Snakes Continue To Bite Mets

New York – Last week at Chase Field in Phoenix Arizona the Diamondbacks handed the New York Mets a three-game sweep. That continued, in what would be a dismal 2-9 west coast trip for New York that had them looking for redemption at Citi Field Friday evening,

However, Mike Pelfrey continued to have his first inning struggles and Arizona picked up where they left off last week taking the opening game of a three- game weekend set 9-6. Another loss for the Mets that left them at 52-51, 7-1/2 games behind first pace Atlanta and in a fourth place tie with Florida in the NL East.

It is starting to get dismal at Citi Field.  And the Mets also have to wonder what has happened to Pelfrey who surrendered three runs in the first inning. The Mets would get even in their half of the first on the first of two home runs from David Wright. It was a three- run blast off winning pitcher Ian Kennedy (6-8).

As for Pelfrey (10-5) who failed to get the decision, the Mets have to hope their right hander can return to form if they have any chance of making the postseason. And once again the Diamondbacks had his number, 0-5 in his last seven starts against them. In his last start at Arizona on July 19th he threw 51 pitches in the first inning and was removed after getting four outs in the shortest outing of his career.

“Everybody else in the rotation has been throwing the ball great and I’ve kind of taken a step back from early in the year,” said Pelfrey. In his last six starts, he’s worked 25.1 innings, allowing 54 hits, 28 runs, 27 earned with 14 walks and 13 strikeouts.

“I definitely plan on getting this thing turned around and back on track so we can plan on winning some games,” he said.  Mets manager Jerry Manuel said adjustments will have to be made. There is the high pitch count, “still confident we have a young pitcher and don’t think it’s demoralizing,” said Manuel about his starter.

Wright drove in five runs and with his second home run in the third off Kennedy, 17th of the year with two on, gave the Mets a 5-4 lead. After retiring seven straight D-backs with one out in the sixth, Kennedy reached first on an error from shortstop Jose Reyes.

“A routine ground ball, I have to make that play,” said Reyes who extended his hitting streak to 11 games with a single in the first. Pelfrey after throwing 118 pitches had a chance to win. Enter Raul Valdes (2-3) who failed to retire the four batters he faced. The home run to center off the bat of Kelly Johnson gave Arizona a 6-5 lead.

Two more singles and on the 14th pitch thrown by Valdes, Miguel Montero hit a home run off the second deck in right field, a five-run Diamondbacks inning that helped his team snap a seven-game losing streak. “I’m swinging  at better pitches, I think,” said Montero about his fourth home run.

As to why the Diamondbacks have the Mets number, he said, “I honestly don’t know; it’s just baseball I guess.”  Montero has hit two home runs and driven in six in his last two games. Thursday evening he connected against the Phillies and has now hit a home run in consecutive games for the second time this year.

Manuel said it was the right situation for Valdes who warmed up in the pen four times before coming in. “It was a good match up in that situation,” said Manuel about the home run ball thrown to Johnson.

But the Mets still have two more games with the Diamondbacks and have to figure out how to take this series against the second worst team in the National League. If not the road trip next week against Atlanta and the surging Philadelphia Phillies could determine their season.

“Anytime one or two of their hitters gets hot they can give us trouble,” explained Manuel about his team troubles with Arizona.

Notes:  Before the game outfielder Jason Bay was laced on the 15-day disabled list from the minor concussion he sustained crashing into the outfield wall out in Los Angeles last Friday evening. The Mets recalled outfielder Jesus Felicano from Triple- A Buffalo.

e-mail Rich Mancuso: Ring786@aol.com

Posted under Chase Field, Citi, David Wright, Diamondbacks, Friday Evening, Game Sweep, Game Weekend, High Pitch, Home Runs, Mets New York, Mike Pelfrey, New York Mets, Nl East, Number 0, Phoenix Arizona, Pitches, Place Tie, Right Hander, Top Story, West Coast Trip, Young Pitcher

This post was written by Rich Mancuso on July 31, 2010

Pelfrey Was Off In Loss

Mike Pelfrey and Phil Hughes both 9-1 coming into Saturday’s game at Yankee Stadium have been nothing but spectacular for the Mets and Yankees. The Mets winners of eight straight games, and the Yankees, losers of their last three were hoping for something special from their premiere pitchers.

But Jose Reyes of the Mets connected on the second pitch of the game, a home run to right field off Hughes, The Yankees would even things up in their half of the first on a ground ball double play hit by Mark Teixeira.  In the end though, Hughes was better and Pelfrey struggled.  The Yankees would take game two of the Subway Series in the Bronx 5-3.

Reyes would connect again in the third after Henry Blanco the ninth man in the order walked. It was the sixth multihomer game for Reyes, his fifth homer of the season that was almost hit in the same spot as the first one. The ball was flying out of the ballpark at Yankee Stadium on a sunny and warm afternoon, but Pelfrey could not keep the Yankees quiet, a team that struggled to score runs the past few games.

“I didn’t have a fastball today,” admitted Pelfrey (9-2) who let the leadoff hitter reach base in five of his seven innings pitched. He allowed five runs the most since allowing six to the Phillies on May 1. “I ended up getting behind guys,” he said. “They gave me a lead, I just couldn’t hold it. We’re playing well. I just feel bad.”

Mets manager Jerry Manuel has seen the development of Pelfrey, who has become one of the premier pitchers in the National League. And he realizes that sometimes he is still young and prone to mistakes.

“I think that he’s been elevating a few of his pitches,” said Manuel. “He is still a young pitcher who over the course of a season and in his career will hit small bumps. He just has to look back on them and get better.”

A reason the Mets have been playing well is because of Reyes and number two hitter Angel Pagan. Also the Mets starting pitching coming into the game was 18-3 with a 2.49 ERA over their last 29 games dating back to May 17. Pagan went 2-for-3 with a walk, single and double extending his hitting streak to eight games, batting .352

Reyes, 2-for-4 extended his hitting streak to 11 games and is batting .438 in that stretch, and with his day has now hit safely in 10 straight road games at the Yankees. “Some stadiums you feel comfortable hitting, I feel comfortable here,” said Reyes about his streak at the old and new stadiums in the Bronx.

“I feel at home,” said Reyes with a smile about once again being comfortable in the leadoff spot.  Mets batters though, after the Reyes one-out home run in the third, had just three hits and two walks

The Mets had a few opportunities against Hughes but failed to capitalize. As hot as they have been, there was still that confidence they could get to Joba Chamberlain and Mariano Rivera who pitched the eighth and ninth innings to close the door

Rivera got his 16th save of the season when he got Ike Davis swinging, Jason Bay on a ground out to second and Chris Carter on a ground out in the ninth “He throws hard and can challenge you,” said the rookie Davis about Rivera.

As for the missed opportunities, the Mets leaving runners on second base in the sixth with Hughes on the mound, and in the eighth Manuel said, “Their guy (Hughes) made some good pitches at the right time or was able to get a double-play or pop up when he needed to,”

e-mail Rich Mancuso: Ring786@aol.com

Posted under Double Play, Fastball, Fifth Homer, Henry Blanco, Jose Reyes, Leadoff Hitter, Losers, Mark Teixeira, Mets, Mike Pelfrey, New York Mets, Pagan, Phil Hughes, Phillies, Pitchers, Pitches, Straight Games, Subway Series, Top Story, Warm Afternoon, Yankee Stadium, Young Pitcher

This post was written by Rich Mancuso on June 20, 2010