Sunday, July 29, 2007

Pitching fluctuates across Mets organization

Yesterday, the Mets organization benefited from two sterling pitching performances, endured an abysmal one, and observed a starter with an 0-7 record fail to win again.

Orlando Hernandez pitched the best game: seven innings, three hits, one run, one walk, eight strikeouts.

Mike Pelfrey again failed to win with the Big Club. In six innings he gave up eight hits and three runs, all the runs scoring in the third inning. At least this time he didn't lose and only walked one batter. However, his ERA still's high: 5.92.

Speaking of high ERA's, Guillermo Mota's is 5.40 and Joe Smith's was 3.03, yet Mota remains on the New York roster while Smith's down in Triple-A.

Jason Vargas reaffirmed my belief that he should be sent down to Double-A. In 3.1 innings he got hit hard, giving up 10 hits and four runs to up his ERA to 5.59. It amazes me that he has a winning record (7-6). On Tuesday, another Zephyr pitched well. Adam Bostick pitched five innings of one hit, no run, one walk ball. In his last 12.2 innings he's yielded just two runs.

Nicholas Waechter did what so few New York Mets pitchers have done this season: shown the consistent ability to pitch well. He pitched Brooklyn to a 2-1 victory. In six innings he limited Vermont to four hits and a run. Twenty one year old righty William Morgan pitched the final two innings, giving up no runs, no hits, and no walks, to lower his ERA to 0.90.

In Kingsport 2007 second round draft choice Brant Rustich continues to pitch well. In 8.1 innings he hasn't given up a run, earned or unearned, while striking out nine.

And the disaster of the day occurred in Binghamton. Ahead 7-1 entering the ninth, two Mets' relievers gave up 10 runs to prevent 23 year old Jose Sanchez from achieving his fourth win. Sanchez pitched well enough. In 6.2 innings he held Bowie to seven hits and a run. But then ex-big leaguer Lino Urdaneta entered the game. Against him, in just 1.1 innings Bowie amassed five runs on seven hits and a walk. So Carlos Muniz replaced him. Muniz has been pitching well this season for the B-Mets, but not yesterday.

He faced nine batters in the ninth: double, double, error, single, single, wild pitch, strikeout, error, double. In 0.1 innings he gave up five runs on five hits as his won-lost record dropped below .500. Despite the bombing, Muniz's ERA rose to only 2.50.

There was a positive in the B-Met disaster. Left fielder Jamar Hill went four for four, scoring twice, driving in two runs, and hitting a homer. At 24 Hill's a bit old to be playing in Double-A; however, his .340 average makes it easy to overlook his age.

Last year at St. Lucie Hill hit .258. The Mets selected Hill in the 48th round of the 2001 MLB Player Draft.

Trade of the Day

Two ex-Mets swapped teams. Saturday the Tampa Bay Devil Rays sent infielder Ty Wigginton to the Houston Astros for relief pitcher Dan Wheeler. Wigginton played three seasons for the Mets from 2002-2004, hitting .285; Wheeler played two from 2003-2004, leaving with a 4.29 ERA.

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