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Mets (30-31) vs. Padres (27-37) 10:10


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The Sunday after Mike Pelfrey's start, he still had voice recorders in his face as he trudged through questions about Pedro Martinez's return to the rotation -- and, apparently, the probability of his exit.

 

"Would you mind going back to the Minors?" reporters asked. "How about pitching from the 'pen?"

 

All of the attention was amusing for the rest of the Mets' clubhouse, as catcher Ramon Castro even decided to poke in, shoving the handle of his bat up to Pelfrey's face, shaking his head and rubbing his chin after every question. He even chimed in with a few inaudible words.

 

Pelfrey just gave Castro a look and continued to deal with the inquiries. And as it turned out, none of them ended up meaning much, not even Castro's mischievous mumble. When Martinez was inserted back into the starting mix on Tuesday, Pelfrey still had his spot in the rotation, as reliever Carlos Muniz was sent back down to the Minors to make room for Claudio Vargas' move to the bullpen.

 

Now, lining up for his start vs. the Padres on Thursday, Pelfrey is trying relish being a member of the Mets.

 

Considering he allowed two runs in seven innings of work on Saturday, the 24-year-old righty can feel a little better about his job security.

 

"Not being sent down was a confidence boost for me," Pelfrey said. "It says they believe in me and see that I'm improving, that I'm making strides every fifth day. I figured I've had five good starts and five bad. I need to be more consistent. Now they're giving me a chance to do that."

 

Despite his 2-6 record, Pelfrey can point to two consecutive losses vs. the Reds and Nationals where he gave up a combined three earned runs. His strike-to-ball ratio is also improving, as he's registering a winner's proportion of more than 60 strikes in about 100 pitches of work.

 

All the while, the questions about Pelfrey's spot in the rotation have ceased. He understands the worry, though, as he was prepared for the worst, as well.

 

"I was ready to go down if I had to," Pelfrey said. "But I thought maybe I could avoid it. ... And I believe I'm getting better. I'm looking forward to pitching and getting more experience."

Pitching matchup

NYM: RHP Mike Pelfrey (2-6, 4.98 ERA)

Pelfrey's second chance begins on Thursday. The Mets added Martinez to the roster on Monday night, and, rather than demote Pelfrey, they retained him in the rotation -- that wasn't necessarily the plan until he pitched effectively on Saturday against the Dodgers -- and shifted Vargas to long relief. Muniz was demoted instead. Pelfrey had allowed seven hits, a walk and two runs in seven innings against the Dodgers, his second encouraging performance in four starts.

 

SD: RHP Josh Banks (2-0, 0.00 ERA)

Six days after he pitched six scoreless innings in the Padres' 18-inning victory against the Reds, Banks took a four-hit shutout into the ninth inning before allowing a two-out, RBI single to Giants center fielder Aaron Rowand. Regardless, he produced the first complete-game victory of his career -- in his third big league start. Banks had five strikeouts and didn't walk a batter, throwing 60 pitches through six innings and 101 over all, 69 for strikes. He has allowed one run, unearned, in his first three games with the Padres, spanning 17 innings.

 

Tidbits

Raul Casanova returned to Puerto Rico to attend his father's funeral. He was placed on bereavement leave and was replaced by catcher Robinson Cancel, who was summoned from the Mets' Triple-A New Orleans affiliate.

This date in Mets history

June 5: On this date in 1966, Ron Hunt hit the Mets' first inside-the-park home run at Shea Stadium -- off Sandy Koufax. It produced the Mets' third run in a 16-3 loss at Shea Stadium. ... The Mets used their first selection in the annual amateur draft to select an 18-year-old former speed skater from Lincoln High School in Brooklyn on this date in 1973. Within three years, Lee Mazzilli was playing center field at Shea, making basket catches, a la Willie Mays. He wore No. 12 as a rookie and No. 16 soon thereafter, trading uniform numbers with John Stearns. By the following summer, Mazzilli was a matinee idol, the centerfold center fielder, and one of the focal points of the marketing campaign "Bring your kids to see our kids" that the club launched following the trade of Seaver.

 

On this date in 1977, the Mets swept a doubleheader from the division-champion-to-be Phillies, winning, 6-5 in 10 innings in the first game and 3-2 in the second game. The victories were the fifth and sixth in their first seven games under player-manager Joe Torre. The Mets would win 43 and lose 67 thereafter, finishing in last place for the first time since 1967. Torre, the first player-manager since Solly Hemus in 1959, retired as a player 13 days later, three days after Seaver was traded. But on this date, he inserted himself into the first game of the doubleheader as a pinch-hitter and received a long standing ovation from the Shea crowd.

