Tonight’s Mets/Phils game put a bright light on the good, bad, and ugly of both teams. For the second straight start, Big Pelf failed to make it out of the third inning. I don’t think anyone expected him to pitch like a true ace, but right now he is straight up grossness. His fastball has no life or location, and his “get me over” slider is doing far more damage than good. The game quickly went south for Pelf after he tried to sneak a double play in by letting a terrible bunt by Blanton fall, and then proceeded to bounce the ball past first base and up the right-field line. The wheels quickly fell off, and the end result was a 7-0 deficit for the beautiful Mets. If Pelf doesn’t figure it out soon, this Mets will be in big trouble, because the middle relief is not a strength, and the starters do not go deep enough to make up for a lot of short outings by Pelf.
On a positive note, the Mets bats continue to show a lot of life. The have now batted around for the third consecutive game, which I cannot recall happening at any point last season. Unfortunately, they are still struggling with runners on third and less than two outs, which absolutely drive me insane. They still managed to score seven unanswered to tie, but the bullpen quickly gave the runs back with some horrendous 0-2 pitches. It is very difficult to win baseball games when you leave runs on third with less than two outs, and when your pitchers serve up 0-2, two-out RBIs. The Mets’ Rule 5 pick, rookie Pedro Beato, also had a solid 1, 2, 3 inning against the top of the Phillies order in his first appearance at Citizens Bank Park.
I’m still not sure what took Charlie Manuel so long to give Heavy B the hook, but it almost cost the Phils the game. I assume he was trying to save the overused bullpen from last night, but Blanton had absolutely nothing left and Manuel left him in there as the Mets rallied to tie. Blanton will not be asked to do too much this year, but with a seven-run lead, he could have provided the overworked ‘pen with some rest before the series-ending day game tomorrow by not being a scrub and pitching deep into the game. The inning ended with two men on, and continuing the trend from earlier in the game, the runners left on base proved costly. The Mets were a very good 5-for-10 with runners in scoring position, but seven men left on base is too many.
Overall, the major weaknesses of this Mets team were exposed, and a good opportunity to guarantee a series win against the hated, division rival Phillies was wasted (Doc Halladay vs Niese tomorrow … not impossible, but not an easy W).
In the other dugout, Ryan Howard is an absolute monster (hit a bomb to center off a hanger from Pelf), and petrifies me every time he steps in the box. With Chase Utley on the DL, there is no reason to let him beat you, but apparently no one told the Mets’ staff about this (they went after him and survived last night, but not surprisingly got burned by the same approach tonight). Victorino had a nice day at the plate (including a huge check swing double that lead to the go-ahead run in the fifth). The bullpen did a good job shutting down the Mets the rest of the way, and are looking towards Doc to provide them with some rest tomorrow afternoon by going deep into the game.
The Mets have their work cut out for them against Doc tomorrow, and both teams will be looking for their starting pitching to take them deep into the game, to give the relief pitchers some rest. Tonight’s Faker of the Game award goes to Mike Pelfrey for his outstandingly fake effort for the second start in a row. The Realest player on the field was Ryan Howard, but unfortunately for him, members of the Phillies are not eligible for this high honor as punishment for playing on the fakest baseball team in the beautiful US of A.
Keep it real, and eat your pizzas, America.
— Kevin McReal