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Winning and Losing

Mike SteffanosWednesday, April 25, 2007
By Mike Steffanos

Mets 2 - Rockies 1 (12)
Rockies 11 - Mets 5

In the short space of a few hours, we have enjoyed a terrific comeback win and endured an absolute blowout of a loss. Welcome to the baseball season, I guess.

I spent all of last evening painting at the new house, from about 5 until almost 2 in the morning. I listened to the entire game on radio, including pre- and post-game. I used to listen to a fair amount of games on the radio, but got out of the habit when I started writing this blog. If you're going to write game analysis, you really need to see the game for yourself. The demands of preparing the new house have necessitated a return to a pleasant old habit. I'll probably catch a few more on radio before the house is ready to be occupied, sometime after the middle of next month. I'll be heading out there for another very late night after posting this.

I did DVR the game, and caught some of it before I passed out last night. With any luck at all, El Duque could have four wins right now. He was masterful last night, taking advantage of a pitcher's umpire to keep the Mets in that ballgame. With a 2.53 ERA after 5 games, I notice I'm not reading so much about the arthritis in his neck anymore.

Orlando Hernandez (2-1)
TOTAL (5 Games)32.010922251352.531.093-2

The offense wasn't so great. Taking nothing away from Aaron Cook, who pitched great, I thought the Mets were helping him out a little by swinging early in the count. Jose Reyes in particular seemed as if he had somewhere to go after the game. As the game went on, I really wondered if the Mets were going to get one big hit to score. It took 12 innings for that to happen.

When the Rockies went up 1-0 in the top of the tenth, I took a break from painting to listen to the bottom of the inning. I've never been that impressed with Brian Fuentes as a closer, so I figured they had at least a chance. When Shawn Green grounded out on the first pitch he saw and Jose Valentin flied out, I thought that chance was gone. Fuentes went up on pinch hitter Damion Easley 0-2, and I started gathering my painting gear to return to work. But Easley did a nice job getting back to 2-2, and then provided the all-too-rare reason that we listen to games that seem over with that big home run.

As you all know by now, Endy won it two innings later with that great bunt. When I came home at 2 AM and grabbed a quick meal, I watched some of the game. One of the things I wanted to see was where Helton and Barmes were playing. I was shocked to see how far back they were, particularly Helton. Any team that wasn't aware what a good bunter Chavez is by now deserved exactly what the Rockies got there. Mind boggling...

Well, that was the good. I think we'll spend less time on today's game -- the bad and the ugly. Mike Pelfrey couldn't locate his fastball and was leaving everything up. Quite a difference from what won him the job this spring, but becoming a common theme going back to the last exhibition game against the Devil Rays. It would be easy for me to say that it's time to send Pelfrey down, but I don't have all of the information in front of me that Rick Peterson does. From a personal view, though, I could understand the game pressure hampering his ability to throw strikes a little, but wonder what happened to the way Pelfrey pounded the bottom of the zone this spring. Even many of his strikes are up. Is it a mechanical flaw or just pressing?

Mike Pelfrey (0-2)
TOTAL (3 Games)13.21212206727.901.981-2

Aaron Sele didn't fare any better, and I'm going to have my questions about him until he proves to me he can approximate what Oliver gave this team last season. I just think Oliver exhibited better stuff last season than Sele has this season. I can't kill him for this one, though, by the time he came in the game was 6-0. On the other hand, maybe if Sele doesn't give up 4 runs on 6 hits in his 2 innings of work, the Mets have more incentive to crawl back in it.

Box Score (2-1 win)
Box Score (11-5 loss)

About Mike: I was the original writer on this web site, actually its only writer for the first 15 months of existence. Although I am grateful for the excellent contributions of my fellow writers here, I have no plans of stepping back into strictly an editorial role. I started this thing in the first place because I love to write and I love the Mets, and blogging here keeps me somewhat sane. If you haven't had enough already, more bio info can be found here.

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Comments (12)


I agree. its difficult to evaluate Pelfrey yet. BUT, we know he has very little minor league experience and we dont know how he will respond to continued failure. Bannister was a delight last yr, but he had success in the minors and as an international player. Meanwhile on the ranch, Humber is PCL player of the week and Sosa is 3-0 with a 1.38 ERA so there is depth.

Any idea how Park is doing in NO? I love Pelfrey and think he will work out but I was just wondering.

You mention how far back Todd Helton was playing in the 12th inning of the second game of the series; Endy said that the positioning was what gave him the idea of bunting.

Did you notice, in the first game of the series, when Helton hit what should have been a double to left, which he ran into a single? I have rarely seen a healthy player look more awkward; he almost made the Dante Bichette of my memories look graceful. I remember Todd Helton from his quarterbacking days at U of Tennessee (one of my alma mater's); he used to VERY mobile. And he sure used to carry the rep of being a first-rate first baseman.

