Phillies push Mets further back; Reyes expected back on Tuesday

New York Mets starting pitcher Mike Pelfrey knew he threw a bad pitch to Michael Martinez, the 28-year old rookie of the NL east division leading Philadelphia Phillies. He got hold of a Pelfrey fastball in the fifth inning, a three-run shot for his first career home run.

“I made a mistake, it was supposed to be fast and down,” said Pelfrey about the home run to right off a 2-0 pitch. It was enough for the Phillies to take two of three from the Mets with an 8-5 win at Citi Field Sunday afternoon. Pelfrey (5-9) went five innings, gave up four runs and the home run to Martinez was the 16th he gave up this season. When Pelfrey gives up the home run ball, as seems to be a frequent part of his game this season, the right hander has obvious control issues.

“The long ball is what is killing him,” said Mets Manager Terry Collins about his ace starter. Pelfrey has assumed that role more with Johan Santana not slated to return to the rotation anytime soon. Consistency has been an issue for Pelfrey who is 0-2 and with a 9.47 ERA against the Phillies this season. “He’s our guy,” added Collins who saw Pelfrey have two other good outings this month.

Martinez, in for the injured all-star third baseman Placido Polanco, would finish with a career best four RBI game. The Rule-5 pick from the Washington Nationals and native of Santo Domingo DR, said through a translator, “it was worth the wait. I am not a power hitter so I am surprised it left the yard.”

But it was not just Pelfrey that continued to put the Mets further back to the Phillies in the standings, and to the Atlanta Braves in the National League wild card standings. The Mets did make a game of it scoring three runs in the eighth and one run in the ninth, but went 4-for-15 with runners in scoring position. They scored one run off Phils starter and winner Kyle Kendrick (5-4) a,nd three runs off a battered Philadelphia pen, including a run scoring triple by Lucas Duda in the ninth off closer Antonio Bastardo who got his sixth save.

It is obvious, with the Phillies not throwing starters Cliff Lee and Roy Halladay, a combined 20 wins between the two, that to beat them you need to have good pitching. Pelfrey and Collins know that they have a lineup of potent hitters. “I thought the guys fought hard today,” said Collins. “We just didn’t pitch today. That was the difference. You have to hold these guys down to keep them from scoring because they have a good pitching staff.”

In the three game series, New York went 4-for-20 with runners in scoring position. Part of that could be attributed to the absence of Carlos Beltran from the lineup the past two games. Beltran has been sidelined with a severe flu, and Collins said, the weakened Beltran would not be available Monday night when the Mets host the Florida Marlins in a makeup game that was postponed by rain on May 17th.

Philadelphia opened the game with a three-run eighth inning when Jason Bay in left came in on a Ryan Howard liner and the ball hit off the top of his glove for an error. The Citi Field crowd booed Bay again, as he also went 0-for-4 at the plate.

“I missed it,” commented Bay when asked about the play. “It’s one of those things where I missed it. And with Scott Hairston driving in another run with a pinch hit single in the seventh, hitting .375 with two home runs and 10 RBI over his last 10 games, Bay was asked if he was concerned about losing his spot in the lineup.

To that Bay said, “It’s not my job, not my decision to make. Before the break started I had the momentum going.” Bay was on a streak before the all-star break and the Mets lineup seemed to click with Beltran hitting also, even without the injured Jose Reyes out of the lineup.

“When you saw Jason swing the bat last week, thought he was coming out of it,” said Collins. “When we get Carlos (Beltran) back, that should help.” However Beltran left the ballpark after receiving another IV treatment for loss of fluids because of the flu, and Collins said he was almost sure the outfielder will miss another game.

Leaving 11 men on base did not help. And Collins did have another chance to mix and match out of the bullpen, but did not use Bobby Parnell as the closer with the now traded Francisco Rodriguez now in Milwaukee.  One with Florida Monday night, and then three with the St. Louis Cardinals and he can only hope that Beltran returns to the lineup.

