2. Brent Kemnitz April 7, 2011 at 7:29 am
    I will fix Mike Pelfrey, again – and this year, everyone in the NY media will be familiar with my name.

    (Just wait until the CWS is over….so I can focus my efforts, 100%.)

  3. Mic April 7, 2011 at 8:12 am
    Could Beato advance into the 5th starter slot?
  4. Walnutz15 April 7, 2011 at 8:56 am
    – Aside from anything mechanic-related, Pelfrey has shown – once again, that he will fall victim to being flat-out “weak-minded” on the field.

    That bunt pop-up was one of the worst-botched plays that I can ever recall – from start to finish. He doesn’t think quickly on the fly, and is even worse in attempting to implement these adjustments.

    Not only did he make it harder on himself by letting the ball drop – deciding to throw to 1st base anyway (?!!?!) – but he got flustered to the point where he slung the ball into RF.

    Just plain unacceptable, especially when he had the runner at 2nd base by a good 45 feet.

    And, of course – he only made matters worse after this all went down. Definition of “shook”.

    – Blaine Boyer reminds me of the Met-version of Tim Redding, with the same kind of beard/gut combo – and a bit more velocity. This is not a good thing.

    – I have nothing to complain about with the Mets through the first 5 games – aside from Pelfrey’s typical crap. It’s essentially a newer (more likeable) crop of players to root for – which we’ve been asking for for the past 3 years. Shed the dead weight, and for the most part, everyone’s happy. Just like many of us wanted.

    (The atmosphere and look of the team is completely different — and in a positive way.)

    – I hate K-Rod just as much as anyone, but c’mon —- does anyone think he’s just NOT going to get his work in this year? The number of people going ape(spit) over Collins inserting him into the game last night for a “finish” is a bit crazy.

    You don’t just shelve a guy to start a season…..the real juggling will begin post-Memorial Day. That’s when they’ll really have to start making the decisions on when he can/can’t enter into a game.

    Right now, he needs work….and it shows in every 2-0, 3-1 count he starts off with.

  5. gary s. April 7, 2011 at 9:36 am
    Pelf is a poodle..more dog in him than fight.Your so called “ACE” has to win games he gets 7 runs in.Curious to see how our hitters do against halladay today.
    • Joe April 7, 2011 at 9:52 am
      He wasn’t in the game any more. Your beef there should be with Boyer for quickly blowing the tie.
  6. Joe April 7, 2011 at 9:51 am
    “Pedro Beato was also effective, spinning one perfect, 9-pitch (7 strikes) inning. ” I guess this is a step up from being “okay.” When he is “good,” it will be noteworthy.

    This game was an example of a recent post on key moments. Like “check swing double” or “not managing to get the pitcher out,” that helped lose the game.

    The two runs they got after the Mets tied it was annoying enough, but the check swing double aided two runs was really annoying. Not getting another run also helped kinda ruin them tying the game. Silly or not, a run is not a run for me. A clean hit or a 11-9 loss would have been better. Anyway, I guess we will see how Pelfrey does at home.

  7. Walnutz15 April 7, 2011 at 10:09 am
    P.S. —

    According to David Waldstein of the New York Times, “After he was done pitching, Blaine Boyer went into the clubhouse and, in an act born more of pragmatism than anger, shaved off his beard, leaving just a small goatee.”

    Oh great — Guess he’ll remind me even more of Redding now.



    I want to like Blaine Boyer – but this will keep me from doing so, since I loathe Tim Redding.

  8. Walnutz15 April 7, 2011 at 11:24 am
    Moment of silence for Lasting Milledge’s career, please:


    DFA’d by the ChiSox. Guess it’s just another minor blip on his road to Cooperstown. Whattachump.

  9. xDanTanna April 7, 2011 at 7:15 pm
    This one was an easier loss to take than last night (at least for me). As we were never really in this one & it was Doc Halladay. Where as last night the 7 run rally to tie it kinda had you pumped up beyond belief.

    This was not exactly the performance I was expecting from Niese today & Joe you hit the nail last night w/ the cutter. We saw him get away from his curve once again today and rely to much on that cutter. Niese is going to have to show more confidence in his best pitch. Because they can’t hit it for the most part.

    Lets see if the team can bounce back over the weekend vs. the Nats. You have to expect 2 of 3 there I would think.

  10. Rob April 7, 2011 at 7:17 pm
    The big inning for the Phillies was that danged “check swing double’ , followed by that danged blooper that got under Beltran’s glove, followed by that batted ball off Boyer’s glove (or face…or whatever the heck else it hit). That’s called luck…good luck or bad, depending on who’s side you rooted for. I don’t view the Mets as having lost this game…it was just bad luck.

    Of course, they go and get trounced today 11-0, so go figure…luck had nothing to do with today’s result.