 

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Every dog has its day, and every player has his piñata, his personal punching bag. Friday is Luis Castillo's day.

 

Chances are none of the maladies that have beset the Mets second baseman will keep him from playing in the second game of the four-game series against the Padres. Castillo will be drawn to the lineup as a bear is to honey if only because Randy Wolf is to start for the Padres.

 

Castillo seemingly turns into Chase Utley at the sight of Wolf. His production soars against the left-handed veteran starter. Castillo's slugging percentage in 45 career plate appearances against Wolf is .650, a figure 95 points higher than Henry Aaron's career percentage and one that would have ranked fifth in the National League through Wednesday.

 

The figure isn't extraordinarily high, but Castillo's overall career percentage is .357, 117 points lower than Terry Forster's.

 

Nearly 85 percent of Castillo's career hits have been singles. But against Wolf, he has produced a .425 batting average and a .465 on-base percentage along with the .650, the highest slugging percentage he has against any active pitcher he has faced at bats at least 10 times. He has four doubles, a triple and a home run.

 

No other component of the Mets batting order batters Wolf to such a degree, though Carlos Beltran has a .636 slugging percentage and a .318 batting average against the Padres starter. And just as surprising as Castilo's production is the lack of production by David Wright.

 

Almost always a force against left-handed pitching, Wright has two singles, four strikeouts and a .133 batting average against Wolf.

 

So go figure.

 

Pitching matchup

NYM: LHP Johan Santana (7-3, 3.20 ERA)

Santana gained his 100th career victory and did so in dominating fashion, allowing one run and striking out six in 7 2/3 innings. He pitched aggressively with his fastball and closed out multiple batters with his off-speed pitches. He still is learning National League lineups. He hasn't seen much of the Padres. In two career appearances against them, Santana has a 1-1 record and a 3.55 ERA. No active member of the Padres has hit a home run against Santana.

 

SD: LHP Randy Wolf (3-4, 4.33 ERA)

Wolf pitched effectively in his most recent start against the Giants at AT&T Park Sunday, allowing four hits in six innings. One of the hits was a sixth-inning solo home run to by Aaron Rowand which led to Wolf's fifth no-decision in 12 starts. He has a 9-4 record with a 3.44 ERA in 25 career starts against the Mets. He Has made four starts against them in the last two seasons, winning two and losing one. The Mets have won 14 of the 21 games in which the opposing starter was lefthanded.

 

Tidbits

Willie Randolph says he has considered giving Wright a day off and that he has consulted with his third baseman, the only player in the big leagues not to miss an inning this season. But while the team is playing well and Wright is producing and feeling no fatigue. Randolph is reluctant to rest him for fear of disturbing the rhythm of what Wright and the team is doing. He has the same sense about Jose Reyes who has appeared in all but two of two of the Mets games.

 

This date in Mets history - June 6: A sacrifice fly by Ken Boyer in one game and a home run by Ron Swoboda in the other, each against Elroy Face in the 10th inning, produced the decisive runs in the Mets 1-0, 3-2 doubleheader sweep of the Pirates at Forbes Field on this date in 1967. The doubleheader was the Mets' third in four days. . .After the umpires upheld the Mets' appeal play, ruling Lee Mazzilli out for leaving third base too early on potential sacrifice fly in the ninth inning, the Mets scored in the 13th on a wild pitch to beat the Pirates, 2-1, at Three Rivers Stadium on this date in 1984.

 

Darryl Strawberry hit a two-run, pinch-hit home run against Doug Drabek in the seventh inning to provide the decisive margin in a 4-2 Mets victory against the Pirates at Shea Stadium on this date in 1987. ... A year later, Strawberry hit a two-run home run against Larry McWilliams in the sixth inning to give the Mets a lead and drove in two other runs in a 6-2 victory against the Cardinals in St. Louis. ... The ill-fated '92 Mets moved within two games of the first-place Pirates on this date, winning, 15-1, in Pittsburgh. ... Limited to two hits by Tim Wakefield and Tom Gordon, the Mets beat the Red Sox, 1-0, at Fenway Park on this date in 1998 on a combined five-hitter by Bobby Jones (eight innings) and John Franco. Brian McRae scored the run in a balk charged to Wakefield in the sixth inning. . .The Mets scored seven runs in 2 2/3 innings against Roger Clemens and beat the Yankees, 7-2, at Yankee Stadium on this date in 1999.

