Dogs and cats must be living together somewhere because the Mets have reeled off four straight wins and suddenly look like a respectable team. They now trail the Rockies by 5.5 games for the Wild Card with like 47 teams in between them, but any hope is good hope as the season makes a mad dash for August. Good hope could quickly become bad, bad hope if Omar Minaya wakes up tomorrow and trades Brad Holt and Josh Thole for Jason Marquis, what with the Mets teetering on the brink of pseudo-contention now.
Mike Pelfrey had a strong start tonight, but it was decidedly un-Pelfrey-esque. His was throwing gas -- hitting 96 on the stadium's carnival radar gun in the seventh inning -- but his sinker didn't have it's usual sink, leading to six groundball outs to eight flyball outs. He did get two timely double-play grounders (plus two important pop-outs from Clint Barmes with two outs and the bases loaded) and managed to keep his nose clean despite allowing eleven baserunners in 6.1 innings. The overpowering fastball led to five strikeouts and an 8.7% swinging strike rate, well above his 5.3% season mark.
Pedro Feliciano was the pitching star of the day, though, as he retired all five batters he faced, three via strikeout. Sean Green closed out the night with a scoreless ninth to secure the Mets' 4-0 win and their seventh shutout of the season (they've been shut out nine times).
On the offensive side, Luis Castillo reached base twice and saw 26 pitches in four trips to the plate. Jeff Francoeur drove in a run with a second-inning single and saw 7 pitches in four plate appearances (including a hit-by-pitch). Seven-In-Four: a new nickname is born?
Daniel Murphy picked up a single, a double and a walk, raising his on-base percentage to a still-not-respectable-especially-for-a-first-baseman .313. Alex Cora collected a pair of singles but was erased trying to stretch one into a double and I hate him.
Including Cora, the Mets gave away three outs on the basepaths, as David Wright and Jeremy Reed were both caught stealing, Reed on the front end of an awkwardly botched double-steal. Castillo would've been a fourth if not for a propitious call by home plate umpire Larry Vanover in the bottom of the eighth.
Yup, four straight wins with Johan Santana going on Wednesday. It could all come crashing down in a heap of smoldering wreckage at any time, but the games have actually been worth watching these last few days which is something I couldn't say for most of July.
Big winners: Mike Pelfrey, +30.1% WPA, Pedro Feliciano, +10.9% WPA
Big losers: Angel Pagan, -6.8% WPA, Cory Sullivan, -6.4% WPA
Teh aw3s0mest play: Castillo RBI single in third, +9.1% WPA
Teh sux0rest play: Sullivan GIDP in second, -6.6% WPA
Total pitcher WPA: +42.5% WPA
Total batter WPA: +7.5% WPA
GWRBI!: Jeff Francoeur
Nice job by Jadden Hopkins; his effort in the game thread embiggens us all.
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