Thursday, April 26, 2007

Rocky Series

Game 2: NY Mets 2, Colorado 1 AP Recap
Game 3: Colorado 11, NY Mets 5 AP Recap

Game 2 of the series against the Rockies proved to be one of the most exciting games of the year. It was the Mets first extra inning affair of the season. It was also the lowest scoring game of the year. Don't get me wrong, I love it when we put up 10-spots, but there's just a different kind of nervous agitation (which leads to more exhilarant exuberation) involved in pitcher's duels, which this game certainly was. El Duque was masterful, throwing everything, including the kitchen sink, for strikes. He left for a pinch hitter after throwing 7 strong, scoreless innings allowing only 4 hits with 5 Ks. I nearly lost it when he got Helton with a 52 MPH Eephus pitch. When El Duque is on, he is as fun to watch as any pitcher out there, and not just because of the ridiculous leg kick, but also because he really will throw any pitch on any count. I suppose I should give some props to the Rockies' sinker baller Aaron Cook, he was sharp throughout inducing DPs when needed, and stranding Valentin after his 3rd inning lead off triple. He also went 7 scoreless innings. Heilman pitched a 1-2-3 8th, and Willie must be reading this blog, because he actually brought in Wagner to pitch the 9th in a tie game at home. Wags pitched in a pressure situation, which I'm defining as a game within 3 runs, for the first time since (no joke) Friday the 13th, or 11 days for those counting. To me he looked nervous. He had serious control issues, walking the first batter he faced, and later bouncing a pitch 5 feet in front of home plate. Maybe he should pop in a bigger dip for these pressure situations. He squeaked through the 9th and, when we failed to score in the bottom half, stayed on for the tenth. He didn't throw a first pitch strike to any of the 8 batters he faced. Wags allowed the 1st run of the game in the 10th on a triple by shortstop phenom Troy Tulowitzki and I had a headline written for this post (I'm saving it for when he does blow one). But that was not to be... Down to their final strike, Damion Easley, the unlikeliest of unlikely heroes, hit one out to the bleachers. That's 2 HRs for Easley this season with only 2 hits this season, but more important it extended the game for some more magic. It was unbelievable. As Mike said via iChat when it happened, "fwof;hacvu09 iotioa34tio u4ui; oa34iuo t4i uo4ti uota343t. FUCKJJFW JKFEWJEFWF J:EWJFEWFJEWFEW" I replied the only way I could, "OUIRGWOIBWIOFYG* ($YF@(*GBE BCEILWYG)*E& GCBEKLJVB!" Schoenweis came in for the 11th and looked sharp, walking none. He split the 12th with my boy Joe Smith, who was typically effective and earned his first major league win when this happened:

A walk-off drag bunt by Endy Chavez! His Mets legacy continues to grow! What a game! That's the kind of game that makes me feel bad for AL fans, they never get to see anything like that. I was so excited I was easily talked into going out to a bar afterwards, and combined with the day game the next day, this post was delinquent. I'm sure you, dear reader, can understand.

Unfortunately, I must also briefly describe game 3 of the series, which from the get go looked as if the Mets had gone out drinking after the exhilarating finish of game 2 as well. It was also Carlos Beltran's 30th birthday. Whatever the reason, the Mets came out and laid an egg, not scoring any of their 5 runs until allowing 11 by the Rockies. The Rockies started 5 players hitting under .200, the Mets started 5 players hitting over .300, we had just crushed their spirits the night before, maybe we thought we would just walk over them. Regrettably, the main story here for Mets fans is young Mike Pelfrey. Coming into the game, Pelfrey led the league in % of full counts amongst starters. This is a very bad thing for a contact pitcher. He's not striking anyone out, but he's walking people and throwing a lot of pitches. He relies on weak contact caused by the late movement on his pitches. He had no late movement on his pitches in this game. His fastball, more accurately a fatball, was flat as a pancake which the Rockies poured syrup on and ate for brunch. They say hitting is contagious, well the Rockies had a hitting outbreak and proceeded to clobber everything and everyone until the game was far out of reach. I think Pelfrey's got a lot of potential, he's going to take his lumps, but I think as long as were still winning, and don't have a clear cut better option for his spot in the rotation, he can take his lumps at this level. It will expedite his development, assuming it doesn't destroy his confidence. If we hit behind Pelfrey the way we hit behind Maine, Pelfrey's got a W or two this season. What really worries me about this start is that it was his first start on regular rest, and his fastball was flat. You can't survive in the majors with a flat fastball, no matter how hard you throw. Especially with only a couple pitches in your arsenal. Maybe he's not strong enough yet, not seasoned enough yet. He's really been rushed up to the bigs. He's got an extra day, thanks to today's off day, before his next start, but the following start will be on normal rest. That will be the real test, if he comes back throwing BP in that start... well, there are a lot of really good restaurants in New Orleans.

The good news is that the evil, despicable, vile Braves blew a 3 run 9th inning lead against the Fish last night, so despite the rout by the Rockies we remain in first place. Hopefully you are enjoying the off day, and the post from new contributor Mike U. Back to work tomorrow with Dr. Ollie vs. the Gnats. We'll see who shows up for that one. Hopefully yesterday's debacle will inspire our team.

Let's Go Mets!!!

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