By Mike Steffanos
Astros 4 - Mets 4
Played Monday, July 2, 2007
It took Wandy Rodriguez all of 105 pitches to spin a 4-hit shutout against the Mets last night. It's something we've seen all too often since early June. Granted, Rodriguez was throwing strikes and home plate umpire Larry Vanover was calling them, but the Mets made it all too easy.
Too bad, because rookie Mike Pelfrey is showing signs of life as a pitcher. His final line of 4 runs on 7 hits in 6 innings wasn't extraordinary, but he is pitching more aggressively than he did his first go-round with the team this spring. They're getting too many balls in the air against him and he's making mistakes in key spots, but the progress has been there. Hopefully it's something that he can take with him back to New Orleans and keep working on.
|Mike Pelfrey (Last 5 Starts)|
|Season (8 Games)||41.1||29||28||47||21||22||4||6.10||1.67||1-7|
As for the team itself, I was asked a while back what I think caused this slump. I feel as if the roots of it go back to last season after the Mets got out to the big lead. It seemed like they became a team that was a little too dependent on home runs to score, and maybe lost a little of their scrappy edge in September. Even when they got off to the hot start this spring, it was more due to great starting pitching and the ability to have a big inning or two in a game. I remember plenty of games that they won where most innings on offense they looked as bad and impatient as they do now.
There is no doubt that this team is better than they are playing, even with the injuries. Halfway through the season, I have no idea what this club really is. I can envision a scenario where they really put it together, but I wouldn't be completely shocked if they continue to be inconsistent throughout the year and never really put it all together.
There's a lot of anger directed at Omar and Willie among some of the fans. Neither has been as good this year as they were last season, no doubt, but in the end it comes down to the players. The starting pitching that was supposed to be a weakness has been more than fine. The bullpen has struggled, but it's good enough to win with if the Mets play up to their potential on offense. The biggest question for me is whether the club pulls together and learns how to grind it out again when things don't go their way. There is a difference between playing hard and pressing, and they need to find their way back. I certainly believe they can, I'm just not sure that they will anymore. Either way, will the real New York Mets please stand up.