Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Victories for both the Mets and the Zephyrs

The Mets weren't the only ones to get good pitching yesterday. Though limited to two hits by Cards starter Mike Maroth, they managed to hit two home runs, the second the gamewinner, as they defeated St. Louis 2-1 in 11 innings. Former New Orleans Zephyr, Jorge Sosa, limited the Cards to six hits and a run in six innings, throwing 101 pitches in the process.

"What's a Zephyr?" you ask.

Until this year, the Mets Triple-A team was the Norfolk Tides. Now it's the New Orleans Zephyrs.

I can relate to tides. I've seen many a tide while standing on the Coney Island boardwalk watching the waves roll in. I've never seen a Zephyr, at least I don't think I have. In fact, I had no idea what a Zephyr was until I looked it up today in a dictionary. Turns out it's a breeze gently blowing in from the west. Why a baseball team would be named after a breeze beats me. But while the team's name is “beating” me, the team's beating its Pacific Coast League competition. Yesterday, behind Philip Humber's seven innings of shutout ball, the team upped its division-leading record to 42-35.

Humber, the Mets' first-round draft choice (third overall) in the 2004 First-Year Player Draft who missed a number of games earlier in his pro career due to Tommy John Surgery, upped his record to 8-5. He's not having a great season, not with a 4.46 ERA nor with giving up 89 hits in just 84.2 innings. But then the Zephyr's pitching staff's not having a great year. Starter Jason Vargas, whom the Mets got in a trade with the Florida Marlins along with Adam Bostick for Henry Owens and Matt Lindstrom, both of whom are on the Marlins roster, has an ERA of 4.48; starter Adam Bostick has an ERA of 6.71; starter Jose Santiago has an ERA of 5.29; starter Brian Lawrence has an ERA of 4.36; and starter Mike Pelfrey has an ERA of 3.44. Not very good.

In contrast, the Yankees Double-A team in Trenton, NJ, has four pitchers with such low ERA's they're ranked among the top eight in the Eastern League in ERA. Their ERA's are 2.30, 2.39, 2.96, and 3.07. No wonder its division-leading record is 47-27.

Maybe the Mets can trade the Zephyr's pitching coach for the Trenton Thunder's.

Not all is on the dark side. The ninth-rated pitcher in the ERA is a Binghamton Met: Kevin Mulvey. His ERA is 3.11.

To put the aforementioned Zephyr pitchers ERAs in perspective, Humber's ERA places him 17th in the PCL, and Varga's 18th. Interestingly, the PCL pitcher ranked tenth in ERA is Yusimero Petit, a former Met prospect who was traded to Florida along with Mike Jacobs and Grant Psomas (who?) for Carlos Delgado.

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