Sep 30

METS CHAT ROOM: Game #158; Limping home.

CHAT ROOM

CHAT ROOM

This afternoon is the season in a nutshell: The Mets will try to salvage something from their series with the Washington Nationals.

Since when does a championship caliber team need to salvage a series with the Nationals? Oh, that’s right, the Mets aren’t that kind of team. After winning two of three in Florida, the Mets could have ended their final road trip of the season on a winning note. Instead, the Mets lost the first two games of this series to the worst team in baseball.

Last night was typified the season as they had breakdowns in all aspects of their game.

This afternoon, Tim Redding gets the honors. Thrust into the rotation with injuries to Johan Santana and Oliver Perez, Redding has made the most of his opportunity to make an impression for next year.

Sep 30

Pelfrey continues to puzzle.

Mike Pelfrey retired the first seven batters he faced last night, five of them on ground balls. That’s the way it’s supposed to be. Then it unraveled for him as it usually does and you knew it would be one of those nights when Ian Desmond homered in the fifth.

I really don’t want to hear how Pelfrey has been distracted with by getting married and having a kid. The bottom line is Pelfrey has regressed dramatically this season to the point where you have to wonder if he’ll ever make it.

PELFREY: Another disappointing start.

PELFREY: Another disappointing start.


Manager Jerry Manuel said he’s in the 2010 rotation, but it’s by default as the Mets are so pitching depleted that they have to run with Pelfrey’s potential much the same way they do with Oliver Perez.

The fact is, if the Mets had other options, Pelfrey would have been better off in the minor leagues. He’s done for the season with a lackluster 10-12 record, accumulated by the same old mistakes.

Pelfrey loses his concentration when things go wrong and starts to walk hitters. He’s also not been able to develop his secondary pitches and throw them for strikes.

When he’s on, his sinker is a brutal pitch, but when he gets in trouble he tends to overthrow the pitch instead of taking something off it. When a pitcher overthrows in an attempt to throw harder, the pitch flattens out and rises. It becomes a fastball that doesn’t move, and movement is far more important than velocity.

This is what happens to Pelfrey, and consequently, hitters sit on that fastball and he gets crushed.

The physical tools are there, but he’s not thinking like a pitcher. He’s become a thrower, and far too often what he ends up throwing is batting practice.

Sep 24

About Last Night: Another head scratcher from Pelfrey.

Well, at least Mike Pelfrey hung around for six innings. However, with 116 pitches he has to go longer than. By definition, it was not a quality start for Big Pelf, which is another way saying Big Disappointment.

Pelfrey gave up nine hits and walked three, and 12 runners in six innings is constantly living on the edge. His problem in last night’s loss to Atlanta was what it has been all season in that he wasn’t able to minimize the damage and his command was off.

If spring training were to start next month, by default Pelfrey would be in the rotation. But, he wouldn’t be based on merit. The Mets simply don’t have anybody they could plug in to replace Pelfrey, and the expectations are they won’t sign somebody, either. At least, not somebody at the No. 2 level.

If Pelfrey were the only issue, the Mets might be able to cope, but Oliver Perez and John Maine are concerns of the physical variety. Pelfrey had forearm issues earlier that forced him to miss one start, but they haven’t resurfaced. I wouldn’t be shocked if it came out he had been pitching hurt. These hidden injuries always seem to be a part of the Mets’ winter landscape.

If Pelfrey is hurt, it would at least explain his bad season to some degree. If he’s fine, all the more maddening. He took a positive step last year and this summer was primed for a breakthrough. But, he doesn’t seem to have grasped the mental aspects of pitching with his pitch selection. He tends to lose focus and is unable to put away hitters and is vulnerable to the big inning.

No, that wasn’t a cut-and-paste of an earlier post about Perez.

This guy, despite his physical tools, has not developed like Matt Cain and Tim Lincecum, but then again, those are special pitchers. I would like to believe Pelfrey will develop as it is not uncommon for pitchers to develop later in their careers.

Still, the expectations were high for Pelfrey and we were singing his praises after a good start. They just haven’t been reached. If he duplicates this season in 2010, the Mets might have to start thinking this is as good as it gets for Pelfrey.

Sep 23

METS CHAT ROOM: Game #152; Pelfrey hopes to salvage something.

CHAT ROOM

CHAT ROOM

Mike Pelfrey gets the ball once more after tonight, so that gives him two opportunities to attempt to wash the sour taste that is the 2009 season out of his mouth and from our memories. Maybe it is possible for him to leave for winter on a positive note, but this is a guy who concerns me.

After last season’s positive big step, Pelfrey has slid back. Maybe not to square one, but not that much better. You’ll hear talk about him losing concentration because of his marriage and child, but that’s only a weak excuse.

Pelfrey still throws the ball hard and injuries aren’t an issue. However, much like Oliver Perez, his pitch selection and execution wander. He loses focus and can’t close out hitters or an inning. He’s prone to giving up runs in bunches. He easily gets rattled. How else can you explain all the balks, including three in one game?

Maddening, is he has these moments where you think he’s coming around, but he has far too many of the other kind. He can be dominant for four innings and lose it in the fifth. He can throw seven scoreless in one start and not make it out of the second in his next.

Pelfrey (10-11, 5.10) has a mind-boggling 7.04 ERA in his last five starts, and has lost four of his last six games. He has been particularly brutal lately, giving up a pair of two-run homers last Friday against Washington to Ryan Zimmerman and Josh Bard. Pelfrey also had the worst start of his career in his last start against the Braves, July 17, when he gave up nine runs in 1/3 innings.

Lifetime, he is 2-4 with a 6.36 ERA in eight starts against the Braves. The Mets have lost 12 of their past 15 games.

Just a reminder, I don’t know what kind of Internet access I’ll have tonight, but will do my best.

Sep 21

Run away from this guy ….

BRADLEY: First class jerk.

BRADLEY: Defines being a jerk.

There are jerks, first-class jerks and Milton Bradley. One of the all-time bad guys in sport, Bradley has been suspended for the remainder of the season by the Chicago Cubs for his conduct.

He has two more years left on his contract – that the Cubs would give him three seasons just goes to show how clueless that organization is – but has already worn out his welcome. So, with not much in the way of pennant races to write about, the Hot Stove season has already started for some writers, Jon Heyman for example, who wonders it the Mets and Cubs will discuss an exchange at two seemingly worthless properties: Bradley for Oliver Perez.

I couldn’t believe it when I first read it, and still think there’s no merit to the concept. For one thing, Perez is a young, left-handed pitcher with potential, but has remained an uncashed check. While it seems hopeless at times, there is a chance he could be turned around with the right pitching coach. Perhaps a change of scenery would do it, but not if it meant getting Bradley in return.

Bradley, and I don’t really like saying this, is simply a bad guy. He’s a psychopath. He’s like Barry Bonds, Albert Belle and Carl Everett. He’s simply a powder keg in search of a spark. He’s ready to go off at any time.

Here’s how bad he is: He hit .321 last year for Texas and the Rangers couldn’t wait to see him go.

Here’s the most important stat you need to know about Bradley: This is his ninth major league season and he’s been with six teams already. Undoubtedly, there will be a team stupid enough to become the seventh.

Let’s hope it isn’t the Mets.

Say what you will about Perez, who might not ever make it in New York. But, he’s not a bad guy. Bradley has $20 million left over the next two years which is a lot of money to shell out for bad will.