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.
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.