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).
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”.
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.