- Biggest pre-game news I suppose is that neither Ruben Tejada nor Fernando Martinez are in the starting lineup. The struggling rookies were called upon a week ago to improve second base and the outfield, however, the results--at least from an offensive standpoint--have so far left a lot to be desired. "It's tough when the core is not producing," Manuel said. "We felt pretty good that we're upgrading complimentary pieces. We still feel that way about them. They're young players." But, Manuel said, with the struggles they've had it's best to keep them fresh rather than consistently running them out. "For the most part they catch the ball well enough to play the game right," he said.
- To be successful tonight Pelfrey needs to "establish the four seamer and two seamer, but he also needs to keep that same arm speed with off-speed pitches."
- On Angel Pagan, one of this season's pleasant surprises: "I think what you have is a young man that is very talented, but at the same time, needed to slow the game down. A lot of times we don't understand that until late in careers....he has the athleticism to play at this level hopefully for a long time."
- And the best for last: "Now is the time. Now is the time. Now is the time to make that run." He said it not once but three times. And it wasn't a stutter. It looked deliberate. Point is, the Mets can't just start playing winning baseball on September 10. If they're going to pull a Colorado Rockies-like playoff run, it's gotta begin.
8:07 p.m. - Despite a persistent rain (its a bit worse than a drizzle) we are underway here at Citi Field and Jimmy Rollins has already grounded out to the delight of the very few Mets fans in attendance.
8:10 p.m. - Three groundouts and the top of the first is finished. Pelfrey looks a lot like he did in his last start. Lots of groundballs, quick outs, in command.
8:23 p.m. - Luck comes and goes quickly for Jose Reyes. After he reached on a pop-up that probably should have been caught, but dropped just between Rollins and Ibanez for a base hit, Reyes was caught stealing. He looked safe on replays, but it wasn't a "definite safe" it was more of a "close call." Pagan grounded out, Wright singled, Beltran singled (Wright to third) and Davis flew to shallow center to end a rainy first inning.
8:34 p.m. - Outside of a one-out Jayson Werth single (Angel Pagan had it played well and kept him from doubling), Pelfrey got two groundballs and a strikeout to continue his strong start to the game.
8:50 p.m. - Well, Chris Carter singled to lead off the second and two groundouts moved him to third, but Mike Pelfrey struck out on a 3-2 pitch to strand him. Can't really go too crazy on that one.
9:50 p.m. - Sorry for the lack of updates, but I had a story to write for the early edition. The big news? Jimmy Rollins singled, stole second, stole third and scored on Shane Victorino's double to give the Phils a 1-0 lead. Jose Reyes tied the score with a solo shot in the bottom of the third that stayed just inside the foul pole in right, but the Phillies took the lead back with a run in the fifth (with two outs - Victorino singled, stole second and scored on a Placido Polanco single). It's still a close game, obviously, and both pitchers are doing a pretty good job at limiting any damage.
10:03 p.m. - Even when Pelfrey is getting hit tonight, he's getting hit on the ground. Werth tripled to lead off the sixth and, with one out, Ruiz singled him in. Valdez and Kendrick grounded out to end the frame. Hey, at least this one won't be a shutout.
10:20 p.m. - You'd have to imagine Pelfrey is done for the night, and though he wasn't as good as hit eight innings, four hit performance last time out, it's safe to assume the stretch of bad starts he's had recently were more of a blip instead of a course correction. Pelfrey's line: seven innings, seven hits, three runs (all earned), no walks, one strikeout, 16--SIXTEEN--groundouts, two flyballs, 113 pitches, 67 for strikes. Not bad.
10:28 p.m. - Francoeur, pinch-hitting for Pelfrey, nearly jacked a game-tying homer, but it ended up as a deep flyout to the track in left center. Still six outs to get a two-run rally going against the Phillies bullpen...and in the ninth, likely, Brad Lidge.