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Mets Take Series

Mike SteffanosMonday, May 14, 2007
By Mike Steffanos

Brewers 12 - Mets 3
Mets 9 - Brewers 1

A confession on Saturday's loss. I heard some of it on radio, but didn't watch any of it. I went to my niece's first birthday party early in the day, and then worked in the yard at the new house until dark. I tried to watch some of the game on DVR later that night, but fell asleep almost immediately. There is never much to say when your team takes one on the chin, anyway, but here are some thoughts on Mike Pelfrey.

I've been reading a lot about how a lack of secondary pitches doomed Pelfrey. While I agree that long-term success as a starter will be predicated on him developing sound off-speed stuff, I still believe that it was a failure to command his power sinker that earned Mike some time in New Orleans. If he can learn to be as aggressive with his bread-and-butter pitch as John Maine was last season, I think Pelfrey could pitch well enough to stay in the majors and work on the other pitches. For those who are already giving up on Pelfrey, it might be wise to keep in mind that Maine himself struggled mightily in 2005 in both the majors and Triple-A. My guess is that he wasn't mentally prepared to succeed as those high levels his first time through.

I still think that a roadmap for success for Mike Pelfrey is to do what Maine did last season -- lean on your best pitch, throw strikes aggressively and try to bring the rest of your game along. Though Maine's best pitch was the high fastball and Pelfrey's is the power sinker, I think it could work for him that way. He'd only be a five inning pitcher as Maine was last season, but he could be successful. There is no chance of this working, however, until he is mentally prepared to be here. Pelfrey still looks tentative at times and overthrows his sinker quite a bit, diminishing its effectiveness by straightening it out. Then again, one of the knocks on Maine when he came over to the Mets was that he had a straight fastball. We now know that's not true. He was probably overthrowing his stuff the first time through.

Pelfrey will now join his friend Philip Humber in New Orleans. He will also be working again with catcher Mike DiFelice, who seemed to help him last year in Binghamton. It's likely the best situation for him right now.

Mike Pelfrey (0-5)
TOTAL (6 Games)30.1222236131726.531.751-3

I was able to watch yesterday's game in its entirety, as after 3 weeks of constant work I allowed myself to be a couch potato for most of the day. Because it was an important game for the Mets, I felt fairly confident that Perez would pitch well. He just seems to have a knack for pitching under pressure. Despite expecting it, I was still surprised by how completely Perez dominated a very good offensive team that has been on a roll. I've been on record as someone who is optimistic for Perez' chances, but even I've been pleasantly surprised by how smooth he looks pitching barely 6 weeks into the season.

There are a lot of baseball writers who gave Perez almost no chance of turning his career around. Seems like I read something negative about Perez a couple of times a week throughout the off-season. Perhaps these folks would like a nice imported beer to wash things down when they get around to eating their words later on this season -- at those that are honest enough to do it.

As for me, I can't hold myself completely exempt. I was skeptical when the Mets were talking about Perez pitching like an ace for them this year. I did feel he had a chance to make it back to that level, but thought it might take a year or two to get there. Although he's had some blips here and there this season, I think he's a lot closer to being a legitimate ace than he is to being that lost soul that most of baseball gave up on last year. He needs to get a little stronger mentally to fill that role, and certainly more consistent, but I wouldn't bet against it.

Every once in a while I allow myself to imagine a Mets rotation that includes a revitalized Pedro, a refined Perez and Maine, and solid veterans Orlando Hernandez and Tom Glavine. If things break right, this could be one of the best rotations in baseball. A far cry from the "Achilles Heel" they were supposed to be.

By the way, kudos to the Mets for finally listening to my buddy Dan and putting a solid defensive OF behind Perez. Starting Gomez over Shawn Green was a good call. By the way, for someone who is admittedly raw, does Carlos Gomez have a beautiful swing or what? You watch him play and you could understand why the Mets have always loved him as a prospect.

Finally, Damion Easley hasn't given the club the great leather work that Valentin does, but he can hit. I know we're not allowed to vote on this, but with a trade for Pittsburgh's Jose Castillo being the hot rumor of the week, I'd vote pass. I don't see Castillo as the long-term answer at second base, and I don't see him as a significant upgrade over Easley and Gotay this season.

Oliver Perez (4-3)
TOTAL (7 Games)42.0221433431453.001.124-3

Box Score (12-3 loss)
Box Score (9-1 win)

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 (7)

Totally agree about Pelfrey and Perez. I also think that when Pelfrey pitched, the Mets tended to dog it out there. And as for Perez, he's better than his 4-3 record- the Mets should have won his Nats game, and the defense and umps contributed to the bad effort in SF. He should be 5-2 or 6-1. That's really how good he's been.

