The talk prior to the game was how the Mets could ride the momentum behind Jeff Francoeur’s game-winner the night before if Mike Pelfrey would step up.
PELFREY: No positive signs.
Jerry Manuel said he would stress upon Pelfrey the importance of the game – as if he didn’t already know – and the pitcher spoke about snapping out of his funk.
In the end, that’s all it was. Talk.
Pelfrey spit the bit last night in arguably one of the most important starts of his career.
“The team needed me to step up and be a lot better than I have been,’’ Pelfrey said. “I take full responsibility for tonight.’’
Actually, there was plenty of responsibility to go around as Pelfrey complemented perfectly the Mets’ total breakdown. Four errors, three in one nightmarish sixth inning, and a sluggish offense was how the Mets responded to their most important game of the season.
Today, the Mets could have been showing signs of life only 5 1/2 games out of first. Instead, they are 7 1/2 back and floundering as they head into Philadelphia. The Phillies won’t have Ryan Howard or Chase Utley, but does anybody really think that will make a difference this weekend?
As a hitter, Luis Castillo’s best spot in the lineup is as a No. 2 hitter, where he can bunt, work the count and protect Jose Reyes. That spot in the order best utilizes his offensive skills.
However, his offensive skills pale in comparison to those of Angel Pagan, who can do everything Castillo can, only better. Plus, he can hit for power and at this stage of his career is a greater base stealing threat.
After batting Castillo second for much of the week, Jerry Manuel finally moved Pagan back to the two hole and dropped Castillo to eighth. Not coincidentally, the Mets finally won a game. Let’s hope Manuel learned from this and will continue that alignment in the order.
“(Angel Pagan has) done a terrific job of getting on base and setting the table and being a good situational hitter,” said David Wright. “It makes my job and Carlos’ job a lot easier when he’s creating havoc on the base paths and we’ve got a bunch of runners in scoring position…when we struggle offensively, the best thing to do is keep the line moving like we did tonight and let the next guy do the damage.”
It stands to reason the No. 2 hitter will get more at-bats than the No. 8 hitter, so why would you want to give Castillo that many more at-bats? You don’t. Bat him eighth and be done with it.