May 05

Big Pelf or Big Poof?

Just because Mike Pelfrey is feeling better doesn’t mean he will pitch better. There’s been very little about Pelfrey this season that suggests he’ll come up with a big performance today against the San Francisco Giants.

PELFREY: We've seen Pelfrey doing a lot of head scratching this season.

Pelfrey has been a disappointment after taking a positive step forward last summer. In his last start at Philadelphia, he pitched after losing 11 pounds because of the flu and never should have been out there.

But, he hasn’t been sick all spring. Pelfrey is laboring too much on the mound with command and pitch selection. He isn’t working quickly, which is what he did last year when he was effective. Instead, he’s back to being deliberate, which smacks of indecisiveness and a withering confidence.

Pelfrey has failed to go five in three of six starts. He’s walking too many hitters and doesn’t have the command of his sinker, regardless of the count.

Pelfrey has minor league options remaining, and with another poor start this afternoon, there could be discussions about whether he needs to take time for some fixing in the minors.

 

May 02

Mets win, NY wins, US wins.

I woke up around 6 , turned on the TV and he was still dead.

The flag endures.

Osama bin Laden is dead, and it will be one of those moments that  you’ll always remember where you were and what you were doing when you heard the news. For those who learned on ESPN last night, it was reminiscent of hearing John Lennon was murdered while watching Monday Football.

I was home channel surfing when I heard. I called a few friends and became mesmerized by the images on the screen. Just like when watching the Japan earthquake, Katrina, Columbine, and, of course, September 11. There is no script to history. It just relentless attacks us and grabs us by the scruff of the neck and shakes. It shook me to about 4 in the morning.

Flipping back to the Mets game, where it was tied in the ninth, 1-1 — 9-1-1. You don’t find irony or symbolism like that too often. It was  inspiring to hear the crowd spontaneously chanting, U-S-A, U-S-A. Sometimes the chant sounds forced and cliche. Not last night.

“I don’t like to give Philadelphia fans too much credit. But they got this one right,” said David Wright when asked about the chanting.

Yes, the Mets won, but the crowd reaction is what we’ll remember and take with us, much as we do the images of that day.

I was covering the Yankees at the time and took the weekend off to move to New York from Maryland. I was on the Jersey Turnpike just north of the Philadelphia exit when the planes hit the towers. Because all the bridges were closed what was normally a five-hour trip became 11. My movers were volunteer firefighters. My furniture didn’t arrive for several more days.

That week was spent covering workouts at Yankee Stadium and watching the Shea Stadium parking lot used for a staging ground for the EMS workers. It was inspiring to see Bobby Valentine and his Mets, in uniform, help the workers load trucks.

And, when the games finally resumed, we witnessed one of the most memorable home runs in New York history, Mike Piazza’s drive that beat the Braves. The Mets and Braves were mortal enemies at the time, and their display of unity that night was another memory. It was another example of how sports can be unifying.

So much has happened in the ten years since, and we’ve changed personally and as a nation in so many ways, and for a baseball writer it goes well beyond the joys of traveling, from the pat downs to the long lines to the general uneasiness of strangers.

I live in a small town in Connecticut, and the fallout hits here, too.

What small town doesn’t have a 9-1-1 Memorial? Who among us doesn’t know someone lost in the attacks and the subsequent military actions in the Middle East? The failing economy is a byproduct of that day, and with it the foreclosure signs, layoffs and stress of trying to make ends meet. Who among us doesn’t cringe when filling up our tanks and wonder when things will ever get back to normal.

Or, is this normal?

I hope you’ll share with us what you were doing that day.

Apr 29

Mets’ April 29 lineup at Philadelphia.

Here’s the Mets’ lineup tonight at Philadelphia:

Jose Reyes, SS

Daniel Murphy, 2B

David Wright, 3B

Carlos Beltran, RF

Jason Bay, LF

Ike Davis, 1B

Josh Thole, C

Jason Pridie, CF

Mike Pelfrey, RP

 

COMMENT: I’ll say it again, I think the Mets are making a mistake starting Pelfrey tonight. He’s lost 11 pounds battling the flu the past week and isn’t full strength. They have Dillon Gee for situations like this and it makes no sense pushing Pelfrey in April. What’s the point? What good does it serve to possibly burn out Pelfrey tonight and going deep into the bullpen?

Apr 29

Mets start over tonight in Philly behind weakened Pelfrey.

Do you remember the story of the kid who told his father he had a no-hitter going until the big kids got out of school?

PELFREY: Goes tonight at Philly.

Well, that’s the Mets, whose six-game hitting streak was snapped last night at Washington. After beating Houston, Arizona and the Nationals, the Mets are in Philadelphia for the second time this month to face the Phillies.

Time to start another streak.

Mike Pelfrey, suffering from the flu the past week, was cleared and will start tonight despite losing 11 pounds. The Mets are taking the precaution of having Dillon Gee ready should Pelfrey weaken, which tells me they are concerned.

Given that, why push the envelope on Pelfrey in the first place? It’s only April. Do they really have to run Pelfrey out there tonight?

Gee has pitched well and is on the roster for situations just like this. I’d rather push Pelfrey back and have him pitch on full strength.

Chris Capuano did not have a good start last night, but there’s been no word of taking him out of the rotation. Something to possibly look for is that with another bad outing he could be replaced by Gee.

Just thinking.