Weak end to week as bullpen blows lead
The week had a little of everything, except for a good beginning, middle or end for the Mets. At least the week finally is over, having wound down pretty much the way it started: with a wrenching one-inning letdown and a loss against a powerful rival.
No blame goes to Mike Pelfrey this time. He pitched well against the Phillies Saturday night at Citi Field. This time it was the bullpen that failed the Mets, who finished an eventful seven-day span with a 5-2 loss.
Pelfrey was pulled with two outs and one on in the eighth and his team up 2-1. Before he could catch his breath in the dugout, Chase Utley had singled home a run and Ryan Howard had doubled home two more. Thus it was so long to the lead and good riddance to the week -- even as it was hello to minority owner-in-waiting David Einhorn, who was at the game.
"I met him in the dugout, welcomed him to the organization -- hopefully," Terry Collins said. "I asked him what he's seen so far. He's very excited to be here. I told him, 'I'll hopefully get a chance to talk to you more later.' "
Players said they did not get a chance to meet Einhorn, whose announcement as the $200-million investor was part of the wild week that began with Pelfrey's seventh-inning meltdown at Yankee Stadium last Sunday.
Not that Pelfrey had anything to do with the events that followed: two firestorms over comments by Fred Wilpon, a couple of apologies by Wilpon, a sorry 11-1 loss in Chicago, a bone-chilling 7-4 win there a night later, an injury to key pitcher R.A. Dickey, a lead squandered by the Mets' bullpen Friday, and reports that Einhorn either will become the majority owner or get to keep one-third of the team while getting his $200 million back.
Now that's a week.
Pelfrey at least got some closure in a strong start against Cole Hamels (7-2), rebounding from an inning in which the Yankees scored eight runs against Pelfrey and three relievers. "You can't re-enact the seventh inning at Yankee Stadium. He was throwing the ball great until that," Collins said. "He has been throwing the ball very well."
As he did in the Bronx last Sunday, Pelfrey had six strong innings. This time he had an easy seventh. He got two-thirds of the way through the eighth, too, until Collins pulled him after a single by Jimmy Rollins.
"I felt good. I knew I was up to 115 pitches," said Pelfrey, whose 116th was the Rollins hit. "Physically I felt fine. Being a competitor, you never want to come out. But I completely understand it. Ninety-nine out of 100 times, it works out."
This time it didn't. Losing pitcher Mike O'Connor threw a hanging curve to Utley, who crushed it. "I really feel like I let him down," O'Connor said of Pelfrey. "If I could get that pitch back, I would."
Two batters and two pitchers later, Howard hit the game-winner off Tim Byrdak, who left a slider too high and too much over the plate.
"He pitched his ---- off," Byrdak said. "He needed us to get that job done. We didn't do it."
Nor did the Mets' offense, which did nothing after Jose Reyes -- one of Wilpon's chief targets this past week and one of the apology recipients -- had two hits, two stolen bases and two runs (coming home on singles by Justin Turner and Jason Bay). The Mets didn't have a baserunner after the fourth.
They have dropped six of their last seven and have lost the momentum that had carried them into the Yankees series, which seems like months ago.
It really was only a week. If the Mets are lucky, they never will have another one like it.