Although the Arizona Diamond Backs have been struggling nearly as badly as the Mets have over the past month, they come into New York fully loaded with starting pitchers. Micah Owings, Brandon Webb, and Dan Haren give the Mets reason for pause this week.
The Mets struggles are well documented, both from a seasonal perspective and from the debacle in San Diego last week. But they certainly expected to come home, get some veterans off the disabled list, and get right against the D-Backs and Rangers. After last night it’s clear that the Mets will continue to find ways to lose even with their "A" roster and at home.
Facing Brandon Webb and Dan Haren over the next two days provides the real possibility that the Mets losing streak could run to seven straight games. Webb is currently on pace to win 29 games this season. Take a look at his last ten games:
Other than a bad game in Atlanta on May 26 he’s been consistently solid or fantastic. So there’s no room for error tonight for Mike Pelfrey. The Mets offense will need to make the most of every chance to score that they get. Considering Pelfrey’s inconsistency this season and the Mets team batting line of .254/ .331/ .392 the chances are that’s an unlikely scenario.
What to watch: The Mets could be in big trouble tonight and tomorrow, facing the D-Backs two best pitchers. Former Cy Young Award winner Brandon Webb is on pace for a 29 win season. He beat the Mets on May 3, but didn’t have a great game going six innings and giving up four earned runs. Mike Pelfrey has pitched two quality starts in a row and needs to continue that trend tonight.
I never thought that the Mets would go into Arizona and sweep the D-Backs. They’re playing so well this season, it would seem almost impossible to win all three games there. So if the Mets were going to take two out of three, I figured that they wouldn’t be able to Brandon Webb. And they didn’t.
Webb didn’t pitch that well, so it’s a shame that the Mets couldn’t take advantage of a rare off day for him to get a win. Blame it on Mike Pelfrey, the bullpen, Carlos Beltran’s .208 average, or Endy Chavez’ non-existent bat. Blame it on all of them.
I’m just not seeing the tremendous upside of Mike Pelfrey that the Mets management does. The minor leagues are littered with guys who have great “stuff” but keep hitting bats and can’t throw strikes consistently. That’s what I see in Pelfrey. He was below average again today. His ERA is up to 5.27 now and that’s unacceptable in the rotation. He walked four and struck out one… that’s completely unacceptable!
Pedro Feliciano was pretty bad too, but his ERA was hurt by Scott Schoenweiss coming in and throwing a first pitch meatball to Augie Ojeda with the bases loaded. Ojeda hit it into the corner in right for a double for his 6th RBI of the game. How do you let a number 8 hitter beat you with six RBI’s?
The bullpen has been taxed far too much so far this season. The Mets really need the starters to get deeper into games badly. They can’t keep leaning on the bullpen to cover four or more innings in almost every game. There’s going to be a breaking point.
The Mets still have a chance to win the series tomorrow. Hopefully, they’ll be able to take this series before moving on to Los Angeles on Monday.
New York Mets (15-12) at Arizona Diamond Backs (20-9) 3:45pm
Mike Pelfrey (2-1) vs. Brandon Webb (6-0)
TV: Fox Radio: WFAN
What to watch: Going against Webb is a really tough draw for the Mets. He won the Cy Young Award two years ago, and looks like he’s on his way to doing it again this year. If Carlos Beltran can wake up offensively the Mets will have a much better chance against Webb.
When Johan Santana was traded to the Mets this off-season I was thinking that he would win the Cy Young Award for the National League hands down. He still might do that but there are other pitchers having better April’s than Santana.
Brandon Webb (6-0) has been lights out this year and won the award two years ago. His 1.28 ERA and the Diamond Backs early season success has him as the early favorite.
Jake Peavey (2-1), last year’s winner, has a 2.09 ERA in San Diego. With little offensive support and the D-Backs looking like a runaway train in the West, he probably won’t win it again even with another big season.
Johan Santana (3-2) is still in the running. His 3.12 ERA is just fine but not elite material yet. He’s still got plenty of time to take his place among the league leaders so don’t get down on him (or boo him).
John Donovan at Sports Illustrated wrote a good analysis of the pitchers that have Cy Young Award aspirations this season, and the talent to get the award.
Check out the picture of Santana’s 2006 awards: Cy Young Award, MLBPA Players Choice Award, and Baseball America Player of the Year.
Image via WikipediaI’m sure you all know about Curt Schilling’s 38 Pitches blog. There are other baseball insiders blogging too. I read in The Hardball Times today that A.J. Hinch has a blog as well. He’s the Director of Player Development for the D-Backs. His blog is called D-backs On Deck. It’s very interesting reading.
Although we haven’t seen the D-Backs yet this season, I’ve seen plenty of highlights on my favorite show, ESPN’s Baseball Tonight. Everyone knows about Brandon Webb and Randy Johnson but they’ve got a ton of really good young players on that team. They could contend for years with that team.
The success of the D-Backs makes Hinch’s blog especially interesting. Check it out.