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Baby Steps

The maturation of Mike Pelfrey continues. Five walks isn't great, but five strikeouts is mighty fine and his 9-2 grounder-to-fly ratio was very encouraging. He hasn't allowed a homerun in his last six starts and has allowed just one in his prior ten outings. His peripherals and groundball rate for the season are still nothing special, but he has been a vastly different pitcher over his past half-dozen starts than he had been for his entire big league career prior to that. Was it the goofy mouth guard all along? Don't know, don't care. Just keep throwing that heavy mid-nineties heat, pal.

Did anyone else notice that this was exactly the sort of game that the Mets always seem to lose? They managed just six hits off Greg Reynolds and did a particularly shoddy job of working the count and getting Reynolds's pitch count up. Reynolds threw just 90 pitches in his seven innings of work, and were Jeff Baker not thrown out at the plate in the first inning on that would-be wild pitch this game might have developed far differently.

The Mets got just enough offense to win the ballgame, though it's a little disconcerting that they weren't able to add any tack-on runs after taking the early lead. They scored all of their runs in the first three innings and then phoned it in offensively for the last two-thirds of the game. Had Pelfrey cracked or the bullpen stumbled this road trip would have been a lot less satisfying.

It's a little hard to believe, but with the Mets having just taken their third straight series and the Phillies in the midst of a five-game slide, the Mets' deficit in the NL East is down to 3.5 games. They're still only playing .500 ball, but if they ever decide to turn things around and go on a nice little winning streak, at least the rest of the division is crummy enough to keep the Mets close in the interim.

Big winners: Mike Pelfrey, +27.3% WPA, Carlos Beltran, +13.3% WPA
Big losers: Marlon Anderson, -8.3% WPA, Carlos Delgado, -5.4% WPA
Teh aw3s0mest play: Beltran two-run bomb, +18.3% WPA
Teh sux0rest play: Torrealba solo shot off Smitty, -9.4% WPA
Total pitcher WPA: +50.6%
Total batter WPA: -0.6%