Mets Game 20: Win Over Diamondbacks

Mets 4 Diamondbacks 1

The Mets won two games in a row for the first time since April 3, improving their record to 7-13 behind the fine pitching of Mike Pelfrey.

Mets Game Notes

After Mike Pelfrey allowed a leadoff triple and and a walk to begin the game, I thought, “oh, here we go again”. But Big Pelf kept his cool and found a way to get three outs while stranding both runners.

Pelfrey pitched about as well as anyone could have hoped, allowing one run on 5 hits and 2 walks in 7 solid innings, expending an efficient 106 pitches. Beyond the numbers, there was something about Pelfrey that looked good to my eyes: his delivery. Though he was still mixing in that “hunch over” at the leg lift, through most of the game he was either staying upright at that point in the motion, or correcting himself as he came out the hunch. As a result, he had better balance coming out of the leg lift and through the stride, allowing for a consistent release point and good momentum toward home plate. It’s such a tiny adjustment, but it means everything. When Pelfrey can stay more upright, he has better control of his body and in turn, a more consistent release point that enables command. Command leads to both outs and confidence. Confidence breeds success. Call it the snowball effect or what have you; little things mean a lot.

Why was Pelfrey able to pitch with better mechanics and repeat his delivery? Could it have been because his mind was focused on doing so? And was he able to do that because he had complete faith in the fingers put down by Mike Nickeas?

Speaking of faith in catchers, it was noted during the SNY telecast that D-Backs catcher Henry Blanco called Pelfrey last week and gave him the advice of staying confident and not think so much. If I’m Kirk Gibson, I’m fining Blanco — heavily — for fraternizing with the enemy. But I’m old school that way … we old farts hold dear to silly things like competition and will to win.

For much of the game, it appeared that Pelfrey’s gem would be wasted, as the Mets managed only two hits off Joe Saunders through six innings. But Saunders was removed after walking David Wright in the 7th, and reliever Esmerling Vasquez allowed a blast off the bat of Ike Davis that extended just above the orange line on the centerfield fence; his second homer in as many days.

The Davis homer was originally a double, but after the reviewing the replay, the umpires decided to call it a homer. Can someone PLEASE explain to me why there is a wall above that orange line? PLEASE? Life would be so much simpler if the ball can simply drop over the fence for a homerun just like it works in nearly every other ballpark.

By the way, Davis struck out looking twice before the bomb. Is it me or does he strike out looking a lot? Maybe I’m nitpicking.

Jason Pridie made his 2011 Mets debut in centerfield, and it was made clear that his promotion was specifically because he was the best defensive centerfielder in the organization. So naturally, the first play of the game was a deep liner off the centerfield fence that Pridie slightly misplayed, allowing leadoff hitter Chris Young to reach third on a triple. To be fair, it was a tough ball to play — I only bring it up because of the irony of the situation.

Bad fundies: David Wright missed a high popup hit by Chris Young in the third inning. The speedy Young, however, didn’t hustle and wound up on first base instead of second. Moments later, Young attempted to steal second and was thrown out by five feet. The next batter hit a double — as did the batter after that. So the D-Backs had one run in and one out instead of two runs in and none out. Do fundies matter? You betcha.

Francisco Rodriguez picked up his third save and fifth game finished of the year. He needs to finish 50 more games in the final 140 to win the jackpot. He’ll need to finish one out of every 2.8 games going forward to get it.

Next Mets Game

The Mets and Diamondbacks go head-to-head again on Saturday afternoon at 1:10 PM. Dillon Gee faces Barry Enright.

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. daxmontana4 April 22, 2011 at 11:53 pm
    …and wright’s hot streak is over. looking forward to next month’s.
  2. Joe April 23, 2011 at 4:31 am
  3. Izzy April 23, 2011 at 9:15 am
    I think the Mets should thank Gibson for the “brilliant” strategy of pitching to Davis with a righty with Mikeas up next. I think he deserves the game ball for proving managers can make a difference.
    • dan April 24, 2011 at 7:31 am
      Gibby definitely contributed to the Mets victory with that move, and also by not hitting for Saunders in the sixth, only to pull him after walking the first batter in the seventh.
      • Joe Janish April 24, 2011 at 11:03 am
        Great points Izzy and Dan. Is it me or does it seem like opposing managers feel so bad for the Mets that they make self-destructive decisions?
  4. gray April 24, 2011 at 9:18 pm
    Where are the updates? Your updates are by far the most intellectual and analytical of all the post-game recaps
    • Joe Janish April 24, 2011 at 9:36 pm
      Hey, it’s Easter Sunday! Even I take a bit of a holiday once in a while! 🙂

      The notes for today’s game are up, but they are brief as I spent most of the day cooking and spending time with family and only took peeks at the ballgame in between.

      I sincerely appreciate the kind words and your decision to visit MetsToday. Thanks so much and hope you had a great holiday (be it Easter, Passover, whatever).

  5. Bill April 26, 2011 at 4:43 pm
    No posts the last 4 days?? Is Joe okay? Has anyone seen Joe?!! I’m betting the 4 game sweep caused him to go on a massive bender and he is lying face down in a ditch somewhere… Where are you Joe?!?
  6. Bill April 26, 2011 at 4:47 pm
    Nevermind…the last 4 days of updates just randomly popped up. Damn internets!