Archive: September 5th, 2009

Mets Game 136: Loss to Cubs

Cubs 5 Mets 3

So much for the winning streak.

Nelson Figueroa was rocked for four runs on seven hits in six innings, and the Mets offense couldn’t unravel the mystery of Rich Harden, as the Flushing nine was beaten for the first time since Wednesday in Colorado.

Notes

Figgy wasn’t all that bad, and he struck out 8, but two of his mistakes left the ballpark. Allowing four runs in six innings is about par for the course for a #5 starter.

Rookie sensation Josh Thole rapped another two singles. His swing reminds me of a cross between Pete Rose and Rod Carew. No passed balls and no wild pitches allowed behind the plate; he caught a fairly solid game.

Cory Sullivan knocked one over the fence for the second time in as many days. If he keeps up this rate he could wind up leading the Mets in homers before the end of the month.

The Mets struck out a remarkable 13 times — including 10 whiffs in the first 5 innings against Harden. This is not normal — the Mets are the hardest team to strike out in the NL.

Some of the hometown crowd was thrilled to see Aaron Heilman allow a run, two hits, and a wild pitch in his Citi Field debut. At least some people had something to cheer about.

Derrek Lee went 3-for-4 with 3 RBI, 3 runs, and 2 homeruns.

The boxscore claims the Mets had ten hits … I must’ve missed nine of them.

Next Mets Game

The rubber match will be played at 1:10 PM on Sunday. Mike Pelfrey pitches against Randy Wells.

READ MORE +

Mets Game 135: Win Over Cubs

Mets 6 Cubs 2

Break up the Mets!

The Mets won their second consecutive time, and for the second time in two days. In other words, they’re on a two-game win streak!

Bobby Parnell was fabulous, shutting out the Cubs on only five hits through seven stellar innings. He worked out of two tough bases loaded situations — one in the second, and one in the seventh — in what was arguably his best performance as a Major League starter.

Unfortunately, the bullpen was unable to hold the Mets’ slim one-run lead, and Parnell’s gem resulted in a no-decision. However, the Mets did win the game, thanks to the dam busting in the Chicago bullpen.

The Mets surged for six runs on six hits against three Cub pitchers in the eighth inning, breaking the game wide open and allowing plenty of cushion for the ninth. As it was, the extra insurance was helpful, as Brian Stokes allowed a run and left the game to Frankie Rodriguez with the bases loaded. Frankie Fantastic proceeded to induce a popup from Aramis Ramirez and struck out Jake “Grand Slam” Fox en route to his 29th save of the season.

Ironically, the Mets pitcher who was least effective — Stokes — was awarded the win.

Notes

Bobby Parnell looked loose and comfortable for most of the contest — when he was pitching from the windup. However, when he threw from the stretch, his body language changed just a bit — enough to look tense — and he seemed to be trying too hard to hit spots. Not quite aiming, but “spotting”, if that makes any sense.

There were a few other issues with Parnell’s otherwise outstanding performance that did not sit right with me. First, I didn’t like that he was using the slider as his main secondary pitch, mainly because it’s a pitch that should not be thrown in the strike zone and also because it’s a shortcut strategy that tends to be inconsistent — see: Mike Pelfrey. I’d much prefer to see Parnell experimenting more with his changeup and failing (and eventually finding success in the future), than getting lucky with flat sliders that float over the middle of the plate. The slider should be a “put away pitch” when he is ahead on the count.

Second, Parnell threw very few fastballs in the bottom of the strike zone. Nearly all of his strikes were above the belt, and most of his low fastballs were in the dirt or just above the shoetops. Though, it was good to see him get a number of swings and misses on pitches up in the zone and out of the zone. Bottom line is that I’m not sure Parnell’s success was of his own doing, or more the result of poor hitting.

Sorry to rain on the Parnell parade, but that’s what I saw. At the same time, I’m thrilled he was able to get this kind of a performance under his belt, for the purpose of building his confidence. He needs to know that he can get big-league hitters out, and this game was proof that he can do it. I also liked the way he responded to the bases loaded, no-out situation in the seventh — that was HUGE, and impressive, especially considering he was near the end of his rope in regard to pitch count. But he still needs a lot of polish. Blame Mike Pelfrey for causing me to be so cynical about Parnell — because to me, Parnell is right now where Pelf was in 2006.

The Cory Sullivan Theatre was performing on this particular evening, as Cory hit a solo homer and made a magnificent diving catch to prevent an extra base hit. A strong September finish by Sullivan could spell the end of Jeremy Reed’s career as a Met — though, Reed has been exceptional in his role as a pinch-hitter. The Reed – Sullivan competition is likely the most legitimate audition occurring this month.

Next Mets Game

The Mets and Cubs do it again at 1:10 PM in Flushing. Nelson Figueroa faces Rich Harden. Rumor has it that Josh Thole will catch Figgy.

READ MORE +