Mike Pelfrey snapped the Padres' hitters back to reality, holding them to just one run on four hits in eight innings of work. It was a dominant outing for the big man -- eight strikeouts vs. just two walks with twelve swinging strikes. Francisco Rodriguez was a bit shaky in the ninth, allowing a run on three hits before delivering the fatality to the Pad Squad. In Frankie's defense, the hits weren't exactly scorched, but he did take 30 pitches and what felt like a half hour to shut the door.
This was Big Pelf's best start of the year, narrowly beating out his domination of the Rockies back on tax day. Outside of the 6th inning, when he walked lead-off batter Tony Gwynn Jr., Pelf cruised. Sure, the Padres' offense is 3rd worst in the league, but coming off Monday's 18 run outburst it was nice to see the "stopper" show up. Pelfrey threw an impressive 72 of 110 pitches for strikes. He wasn't really attacking the lower half of the zone though:
(click to embiggen)
That's a lot of pitches in the middle to upper part of the zone -- not exactly where Pelfrey needs to be. However, his fastball had a little more giddyup than usual (95.5 max, 93.5 average), which can help mitigate location problems. That is, if "problems" is even the right word here.
David Wright (3-4, solo home run) and Ike Davis (2-4, two-run home run) were the hitting stars of the game. Ike's blast was particularly impressive, given that the pitch was nearly at eye level. Gary Cohen seemed giddy tonight and his home run calls were extra spirited. Even routine flyouts made Gary briefly turn into Gus Johnson. No complaints here though, especially during this sleepy late-night west coast game.
Some other random bullet thoughts:
- It was an inauspicious night on the basepaths for the Mets -- Jose Reyes was caught stealing and Jeff Francoeur was picked off by starting pitcher Wade LeBlanc. The first thing Gary and Ron discussed about LeBlanc was his terrific pickoff move, so it was somewhat comical to see Frenchy erased almost immediately after hitting a single. Mr. Personality went 2-3 on the night with another intentional walk, so it's hard to be too down on him. I wonder though -- had Angel Pagan been picked off, and not Francoeur, wouldn't there be discussion about his "low baseball IQ" and "costly mental mistakes?" I doubt Frenchy will receive such treatment.
- God Barajas has exceeded expectations thus far and his impact on the club is probably deeper than statistics can measure. However, hopefully non-stop talk of an All Star berth doesn't become a "thing" until closer to the game. There are, conservatively, five more deserving catchers in the National League right now. If Rod the Bod hits a few more dingers and closes the gap between himself and Brian McCann, Geovany Soto, Miguel Olivo, etc., then let the campaign begin.
- In addition to Gary's aforementioned giddyness, the broadcast had a couple other quirks. Kevin Burkhardt was wearing a suit and tie as opposed to the usual powder blue polo. He was in the booth with Gary and Ron for much of the night and was apparently sitting on some sort of high-chair, making him appear nine feet tall. Most of his time is usually spent doing sideline reporting, so his lack of chemistry with G & R can be forgiven. Also, the SNY microphones were ultra-receptive tonight, picking up some fans (or one fan?) giving the NSFW business to Luis Castillo, Pelfrey and the home plate umpire at various points throughout the game. That always amuses me for some reason.
- I was on the verge of tears entering the 9th inning, when I figured Alex Cora would come in for defense and inch closer to his 2011 vesting option. But he didn't, and relief washed over me in an awesome wave.
The rubber game of the series is tomorrow night at 6:35 PM Eastern Daylight Time (woohoo for no 10:10 start!). Johan Santana vs. Clayton Richard is the pitching matchup. Richard is a lefty with a fastball in the 90-91 range who struggles vs. right-handed hitters. This is welcome news for Wright, Francoeur and the rest of the Mets hitters who mash southpaws.
"Pours a murky orange with 2 finger head. Nice retention and great lacing. Lots of pine and citrus hops in the smell. It smells like a really hoppy double IPA, though it is apparently just a single. Taste is just a hop bomb. Lots of bitterness, with sticky pine hops and citrus. Some caramel malt in there for a touch of balance. Awesomely drinkable." -- Beer Advocate review.
Big Pelf gets bigger with each passing outing
While Wright has resumed his usual clouting
Ike's long ball clears the center field fence
While K-Rod, as usual, makes ending tense
Big winners: Mike Pelfrey +30.3% WPA (pitcher), Ike Davis +23.1% WPA
Big losers: Angel Pagan -8.6% WPA, Jose Reyes -8.4% WPA
Teh aw3s0mest play: Ike Davis two-run home run +20.8% WPA
Teh sux0rest play: David Eckstein RBI double -14.1% WPA
Total pitcher WPA: +33.3% WPA
Total batter WPA: +16.7% WPA
GWRBI!: Ike Davis
Nice job by Jonathan.; his effort in the game thread embiggens us all.
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