Archive: July 11th, 2006

Game 89: Win

Mets 7 Marlins 6

After a few weeks of easy wins and blowouts, the Mets finished the first half of the season in much the same way they started it: with a dramatic, come-from-behind, late-inning, one-run win.

Who was the hero? C’mon, now, you know it had to be David Wright. D-Wright hit a three-run homer in the bottom of the eighth to give the Mets the lead plus a much-needed insurance run that became the winning run when Billy Wagner surrendered a solo homer in the ninth en route to his 18th save. (Hmmm, Billy was doing things like that earlier in the year, too … guess he didn’t want to feel left out of this nostalgic win.)

Notes

Though he threw into the seventh, Tommy Glavine was not vintage, again. He’s leading the NL in wins, but that is more to do with excellent run support than great pitching. In his last 10 starts, he’s allowed four runs or more five times, and has pitched seven innings plus only three times. Now, some might say that he’s pitched a number of “quality starts” in the last ten, but this is a guy who we are leaning on to be a co-ace. Giving up four runs over nine innings is OK, giving up four in less than seven is not good enough. He needs to at least pitch further in games, as he was in the first two months of the season. He pitched through at least six innings in all of his first 12 starts, and gave up three runs or less in all of those starts but one. Since that 12th start, however, he has had trouble getting to, and through, the sixth. Hopefully the pre-June Tommy will reappear after the All-Star break.

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Game 88: Win

Mets 17 Marlins 3

If I’m John Maine, I’m running up and down the dugout screaming “where was that an hour ago???!!!!”

Anyone with a remote interest in the Mets was excited about this game for one reason: the debut of Mike Pelfrey. With barely three months of professional ball under his belt, Pelfrey was brought in to start a Major League game. He struggled a bit, but was given enough support get through.

Cliff Floyd and Jose Valentin drove in a combined 12 runs, and Paul LoDuca added another 3 RBI, as the Mets trounced, thrashed, and completely devastated the Marlins. Talk about erupting …

Valentin, in fact, nearly hit two grand slams in back-to-back innings, missing his second granny by just a few feet. Whatever he had for an in-between-games meal, I’ll take two, please.

Marlins’ rookie starter Ricky Nolasco has been fairly impressive against everyone else in the NL, but can’t seem to find a groove against the Mets. He gave up 10 hits and seven runs in his earlier outing, and the Mets roughed him up again for nine in less than two innings. Joe Girardi used nearly his entire bullpen in the first game, and made Jason Vargas the sacrificial lamb for the remainder of the game. I’m not sure if Girardi didn’t want to waste another arm in this game, or if he just didn’t have a better bat to pinch-hit for Vargas when his turn came up.

Notes

Pelfrey was a little shaky in his first ML start, which we can probably chalk up to first-game nervousness. The reports we heard were that Pelfrey threw nothing but fastballs in the minors, and he didn’t have a breaking pitch. Well, I saw a pretty good fastball, a nice breaking ball, and I thought I saw some changeups in his debut. If nothing else, his fastball and the breaking ball should be enough to help the Mets out of the bullpen right now; whether or not he can anchor a spot in the rotation this year depends on whether he really does have a change-up and/or he can command the fastball up here the way he did in AA. According to Omar Minaya, Pelfrey or Maine will get the next start when the #5 spot comes up. I like Maine, and I think he’ll be fine as a #5. However, I’d like to see a less-nervous Pelfrey make another start, and see what he can do.

The reports we got on Henry Owens were that he had a heater and a good breaking ball, and that he had an injury earlier in the year which precluded him from pitching back-to-back days. So what does Mr. Willie do? Pitch him on back-to-back days, of course. One inning on Friday, and two innings on Saturday. Maybe Randolph read the report as back-to-back “games”, and therefore counted the first game of the doubleheader as an off-game for Owens.

In any case, it is fun to watch Owens throw gas with that funky delivery. He seemed to either get tired or nervous in this outing, as he did walk two batters. However, if he settles down and can go every other day, he looks like he could be a good matchup ROOGY for days that Bradford needs a rest. He might even vie for a setup role as early as next year. Unfortunately, for 2006, he might be on his way back to the minors until September. That is, unless Mr. Willie plans to carry 15 pitchers on the roster.

Aaron Heilman closed out this blowout, probably to get game work in a relaxed situation and be able to work on some things. Though he threw a perfect inning, he still doesn’t look “good”. His body language is less fierce and confident than it was in April; he’s clearly concerned about his mechanics and his command. I really think it’s time to demote him to the starting rotation, and promote El Duque to #2 setup guy behind Dirty Sanchez. El Duque is much to valuable to the bullpen to keep him in the rotation.

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Game 87: Loss

Marlins 3 Mets 2

Tough loss for John Maine, who pitched a good game except for three swings of the bat — three that produced three solo homers and were ultimately the deciding runs of the game.

Perhaps tougher to take was losing by one run in the first game, then watching the Mets’ lineup terrorize Marlins pitching in the second game, scoring 17 runs. Where were those bats in the opener?

Marlins starter Jason Johnson was underwhelming in five innings, walking five, but managed to escape the game with only two runs scored against him. Joe Girardi put a new pitcher out for every inning thereafter, and the Mets could manage only a walk and a hit against them. The batters were lackadaisical, as if they were just trying to get the game over with.

On the bright side, Chad Bradford and Dirty Sanchez both pitched well in relief. John Maine deserved better. He’s no ace, but he looks to have the makings of a solid #4 or #5. In fact, he should give the Mets the same kind of production they’re getting from Steve Trachsel. I see a string of 12-12 seasons in his future.

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