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Sweeping Time Mets (10-6) vs. Phils (8-10) 8:05 PM


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Mike Pelfrey tried to be someone he wasn't last year -- he tried to be too cute. The hulking 6-foot-7, 230-pound Mets right-hander didn't do "cute" very well, like using breaking stuff when heat would have done the trick. He got away -- temporarily -- from what led him to the Majors, hard, rough stuff that challenged batters using strength against strength.

 

Pelfrey was forced to rethink his approach after 2007, when he went 3-8 with a 5.57 ERA with the Mets, after stints in Triple-A New Orleans and Class A St. Lucie.

 

Pelfrey believes he's come up with a solution.

 

"Going back and challenging guys, I think that's been the biggest difference between this year and last year," said Pelfrey, who is on the verge of equaling his victory total, if he and the Mets beat the Phillies on Sunday night to complete a three-game sweep. "I think I'm being more aggressive in the strike zone, throwing more quality strikes.

 

"I'll admit it, at times last year, I probably tried to aim the ball more than just rearing back and letting it go. I tried to be a command guy. I'm someone who has to let the ball go. I feel good when I do that and I think I'm more effective. My bullpens have been good and I think it's just a matter of executing my pitches better."

 

Sunday will be Pelfrey's third start this year and second against the Phillies. In his first start against Philly, Pelfrey benefited from plenty of run support in the Mets' 8-2 victory April 9 at Shea Stadium. In 12 innings this season, he's allowed 10 hits, two runs, while striking out seven and walking four.

 

, but more importantly, the potent Philadelphia lineup is hitting a mere .225 off him.

 

In his only career start at Citizens Bank Park, Pelfrey was the victim of a 5-3 setback July 1, 2007, after going five innings, allowing four hits and three runs (two earned).

 

"There were some mechanical adjustments we had to make and get Mike to keep the ball down," Mets manager Willie Randolph said. "He's had a degree of success; he's been a plus for us. But he still has a long way to go. Before I evaluate anything, there has to be a bigger body of work. I'd like to see how he handles himself on the field, if he's doing the other things, like backing up the right base. Things like that. It's not just about the numbers."

 

Pelfrey's biggest challenge now is remaining aggressive.

 

"Keep throwing strikes and keep my location good," Pelfrey said. "I think I've stopped trying to find things and I've settled more on what I have to do."

Pitching matchup

NYM: RHP Mike Pelfrey, 2-0, 1.50 ERA)

Right-handed hitters are hitting just .174 against Pelfrey in two starts this season, but left-handed hitters are batting .286.

 

PHI: RHP Adam Eaton, 0-0, 4.12 ERA)

Eaton has a 1.74 ERA against right-handed batters in 10 1/3 innings. But he's been lit up by lefties, to the tune of a 6.75 ERA in 9 1/3 innings.

 

Tidbits

Pelfrey, John Maine, Nelson Figueroa and Johan Santana pitched into the seventh inning in the Mets' four most recent games before Saturday. Not since Aug. 13-17 have Mets starters had four successive starts of than length. Then the pitchers responsible were Jae Seo, Pedro Martinez, Kris Benson and Tom Glavine.

 

This date in Mets history -- April 20: Tom Seaver gained the first victory of his big league career on this date in 1967. He beat the Cubs at Shea Stadium, allowing eight hits and no walks and striking out five in 7 1/3 innings. The 6-1 victory came against a team he beat 24 times in his career. ... Nine years later on this date, Jon Matlack pitched his second shutout in his first three starts of the season, an 8-0 Mets victory against the Cardinals in St. Louis. Matlack led the league in shutouts, with six, for the second time in three seasons. ... Sid Fernandez (eight innings) and Roger McDowell combined to two-hit the Phillies in an 8-0 Mets victory at Shea on this date in 1986. The victory was the third in a sequence of 11 straight which put the Mets' record at 20-4. ... Melvin Mora hit a home run off Curtis Leskanic with one out in the 10th inning, and the Mets walked off with a 5-4 victory against the Brewers at Shea on this date in 2000. The Mets won seven of nine games against the Brewers that year, putting their record against them in the Brewers' first three seasons in the National League at 20-5. ... And on this date in 2006, Julio Franco hit a pinch-hit, two-run home run to provide the first runs in a six-run rally in the Mets' 7-2 victory in San Diego. He became the oldest player in history -- 47 years, 240 days -- to hit a home run. Earlier, Kaz Matsui had hit a home run in his first at-bat of the season for the third straight year. Only Ken Griffey Jr. had done that, in 1997-99.

 

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that was a nice play at the end. Nothing that can be done about that but jesus, Castillo blows. You have to get those guys over. Again, why does Willie insist that Castillo is his number two hitter? Taking two out of three ain't bad in that little league field.

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Utley needs to get knocked off the plate and not another one of these grazes the shirt knockdowns.

Nothing bad, no intent to hurt just something to back him off the plate a little.

So the Mets fans can cheer when he is down, boo when he gets up?

 

hmmm.

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So the Mets fans can cheer when he is down, boo when he gets up?

 

hmmm.

 

 

So what your saying is that the Mets should just stop throwing Utley

inside? A high and tight throw is nothing new in the MLB and I'd highly

doubt Mets fans would cheer if Utley got hurt at Shea Stadium.

 

 

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So the Mets fans can cheer when he is down, boo when he gets up?

 

hmmm.

Your words not mine.

 

I love how you leave this part of the statement out "Nothing bad, no intent to hurt just something to back him off the plate a little"

 

 

 

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So what your saying is that the Mets should just stop throwing Utley

inside? A high and tight throw is nothing new in the MLB and I'd highly

doubt Mets fans would cheer if Utley got hurt at Shea Stadium.

No, they would.

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Your words not mine.

 

I love how you leave this part of the statement out "Nothing bad, no intent to hurt just something to back him off the plate a little"

 

 

You say that like there is something wrong with it. If a hitter is taking away the inside corner, your job as a pitcher is to reclaim it. It's not dirty, it's baseball. Utley practically sits over top of the black of the inside corner. He then leans INSIDE to take one when he can. THAT is dirty to me purposely getting in the way of inside pitch. All we're saying is throw inside with some heat, and if he's in the way, make it hurt. Next time he will hopefully get out of the way. Why should a pitcher let the batter dictate where he can throw in the strike zone?

 

 

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Your words not mine.

 

I love how you leave this part of the statement out "Nothing bad, no intent to hurt just something to back him off the plate a little"

Read it again, ding dong.

I left that part of your statement in your quote.

 

 

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Read it again, ding dong.

I left that part of your statement in your quote.

 

I refuse to engage in a war of words, call me what you will. Anyway, I did not say you failed to quote it, what I said was you failed to acknowledge that part in your implication that Met fans would possibly boo or cheer the efforts.

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