 

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Baseball would be a lot better off without places like the West Coast.

 

We go back to LA next week.

 

When I saw that we had 3 west coast stints in 4 weeks I said I'd be happy if we go .500 in that stretch so I can't be mad right now...

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Baseball would be a lot better off without places like the West Coast.

 

We go back to LA next week.

 

When I saw that we had 3 west coast stints in 4 weeks I said I'd be happy if we go .500 in that stretch so I can't be mad right now...

 

The Met go .500 in every stretch. The numbers back it up for about 180 games now. A nice little .500 team. Its a shame we are not a .500 team with some players who maybe in a few years will be at their peak with the exception of Wright Reyes and maybe Maine. Ahh well, its just sad.

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Before the ballyhooed and uplifting return to active duty by Pedro Martinez Tuesday night, the Mets had the sense that he could save their season. Now, five days later, they need him to save their self-respect and their road trip.

 

Not that the trip can be repaired all that much. Four losses in the first six games already have assured the Mets of a losing trip record when they fly home Sunday night. Martinez, though, can remove some of the sting and some of the stink. No team with aspirations for October should suffer two four-game sweeps in less than a month. Moreover, a victory on Sunday in the fourth game against the Padres would enable the Mets to show up at Shea Tuesday night with a .500 record, a coat of camouflage as it were.

 

All Martinez needs to do is help the Mets score more than once and help to prevent the Padres from scoring their daily two runs. Who knows what the Mets can accomplish if they can get by this 2-1 curse the Padres have put on them? Martinez did have two hits and an RBI Tuesday night.

 

More to the point, he pitched effectively, allowing three runs, seven hits and three walks in six innings. He had enough stuff and stamina to get to 109 pitches witch a chance to win.

 

The Giants weren't the greatest challenge, but the Padres' offense is nothing if not modest. Even in winning four straight games, the Padres have scored but eight runs. If Martinez can hold at one, he's got a chance for a no-decision.

Pitching matchup

NYM: RHP Pedro Martinez (1-0, 6.75 ERA)

With his tongue in his cheek, Willie Randolph said what he wanted to see from Martinez was merely a quality start. That much was provided, along with some promise when Martinez pitched well -- not exceptionally -- against the Giants on Tuesday in his first start since April 1. He allowed three runs on seven hits and three walks. He struck out three -- two coming on a nasty changeup and nastier curve. And he showed he had some stamina, throwing 109 pitches.

 

SD: LHP Wilfredo Ledezma (0-2, 4.43 ERA)

Ledezma was done in by his command more than anything else in his most recent start against the Cubs on Tuesday. He allowed three runs on three hits, but walked five in 4 2/3 innings. One of the walks was intentional, but another forced in a run. It was his second bases-loaded walk this season. Ledezma retired eight of the first nine batters that he faced but struggled with his control thereafter. He threw 100 pitches, but 44 of them were balls.

Tidbits

This date in Mets history -- June 8: Charlie Neal drove in Jim Hickman with a sacrifice fly in the ninth inning, providing the decisive run -- it was unearned -- in a 4-3 Mets victory at Wrigley Field in the first game of a double header on this date in 1962. The victory ended the Mets' losing streak at 17 games, still a franchise record. The 10th-place Mets were 23 1/3 games from first place after splitting the doubleheader and 3 1/2 games behind the ninth-place Cubs. The victory was one of four in a six-game sequence. But after that sequence, the Mets lost 19 of 23 and 37 of 48. ... A two-run home run by Art Shamsky and a five-hitter by Jim McAndrew produced a 2-0 Mets victory against the Astros at the Dome on this date in 1970. McAndrew, who allowed only singles and one walk, pitched three shutouts that season and six in his first 60 big league starts.

 

A 7-1 victory against the Pirates at Shea Stadium, fueled by two home runs by Darryl Strawberry and one by Gregg Jefferies, initiated a 29-game surge by the Mets on this date in 1990. They won 25 of the 29 to move from fourth place, 9 1/2 games behind the first-place Pirates, to second place, a half game behind. ... Rick Reed pitched a three-hitter in the third shutout of his career in the first game ever between the Mets and Devils Rays, at Shea, on this date in 1990. Mike Piazza hit a home run in the 3-0 victory.

 

 

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I would rather watch paint dry then spend time watching the 2008 Ny Mets. In all my years of watching sports they are the most unenjoyable pro team I have ever rooted for.

 

3 more months and football starts, thank the dear lord.

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