Mets Game 151: Win Over Nationals

Mets 8 Nationals 4

Now, now, that’s more like it.

With the Mets desperate for a win, Mike Pelfrey stepped up and met the challenge, holding the Nats to three runs in five innings and earning his third win of the season. OK, it wasn’t exactly a dominating performance, but in comparison to the way Mets starters were knocked around the last few days, he looked like Cy Young.

Just as encouraging, the bullpen held up the win for him, headed by two strong innings by Jorge Sosa. Aaron Heilman threw a perfect eighth and Billy Wagner had a shaky but harmless ninth to close out the Mets’ first victory in the past six days.

Also encouraging was the offense, which not only scored eight runs but showed the relentlessness of a starving pit bull, hungry for runs every inning. They seem to have learned something from the two most recent games — you remember, the games where they jumped out to a big lead and then put on the cruise control? This time, they scored, then scored again, then looked to score some more — and would have kept grinding out runs if the ninth inning didn’t stop them.

Leading the way, finally, was Jose Reyes, who had two hits and scored two runs, including a double that by all rights should have been an inside-the-park homerun (the umpires decided to change the ground rules on the fly … kind of like a friend of mine who used to change the rules while playing whiffle ball in his backyard). David Wright also earned a few more MVP votes, driving in three runs and scoring another with his two hits. Paul LoDuca also added to the damage, driving in two runs without a hit (two sac flies).

Notes

How hot is Shawn Green? All of the doubters who called for his head at various points this season, please come forward. If we’re going to buy into the Willie Randolph theory that September is the most important time of the year, then Green has answered the bell. He went 2-for-2 with a run scored after being brought in as part of the double switch that included Sosa. He has 7 hits in his last 9 at-bats, with 2 HRs and 4 runs. He’s also 10 for his last 17, with 5 walks … and batting .418 in the month of September. And some people thought he should have been released to make room for Endy Chavez at the end of August.

Speaking of hot, how about Moises Alou? He makes Shawn Green’s September average look paltry with his scorching .459 for the month — not to mention his 23-game hitting streak. Alou went 3-for-4 with an RBI and 2 runs. So much for the sore quad.

Jose Reyes has made four errors in the last four games. He had only made eight errors all season, and went 43 consecutive games without one until the first of his recent “slump”.

Pelfrey pitched pretty well, pounding the bottom of the zone and owning the inside part of the plate with his fastball. His secondary pitches are still, well, secondary, but his command of the fastball was a nice thing to see. I hope he pitches a bit in winter ball to hone his changeup and/or breaking pitch.

Regarding the Reyes fly that got stuck in left field, Gary Cohen’s quick comment that a ball lodged in the padding of the outfield wall is an automatic ground rule double is completely wrong. There is nothing in the rules that stipulates such a thing, and the Washington Nationals’ ground rules do not cover such an occurrence (that’s why it’s called a “ground rule” double). In fact, it varies from park to park — for example, in some parks, the outfielder is supposed to attempt to pull the ball out of the padding, and if it comes loose, the play continues. If it remains stuck, the ball is dead and the ground rules apply. In the case of Jose’s drive, Wily Mo Pena did not see the ball until Reyes was rounding third. Granted, it’s a quirky occurrence that should have been covered somewhere in RFK’s ground rules — but to be technical, it wasn’t, and therefore the umpires could have made any call in their judgment. That’s why Willie was out there arguing — he wanted to know why the umps gave Jose only second base when there was no such “ground rule”.

Next Game

The Mets fly south to Miami to play the Marlins for a four-game set in Dolphin Stadium. It all starts at 7:05 PM on Thursday night, with Tom Glavine taking the mound against Dontrelle Willis.

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. sincekindergarten September 20, 2007 at 5:03 am
    Yeah, Reyes’ hit should have been an inside-the-parker. Pelf stepped right up and got the job done . . . more importantly, so did Jorge Sosa. Four pitches in the sixth inning, for three outs. Matter of fact, the whole bullpen did. David Wright had some issues with throwing, but nothing that couldn’t be overcome.

    Way to get back on the horse–and the Phillthies lost in 10!

  2. isuzudude September 20, 2007 at 6:06 am
    No doubt Green and Alou are stroking it pretty well right now. My fear for Green, though, is that his playing time is about to greatly diminish. In the upcoming Marlins series, the Fish have 3 lefties scheduled to start over the 4 games, which means Green is likely riding the pine those games. Also, Delgado sounds about ready to return to the lineup this weekend, and although I don’t expect him to play everyday, he will still take significant playing time away from our Jewish Wonder. It’s too bad, cause Green may be seeing the ball just about as well now as throughout the entire season.

    In regards to Alou, what do you think the future holds for him? His .340+ average provides incredible protection for Beltran or Delgado or who ever he hits after, but we all know how injury prone he is and how the Mets have an influx of young OFs waiting to get the chance to start in the majors (Milledge, Gomez, Martinez). Do the Mets pick up his option of $7.5-million for ’08?

    The Reyes play is intriguing. For it to be called a ground rule double makes sense to me. If the ball gets stuck in the Ivy at Wrigley it’s a GRD. If the ball gets stuck underneath the tarp at ANY stadium, it’s a GRD. So why do you think if the ball gets stuck in the outfield padding at RFK the rule doesn’t apply? It sucks, because Reyes probably had at least a triple on the play, even if the ball doesn’t get stuck. But I’m sure none of us are familiar with the RFK ground rules, so as far as we know the umps made the right call. And if it was the Nats who hit the ball and had it get stuck, I think we’d be in unaminous agreement.

  3. archeress September 20, 2007 at 10:15 am
    i can’t help but post about how much i love the way moises schools the young in hitting a fast ball, and in gratitude, they pinch run for him. This is precious. Also, i love the way david wright doesn’t let the pitcher think he rattled him by throwing up and in, neer shows any emotion about it.
  4. joe September 20, 2007 at 11:03 am
    On Green — how about that? A month ago some people were trying to find a way to get him off the roster, and now we’re worried he’s not going to get enough at-bats! 🙂 I think he’ll still get ABs in the Fish series, despite the lefty starters — mainly because I don’t see their starters getting far past the fifth.

    On Alou – As archeress commented, how cool is it that Moises educates and is rewarded with a pinch-runner? As for Alou’s future, it’s really more up to him than anyone else. Supposedly he’s told teammates that he’s thinking of hanging them up at the end of this year. If he chooses to continue playing, I think it’s a no-brainer that Omar picks up the contract — partially because the guy, when healthy, is one of the top 20 hitters in baseball, and partially because he’s so well respected by the organization. He can continue to be a fine example for the youngins’ to follow.

    As for the GRD: the ground rules for every MLB park are posted on MLB.com. A “ground rule double” means there is a “ground rule” that specifies a certain situation calls for a double. There are several parks that specify “two bases” if a ball gets caught between the padding (i.e., Minute Maid) — that’s not necessarily the same as a double. For example, if Jose Reyes was already rounding first when the ball got caught (not an unreasonable possibility), and there was a “two bases” rule, the umpires could have given him third base.

    So while it seems simple to immediately assume “ground rule double” whenever something strange like that comes up, technically that’s not the way it’s supposed to be ruled. In many cases, if the ball comes right out — as it did last night — it should have remained in play. Reyes didn’t go around the bases because the ball got lodged so much as Pena didn’t see it — the ball was in plain view and reachable (though it would seem unfair from the Nats’ perspective).