The undefeated New York Mets moved to 4-0 with a great win over the Washington Nationals tonight at Citi Field. Mike Pelfrey was his vintage self. Not terrible, showed flashes of fine pitching, but ultimately could not get the job done sufficiently. The Nationals jumped out to a quick lead in the first on three singles which eventually plated Danny Espinosa on an Adam LaRoche hit. Pelfrey was not helped by Lucas Duda’s defense in the 3rd on Ryan Zimmerman’s shot into the RF corner. Duda’s sluggish play on the carom helped Desmond score the 2nd run.
Pelf helped himself with a double to lead off the 3rd, and scored on yet another RBI by David Wright. The game was tied in the bottom of the next frame on a 2-run HR by Kirk Nieuwenhuis, for his 1st MLB HR.
The bullpen was once again masterful with Ramon Ramirez coming in with 2 on and no outs in the 7th, and quickly getting a fly ball from LaRoche and a double play grounder from Jason Bay’s soulmate, Jayson Werth
Player of the Game:
Daniel Murphy made a phenomenal play in the top of the 9th on a grounder up the middle which resulted in a force at 2nd to end the inning. The 9th began with pinch hitter Mike Baxter drawing a walk. Ruben Tejada bunted, and reliever Henry Rodriguez made a bad throw to first, allowing Baxter to get to 3rd, where he briefly considered trying to score, but thought better of it with no outs and the meat of the order coming up, and safely retreated to the bag.
Daniel Murphy then came up, and continued what has been a long stretch of serious clutch hitting in his young career. Murph smacked a hit to right center, and ended the game. The Mets won 4-3, moved to 4-0, and continued what has been simply an amazing start to the 2012 season.
Mike Pelfrey was pretty much classic Mike Pelfrey tonight. Mediocre, with some promise due to all of the strikeouts and the lack of walks, but still simply unable to get the job done without allowing 10 hits in 5.2 innings. As usual, throwing hard with decent stuff, but the enigma that is this guy was in classic form. Definitely not helped by Lucas Duda’s lumbering after Zimmerman smacked a double into the RF corner, Pelf still was unable to put out the fire when faced with the less- than-Murderer’s Row offense the Nats mustered in the 1st and 3rd innings.
What’s to Like:
Ramon Ramirez. Trading Pagan for Torres was really an amazing example of trading a player for the player most like himself. The fact that Sandy also received Ramirez—who has had awfully good stats for years—may have been his second fleecing of SF after obtaining Wheeler for Beltran. Ramirez has no ERA, and came into a 2-on, no-out situation and quickly induced a flyout and a double play. This is precisely the type of low key, successful player that good teams have.
Ruben Tejada. This is a smart, thinking, aggressive player. Tejada does not have Reyes’ tools, but he did improve quite a bit during his minor league career, was rushed to the majors, and more and more appears to be a player who not only belongs, but in addition to surehanded fielding and gutty play, seems to be quite able to hit decently and get on base more than expected.
Wright’s continuing resurgence: Still just four games, but Wright already appears to be well on the way to recovering the form we have not seen since the summer of 2009. Key RBIs, drawing walks, not striking out, avoiding outside pitches—Wright looks healthy and confident, and should the problems of the last 2+ years really be behind him, this nice beginning to the year could really hold serious promise.
The bullpen and overall pitching: It’s just four games, but the bullpen has been simply fantastic. Veteran pitchers who used spring training as veteran pitchers do, everyone seems to have come out ready to go. We have seen confidence, aggression, and serious success. If this holds, Alderson’s building of the pen—clearly his major offseason project—will be a major achievement after recent years’ bullpen deficiencies.
What’s Not to Like:
Jason Bay. It’s time for folks to stop believing that he will recover the form he last showed in Boston in 2009. This writer has tried to understandby positing the evidence-less suggestion that Bay may have been a PED user who stopped using upon receiving what would clearly be his last big contract, and regardless of the reason(s), this gentleman is as finished as Bear Stearns. Terrible and anemic in the spring, Bay is in midseason form, with zero power, zero presence, and simply non-existent production at the plate.
Ike Davis’ offense. It is very early, sure, but Ike looks lost. Whining at umps again, unable to hit anything, let’s hope that Ike’s decent but far from spectacular 2010 was not an aberration. Ike continues to play a fine first base though, highlighted tonight by a nice 3-6 putout to get the lead runner on attempted sacrifice bunt by Ian Desmond with no outs in the 9th.
The fun hopefully continues tomorrow at 7:10 PM at Citi with Dillon Gee making his 2012 debut against the Nats’ Ross Detwiler, a 26-year-old lefty with a decidedly checkered career thus far. Ike Davis will be given a sorely needed day off, with the versatile Justin Turner being given his first start of 2012, and learning a new position as well.
This writer has to say that he was surprised at how hard he was rooting in simply the 4th game of 162. True fans everywhere can be forgiven tor being extremely excited at this beginning after the last several years and the less-than-impressive spring training results. It’s far too early to look too far ahead, but this 4-0 start has been simply exhilarating.