By Mike Steffanos
Last night's loss in Philly was more dreary than awful. The Mets didn't catch any breaks, on the field or with Mother Nature. Steve Trachsel has done what he's mostly done since coming back from his back surgery last season. He's pitched bad enough to lose, but not terrible enough to alienate all of the fans.
Trachsel replaced Victor Zambrano in the rotation last September after much brouhaha, allegedly because he's more consistent and dependable. Other than the great start against San Francisco, who we inexplicably owns, I defy you to look at Trachsel's 2006 starts and come away impressed. In 7 starts he's pitched well in 3 of them: against the young Marlins, the aforementioned Giants, and the light-hitting Padres. He's been terrible twice against Atlanta, was pummeled by the Brew Crew, and bad last night. He gave up 2 runs on 6 hits and 2 walks in 4 innings. He was lucky to get out of some jams that kept him from being totally torched.
Some members of the media, some fans and Trachsel himself want to know why Randolph doesn't hold this pitcher in higher regard. Perhaps it's because this "control pitcher" has walked 14 batters in 36 innings this year, while giving up 44 hits. His ERA is just under 5 runs per game. With the injuries, the Mets desperately need him to step up and stabilize the back end of the rotation. (And yes, Steve, you are indeed a back of the rotation pitcher.) He's yet to come close to proving that he can do that. I don't have anything against Trachsel, and I hope he turns it around and starts throwing some strikes so I can sing his praises. But until he does, I'm really tired of hearing excuses, and please stop telling me he "really isn't pitching that bad." If Zambrano was coming up with these performances, everyone would be knocking him. Bad pitching is bad pitching. Trachsel gets no free pass with this Mets fan.
And while we're on the subject of performance, here's another one. Cliff Floyd, you are one of my all-time favorite Mets in 35+ years of watching the team. Your candor, child-like love of the game and generosity with youngsters like David Wright will endear you to me long after you're gone. Your walkoff homer against the Angels last year ranks up in my top moments as a fan. But you're starting to sound like Doug Mientkiewicz, and it's getting old. Toughen up and start hitting the outside pitch to LF, unless you want to be teammates again with Mientkiewicz in Kansas City next year, playing in front of 14 fans and several hundred crickets. Strap one on, and return to being that feared left-handed slugger this team needs.
New York Times: Mike Pelfrey Profile
Ira Berkow shines the spotlight on the Mets' top draft pick. Berkow quotes GM Omar Minaya on whether Mets fans will see Pelfrey pitch in Shea Stadium this season:
There is the possibility, yes. He's got the physical size and talent, but it remains to be seen if he has the mental makeup at this point, whether he pitches with a plan.
One of the tests the Mets wanted to see Pelfrey pass is how well he would bounce back from a bad game. After suffering through his worst start as a pro last week, he came back with a strong performance that Minaya liked:
He came off a bad outing and we wanted to see how he'd handle it. In the minors, it's important to see kids fail and then have them ask why, so as not to repeat it.
Mike obviously asked himself some questions, and came away with impressive results. We're monitoring him closely. You'd have to say he's learning.
Mets Geek: Second Part of Matt Myers interview
Mike Oliver offers up the second part of his interview with Baseball America's Matt Myers on some of the prospects in the Mets' system.
MetsBlog: Brian Moritz Interview
Matthew Cerrone interviews the beat reporter for the Mets' Binghamton farm team on Mike Pelfrey, Henry Owens and some of the other kids on the team.