After Mike Pelfrey struck out the side in the first inning most of us were probably thinking, "Hey, this is the new, awesome Mike Pelfrey, not the old, merely above-average Mike Pelfrey." He had us going there for a little while. Then the second inning rolled around and, after retiring the first two batters on a couple of popups, Pelfrey walked Ryan Roberts and hit the next two batters in succession to load the bases. Jon Garland flied out harmlessly to Jeff Francoeur in right to end that threat, and Pelfrey seemed to settle in by retiring the Diamondbacks 1-2-3 in the third. Things unraveled a bit in the fourth when Arizona plated a run on a pair of doubles and scored twice more in the fifth on three hits and a walk. The Mets battled back in the bottom of the fifth, sparked by a solo homerun by Francoeur. Cory Sullivan tripled and Alex Cora knocked him in with a double to close the gap to 3-2. Brian Schneider grounded out to first to move Cora to third, but pinch-hitter Gary Sheffield lined out sharply to first and the ever-regressing Angel Pagan -- notwithstanding Saturday's awesome grand slam -- flied out to center to end the inning and put a stopper on the Mets' last real threat of the afternoon.
When all was said and done, the Mets had lost 5-2 to Jon Garland (!), who walked none and scattered seven hits in his complete game victory. Garland is not a very good pitcher; never has been, really, except for his 2005 season with the White Sox. He tosses a lot of innings and doesn't walk many, but he is consistently at the bottom of the pack in strikeout rate and has a career ERA approaching 4.50 and tRA around 5.00. The Mets, conveniently for Garland, are not a very good team and most of their hitters are currently hovering around replacement level or worse. The Mets were wise to stand pat at the trading deadline because this team isn't competing for anything. What's worse, I think, is that they're generally not even that interesting to watch. They had a nice little winning streak last week and I found I could actually sit through most of a game, but more often than not there's just nothing out there worth following. It's so bad that I'm literally ecstatic to have Sheffield back. Yes, it has come to this. I still enjoy watching Johan Santana pitch, and the development of Jon Niese and Mike Pelfrey are generally encouraging. That's really about it for me right now. Sullivan and Francoeur and Cora and Daniel Murphy and the rest, it's just hard to get pumped for that lineup right now. It doesn't get any better when...
Big winners: Jeff Francoeur, +8.7% WPA
Big losers: David Wright, -20.1% WPA, Gary Sheffield, -11.6% WPA
Teh aw3s0mest play: Sullivan triple in fifth, +11.9% WPA
Teh sux0rest play: Tracy two-run double in fifth, -14.6% WPA
Total pitcher WPA: -16.2% WPA
Total batter WPA: -33.8% WPA
GWRBI!: Chad Tracy
Nice job by KeithsMoustache; his effort in the game thread embiggens us all.
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