Mets 7 Pirates 5
After a frightening, blowout loss to the Pirates in the opening game, the Mets went on to take the next three games and the series.
Guess who returned to the spotlight? None other than David Wright, who had two hits, two RBI, and scored two runs. His two hits were a homerun and a double. He is definitely out of his mini-slump.
Jose Reyes and Cliff Floyd both went 1-3 with two RBI, and Reyes stole another two bases. Now at a steady .300 with an adequate 30 walks, Reyes is making excellent strides as a leadoff hitter — and proving to be a one-man scoring machine in the vein of a young Rickey Henderson or Willie Wilson.
Steve Trachsel pitched another adequate game to earn his fifth straight win; miraculously, Mr. Willie allowed him to throw 118 pitches. Billy Wagner is now in mid-season form, and likely would have pitched a perfect inning if not for a misplayed fly ball by Eli Marrero. On the other hand, Aaron Heilman had another un-Heilmanlike outing, taking almost 40 pitches in an inning and two-thirds and giving up a run. Maybe the Mets brass should re-evaluate his role in the bullpen; it’s possible that he’s just not built to pitch 3-5 times per week.
Marrero gave Carlos Beltran a well-deserved day off in center field, and well … let’s just say he likely won’t be making any more appearances in center. Shouldn’t be a big deal, as we normally have Endy Chavez to back up, and there’s always Lastings Milledge. Better to find out now that Marrero is ill-suited for the position, rather than in the third game of the NL Championship series.
Trax was hit by a pitch in the bottom of the sixth, and immediately the umpires warned both benches. Why? Who knows. I wish that MLB would eliminate this “warning” crap; all it does is take the inside part of the plate away from the pitcher, and make the batters more comfortable in the box. A little fear in the batter’s mind worked out fine in the first 140 years of baseball.
Pedro was put on the disabled list, and Henry Owens was brought up to take his place on the roster. In AA, Owens has struck out 51 batters in 25 innings, giving up eight hits and eight walks, garnering a sparkling 1.08 ERA. If he can do a K-Rod-like job in the second half, he’d be a great addition to the bullpen. One wonders if this is the intention, and part of a grand plan to push Heilman into the starting rotation (hey, I can dream!).
In addition, Mike Pelfrey was brought up, and will start one of the games against the Marlins in the Saturday doubleheader. At worst, he’ll be nervous and implode, getting knocked out in the first inning. At best, he’ll throw 6-7 innings of shutout ball and earn himself a second start. I’ll be happy to see something in between. Facing the Marlins is a good entry, as they were closer to a AAA team than MLB earlier this year, and though they are in second place, the lineup is mostly youngsters, so Pelfrey shouldn’t be too overmatched; it will be kind of like him facing a AAA All-Star team that has a ringer (Miguel Cabrera). The reports from the minors say Pelfrey throws in the mid- to upper-90s, relies very heavily on the fastball, and throws only an adequate breaking pitch and changeup. If those reports are accurate, I could see him challenging hitters and throwing a lot of strikes, but perhaps giving up a few long balls. In any case, it will be exciting to see him pitch on Saturday.
OK, now the bad news: Friday night is LimaTime ! Why? No one’s quite sure. One blogger suggests that he has incriminating photos of Omar Minaya and/or Willie Randolph. I’m inclined to believe it. The only shining light is that I was merciless on Jose Valentin early in the year, and he’s turned out to be a productive starter at 2B; so I could be wrong about Jose Lima.