Well, it wasn’t as pretty as the previous three, but a win is a win. Mike Pelfrey got off to a rocky start, giving up three runs and seven hits in his first three innings of work, and it was starting to look like more of the same struggles. However, he got it together and didn’t give up another run, while striking out a career high eight Nationals batters. Even though Big Pelf threw a lot of pitches in his 5.2 innings of work, he only walked one hitter, so it was encouraging that he at least had command of the strike zone. It was clear that he didn’t have his best stuff last night, but the fact that he was able to battle and give New York a decent start instead of crumbling under pressure is a great sign.
After the Mets went down early, they started to crawl back into the game against Edwin Jackson, slowly but surely. First, it was David Wright; he singled in a run in the bottom of the third for his fourth straight game with an RBI, and now only four away from being first on the Mets all-time list. Then, Captain Kirk came up in the fourth inning and hit a hanging breaking ball into the Mo’s Zone in right field, tying the game at three. From then on, it was all about what happened on the mound.
The New York bullpen continued to show their value to the team; when Pelfrey got into a jam in the 6th inning, Miguel Batista came
in and bailed him out. Then, he ran back out for the 7th inning and walked the first two hitters he faced, which led to his exit. Ramon Ramirez answered the call, cool and collected, by retiring the Nationals in eight pitches, ending the inning with a huge double play. With the game still tied, Jon Rauch appeared in his fourth game, and threw two innings for the first time this season. With the help of a fantastic defensive play by Daniel Murphy up the middle to end the eighth, the stage was set for the first comeback win of the year.
Nationals reliever Henry Rodriguez walked Mike Baxter to lead off the ninth. Then, Ruben Tejada came up with the intention of sacrificing himself to put Baxter on second, but Rodriguez threw the ball away, advancing the runners to second and third with nobody out. Up comes Daniel Murphy, who muscled the ball out to right center field to seal the comeback and first walk off win for the Mets this year, helping them improve to 4-0, their best start since 2007.
The offensive stars last night were Murphy, David Wright, and Kirk Nieuwenhuis, who were responsible for all four of the runs scored. However, both Ike Davis and Jason Bay continue to struggle mightily; Davis did not register a hit for the fourth straight game, and has started the season 0-15, with his frustrations starting to show. Justin Turner is slated to start at first tonight, allowing Davis to take a breath. Bay went 0-3 last night and I’m surprised both of them are still getting a steady diet of breaking balls with Duda hitting behind them.
On the mound, Pelfrey did struggle by allowing 10 hits in 5.2 innings pitched, but his one walk and eight strikeouts were impressive. When he was having trouble early on, he had the opportunity to crumble under the pressure, but he rose to the occasion, battled, and kept his team in the game to give them a chance to win. Then, the bullpen once again shined, 3.1 innings of shutout ball, not giving up a hit, and walking three. Jon Rauch gets the win after his two solid innings of work, and Henry Rodriguez gets the loss after not being able to record an out in the ninth.
Probable Pitchers today:
Long reliever turned starter for the time being, Ross Detwiler, will take the mound for the Nationals tonight at Citi Field, facing Dillon Gee, who is trying to revive the success he had against Washington last year (2-0, 3.60 ERA) and at Citi (7-3, 3.17 ERA). The first pitch is scheduled for 7:10pm and the game can be seen on SNY.