As for Gomez, I want to see the Mets give him some time in the outfield, not squish him on the bench like they did to Milledge. Green can even get some time in at first if need be, since Franco more often than not looks like a wasted bat at times. And they should use Gomez primarily as a starter, and leave Endy as a threat off the bench.

As for 2B, another blogger mentioned Todd Walker as a cheap and effective addition to the team, since he's been Designated for Assignment. They can probably get him for nothing. Easley won't hit like this forever, and Walker's a better hitter and a decent fielder.

To be honest, there's a little voice in my head that wonders how much it would take for the Mets to bring back Ty Wigginton from Tampa. He's returned to the hitting form that he had when he was on the Mets. Not sure about his fielding, though. Valentin's still a better fielder than any other option right now.

Excellent bit on Pelfrey and the comparison with John Maine.

And, let me just say: Gomez, Dahling!
(For those of you old enough to remember the Addams Family television show. Or watch TVLand)

Franco has to retire now, he is finished. Thats it, thank you good bye. Be a coach or something but your done. I love what I see in Gomez. It makes Milledge easier to trade. I also have looked ahead at the pitching rotation with Pedro and company and have the same names penned in. I remember saying when Pedro comes back it will be like a trade to help us in the second half.I also would pass on Castillo but I think Omar likes him and we may get out voted. Oh yeah, I remember"Gomez Dahling", but I also remember Milton Berle and Sid Ceasar and Howdy Doody.


The thing that makes your blog special is its 'earthy' tone. A real fan and his thoughts, not necessarily our opinion but a snippet of the conversation we would be having in a pub in long island.

On that note: 'Every once in a while I allow myself to imagine a Mets rotation that includes a revitalized Pedro, a refined Perez and Maine,.." We are overdue for beer nuts! To quote myself, Ollie is the reason Omar could low ball Zito, and as one reader bloggger pointed out the difference is a wash. One other point I have made is that Ollie was the ace in Pitt and given some correction, is showing some of that 'drive'/residual expectations from being a staff ace. He and Maine ARE our top of rotation starters and Glavine is somewhere akin to a great 3rd starter.

I may not be that articulate in blogging my thoughts but what you said about Pelfrey is EXACTLY what I have been trying to convey. I have mentioned the possibility of trading him (and Heilman) but again that was(is) conjecture if Santana/Oswalt et al hit the market.

'By the way, kudos to the Mets for finally listening to my buddy Dan and putting a solid defensive OF behind Perez.....' a. I have two points in the post analysis of this event; Just like the head-shaving..this was a watershed event. It highlighted jst how much of a detriment to this team Green is on defense...I go as far as to contend ( And I have been out spoken on this) that several of the losses, especially the collapses (Pelfrey/Ollie- the 9-6 loss to ATL have been catalyzed by defensive lapses. b. The other point in the Gomez loss is he did what Milledge could not...adapt to RF. Gomez-Milledge-FMart are all natural CFers. Milledge's issues in the field LF and RF were magnified. One thing that was often stated was his slow read on balls. THE exact opposite of the post game comments on Gomez. Going out on a limb, I think he needs to stay and at least platoon with Green much as Gotay is doing with Easley. Gomez DEFINATELY will make the pitching better.

Ed - Let's all agree (and I mean you, too, Willie and Omar) that when Ollie "Fly Ball Machine" Perez starts, the outfield has GOT to be Endy/Beltran/Gomez? As Willie said, "I love having three center fielders". It's even nicer when they can play the corners, too, as both kids seem to know how to do.

SEVENTEEN fly outs versus only 2 ground outs on Sunday? That's just stupid.

Nostra: I was a voice for Green, especially to fill the post X-man void. But I thought Milledge was adequate too. What has me incensed is that the Mets are clearly the class of this league and but for dropped pop ups and mis played fly balls, Glavine, Ollie and Co. would have better records.

I have been critical of Willie's in game decisions, but one thing I cant fault him for is his LOVE of defense. That alone will ensure Gomez gets some PT. Nostra, I'd sneak in there that Castro be Perez's catcher too.

Jason - I'm not sure that the Mets dogged it when Pelfrey was pitching. I think he got his defense back on their heels by not throwing enough strikes.
dd - "Tish, you spoke French!"
Al - I'm probably in the minority, but I think being a pinch hitter is one of the toughest jobs in sport. Based on that, I think Franco is doing okay this year.
Ed - Sorry I don't have time to respond to all of your comment. They're playing Fernando in CF now, but by all accounts he projects to be a major league corner OF. The other two are indeed natural CFs.

I'd still like to see Gomez playing every day in N.O. for this year. As long as Green continues to hit he deserves the playing time. If he stops hitting, it could get interesting..
ND - So you're telling me that the Mets don't have 3 CFs in the game when Alou and Green are in there?

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