By Mike Steffanos
Game 17: Phillies 5 - Mets 4
It was cheering in a way that the Mets fought back from a 4-0 deficit, and again that they made Brad Lidge sweat a little in the ninth. Still, when it was all over I was left with a bit of an empty feeling. This game was there for the taking all night, and the Mets just couldn't take it away. It wasn't a horrible loss that made me lose sleep, but it was a head-shaker.
After a couple of nice starts, Mike Pelfrey put up the sort of performance that lets you know he is still a work in progress. 10 hits in 5 innings and 2 homers was typical of Pelfrey from 2007, although his strike percentage was more positive, as was the 2 walks. Given all the hits allowed, he did limit the damage somewhat in holding the Phillies to 4 runs. Still, I'm sure Mike wasn't happy with this one.
If Pelfrey at least is showing progress, Carlos Delgado's season has again regressed from his promising start. Another 0-4 has dropped Delgado to the Mendoza line, and it's hard to find positives to take away. He hit the ball a little better and didn't strike out, but the guy is looking less like a viable mid-order hitter every game.
With Alou close to a return (knock wood), the short-term solution will see Delgado dropped to sixth in the order, but he'll need to show some signs of life to continue to take a lineup spot, period. This bears watching, with a Frank Thomas-like fate not out of the realm of possibility.
Castillo is another player who needs to pick it up. The 4-year contract ensures him a spot for a while, and I suspect he'll hit better, but he needs to execute better on the sacrifice. That one in the ninth inning wasn't the first one he's blown in an important spot, and is the sort of thing he simply must do to justify his existence in the lineup.