NOTES: Chris Capuano (8-8) gets the start against the Marlins who came to New York Sunday night after a Sunday game in Chicago. After the game Florida will go home and play San Diego for three, and the Mets for three more…Duda with two more hits  upped his average to .328 with nine RBI in his last 19 games…Daniel Murphy with a single in the first extended his hitting streak to seven games…

It was the fourth series loss for the Mets against the Phillies this season…Now the good news. Jose Reyes ran before the game and tested the injured hamstring. He is slated to start Monday afternoon for the Brooklyn Cyclones of the Penn league and if all goes well Reyes could come off the DL and start Tuesday night at Citi Field.

e-mail Rich Mancuso: Ring786@aol.com

Posted under Atlanta Braves, Fastball, Fifth Inning, Johan Santana, Kyle Kendrick, Mike Pelfrey, New York Mets, Nl East, Philadelphia Phillies, Power Hitter, Right Hander, Runners, Santo Domingo Dr, Star Third Baseman, Starting Pitcher, Sunday Afternoon, Top Story, Washington Nationals, Wild Card

This post was written by Rich Mancuso on July 18, 2011

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The Song Remains the Same in Queens

The faces have changed but the story is still the same.

It’s no longer the Omar and Jerry Show, but the Sandy and Terry Hour, yet it plays out with the same results and the jokes are falling just as flat.

Not to mention the punch line that’s still shines right on the fans.

Yes, hope and change has turned into more of the same at Citi Field with the continual news of Ike Davis’s incredibly hurting ankle. After being examined today, it’s just not getting better, and now he may have to miss the season if the next three weeks show no improvement.

“We’re hopeful that over the next three weeks he will progress to running,” general manager Sandy Alderson said. “If that is not successful, then there may be some consideration about doing some surgery on the ankle. Right now I don’t see him coming back anytime soon. … Basically over the next three weeks he’ll progress to hopefully running. And if he can’t tolerate the running, then we go to Plan B.”

No one wants to see Plan B, as it means the Mets will lose their best power threat in the lineup until 2012, ultimately crippling any hope of a Met Wild Card this year.

All of this comes on the heels of Jose Reyes not wanted to negotiate a new contract until the season is over, almost assuredly allowing him to test the free agent market.

It’s just another day at the ballpark for these New York Mets who now should expect the worst and be surprised when something better happens. It makes you wonder if Fred Wilpon made some sort of Faustian deal with the devil for the 1986 World Series and now the franchise if paying the price.

Think about it. Almost exactly 20 years after the ball went through Buckner’s legs, Carlos Beltran looked at strike three and it went all downhill from there.

Two collapses, botched firings, mishandled injuries, K-Rod punching out an old man and let’s not forget a man named Bernie Madoff. It’s just been a litany of bad news. Heck, Billy Joel can write an updated version of “We Didn’t Start The Fire” with everything that happened in Queens.

Just when it seemed like the Mets turned the corner with the hiring of Alderson and Terry Collins, it just continues on and on. It doesn’t matter if Alderson is uber-capable, on days like today, he sounds like Omar Minaya, albeit in a fluent, lower key tone and Collins can be as fiery as Earl Weaver. With his best players on the shelf, he’s going to have as much success as Jerry Manuel.

That’s why it’s hard to buy into these Mets. No matter how much good will they inject, the other shoe is there ready to drop…

…And drop and drop.

Tomorrow, David Wright’s injured back is scheduled to be checked. Is there anyone out there expecting it to be healed? With the way things are going, you may expect another break to mysteriously show up.

And Alderson will be there delivering the news, with the same disappointment in his voice Minaya had before him.

The more things change, the more they stay the same.

Posted under Billy Joel, Carlos Beltran, Collapses, Deal With The Devil, Faustian Deal, Fred Wilpon, Free Agent Market, Heck, Joe Mcdonald, Jose Reyes, Litany, New York Mets, Plan B, Sandy Alderson, Top Story, Wild Card, World Series

This post was written by Joe McDonald on June 22, 2011

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