Finally, last night, the Mets did something positive. They didn't throw the ball around and pitch poorly; they actually played a winning style of baseball.
What that did against the first-place Braves was cut the Mets' deficit to 6.5 games in the NL East. With one more game to go against them tonight, the Mets would love to win the series and gain another game on them before heading to Philadelphia.
In order to do that, they'll hope Mike Pelfrey can finally deliver a quality outing, which he hasn't done since June 25.
Pelfrey has been anywhere from not good to awful lately, and he seems to be all over the place mentally. Although the Mets are 6.5 games behind Atlanta, that deficit is not insurmountable, and they'll need Pelfrey to pitch much better if they want to make a run.
Over his last nine starts, Pelfrey's ERA is 7.51. That is just beyond unacceptable. Two of those nine starts have come against the Diamondbacks, and the Mets lost each of those games.
In his last start against Arizona on Friday, Pelfrey pitched 5.2 innings, allowing five runs (four earned) on eight hits. He gave up three runs in the first inning before David Wright tied the game with a three-run home run. He then gave up another run before Wright gave the Mets a 5-4 lead with a two-run home run. Pelfrey gave up one more unearned run before Raul Valdes gave up four earned en route to a 9-6 Mets loss.
The start came after a seemingly bounce-back performance by Pelfrey against the Dodgers, a game in which he only allowed two runs in five innings.
Opposing Pelfrey will be Braves starter Kris Medlen, who has had a good season splitting time between the bullpen and starting rotation. He has appeared in 30 games and has started 13 of them.
His last start came on Friday against the Reds where, in five innings, he allowed three runs on six hits. Overall this season, Medlen is 6-2 with a 3.66 ERA. He has a fabulous strikeout-to-walk ratio at 4-to-1 (20 BB, 80 SO).
The Mets had some great signs in last night's 3-2 victory, and none more than Jeff Francoeur. Haunting his old club, Francoeur hit the game-winning home run off Billy Wagner in the ninth inning, securing a lead for Francisco Rodriguez.
Also, they got much better play defensively from Luis Castillo. What was strange to see was the lack of concentration by Jose Reyes.
He neglected to throw a ball to first base on what could've been a double play, and later in the game failed to hustle to first on a ground ball, not even letting go of his bat on the way down the baseline.
All in all, last night was a great win for the Mets, and it would be extra sweet to steal tonight's game and cut the gap between them and the first-place Braves.
Mike Pelfrey vs. Atlanta this season (three starts)
2-1, 3.24 ERA, 16.2 IP, 24 hits, 10 BB, 8 SO
Kris Medlen vs. New York (May 18)
ND, 6.1 IP, 2 ER, 4 hits, 2 BB, 6 SO, 2 HR
2010 season series (New York vs. Atlanta)
April 23: New York 5, Atlanta 2
April 24: New York 3, Atlanta 1
*April 25: New York 1, Atlanta 0
May 17: New York 3, Atlanta 2
May 18: Atlanta 3, New York 2
July 9: Atlanta 4, New York 2
July 10: Atlanta 4, New York 0
July 11: New York 3, Atlanta 0
August 2: Atlanta 4, New York 1
August 3: New York 3, Atlanta 2
Mets lead series 6-4
*-Denotes rain-shortened five-inning game