By Mike Steffanos
Game 34: Reds 7 - Mets 1
I started writing about this game last night after it was over, but it felt like a was writing version 117B of the same post I've written so often over the past 12 months. Moreover, I didn't even think I was being fair, as it was clear that Bronson Arroyo really was pitching very well.
Beat writers follow a team on an almost every day basis, but it's a job and even the ugliest loss doesn't bother them -- nor should it. Most bloggers and die-hard fans follow the team virtually every day, and losses hurt. Sometimes my first reaction is just to be pissed off, and that's certainly how I felt last night.
With a night's sleep under my belt, and the knowledge that the Mets won today's rubber game, I feel less inclined just to complain about last night. And I'll certainly give Arroyo credit for how well he pitched. There are times in baseball when a pitcher who is on top of his game will simply beat you. To a large extent that's what happened last night.
Good professional offenses can make even a pitcher who is pitching well work harder, and get him out of the game sooner. The Reds bullpen isn't great, and if you get to them an inning or two earlier maybe you have a chance to steal the game. We haven't really seen this ability to battle and extend pitchers who are really pitching well from the Mets very often this season, though. We really haven't seen it very often since 2006, really, and part of the reason they have been mediocre is tied to that.
Anyway, Arroyo's effort led to another loss for Mike Pelfrey who, after 3 lousy starts in a row, really did pitch well enough to win. He did give up 8 hits in 6 innings, but only 1 walk. Recognizing that he couldn't consistently throw his 2-seam sinking fastball for strikes, Pelfrey abandoned it and used his 4-seamer and off-speed stuff. He also has apparently abandoned the mouth guard. The Reds are a pretty decent offensive team, so you have to give Pelfrey some credit to holding them to 2 runs in 6 innings without his best pitch.