Helton can still hit, obviously, but he has lost something on the field. I wonder, is he avoiding the plays that would expose his shortcomings, sort of like Bobby Abreu avoids the wall? Is that why he was playing back so far, essentially stating that anything on the ground was someone else's play?

To quote two peope I don't particulary care for, but whose words here contain more than a grain of truth:

1) "No matter how good you are, you're going to lose one-third of your games. No matter how bad you are you're going to win one-third of your games. It's the other third that makes the difference." - Tommy Lasorda

2) "Don't be sad, 'cause two out of three ain't bad" - Marvin Lee Aday

Doesn't mean we have to like the one out of three we don't win.

As for Chan (RACIST SLUR DELETED) Park, don't look to him as a replacement for Pelfrey right now. Park's 3-1 in four starts, but his ERA is 7.29 and his WHIP is a fat 1.48. He's also given up six long balls to AAA hitters.

Jorge Sosa might be the guy to call up if the Mets wanted to pull the plug on Pelf, which I don't think they'll do for at least four more starts. Sosa's 3-0 so far in NOLA, with a teeny 1.38 ERA, an equally slim 1.04 WHIP, and a 24-4 strikeout to walk ratio. Hmmmm...

And if I actually read all of ed's post above, I wouldn't have to send myself to the Department of Redundancy department.

I like that Firesign Theatre reference, Nostra!

(following that thread) "...past the Small Animal Administration...-wup! Right to the Secretary of Failure himself!"

I think about nine hundred other people said that bit about the "critical third" of games played, though. And for my nickel any excuse for NOT mentioning Tommy Lasorda is a good one. What an oaf. His quicky induction into Baseball's Hall of Fame still rankles me.

The turning point of yesterdays game was the national anthem. Check please.

well, it seems Pel will get at least one more start. but he has an ERA of 11.25 in 8 innings his last 2 starts. In my view (shortsighted) he is ALL out of whack. Meanwhile Humber who lost a year to injury is progressing and I think the Mets will be cautious and not promote too soon.

I will stick my neck out that Pelfrey-Anderson-Heilman-Ben Johnson-Bostwick-and possible others could be dangled at some point. Possibly sooner than later. BUT that said I think Glavine-Ollie-Maine and Hernandez have so far been significantly better than advertised. Petey is on the horizon, and Vargas, Sosa and Humber are not bad choices if Pelfrey needs a more cautious approach.

The person this team NEEDS right now is G Mota.

dd - Sorry. It was my duty, Judy. now climb down out of that tree...

Ed - Humber doesn't have much more minor league experience, and was pressing this spring like Pelfrey is now. If Sosa could keep what he's doing up, I think I like him more as a possible replacement for Sele. Anyway, I'm comfortable leaving the call on Pelfrey to the people who have all the data.
Joe - Park has an ERA of 7+ in New Orleans in 4 starts. He's been lit up a couple of times.
dd - I know Helton had intestinal problems last year, but hasn't he had back problems over the last few years? I know from personal experience that a bad back will steal some of your athleticism.
Oops, I see Dennis already answered Joe's question about Park, speaking of redundancy.
dd - I'm with you on Lasorda.
Al - Ye of little faith -- that was game until the third inning...
Ed - Gee, a trade involving Heilman. That's a new one for you...

I don't understand the eagerness of some of you guys to trade Pelfrey, I really don't. Plenty of guys take a while to adjust.
Nostra, no more Lasorda. I'm getting agita...

OK: Before I get slammed,I just want to represent my case:
a. Precedence: The Frank Viola trade/Mike Hampton trade, the Mets WILL try to fortify their position.

Maine is looking really good. At least as good as the flying 'h's Harden & Haren. While they work with Ollie, and Hernandez is healthy, the stating needs are low. They will plug with Sosa-park-Vargas-Humber in that order, much as they did last yr with Bannister-Gonzo-Lima-Soler-Pelfrey. As such they are solid 1-4 and may not trade for a starter at all. In fact I point to Vargas as this yrs John Maine who could step out of obscurity and excel.

Joe Smith-ala Maine is making the team needs for a reliever less pronounced. In fact he is making Heilman expendable. I pointed to the potential for a trade given Omar's strategic arms build up, but at this point I am looking for two smallish trades: One subtracting Heilman, (Lidge) and maybe importing another flexible player.

One player not talked about much is Ruben Gotay. He is one to watch too.

Ed - Don't be melodramatic. I'm not slamming you. There are still tons of questions about the bullpen right now, and no one knows how Mota will come back. You had Heilman as "expendable" last year, too, and that turned out not to be the case. Injuries are a face of life in baseball. Joe Smith is doing a fine job, but he's a righty specialist, not a replacement for Heilman.

I'd hate to see the Mets trade Pelfrey when he is their one young pitcher with a potential high ceiling despite his struggles. Unless he brought back a Santana, I wouldn't make the trade.

Don't know why you're so high on Gotay. He looks like a utility infielder to me.

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