Pelfrey chased as Mets fall to D-backs
Miscues in field compound righty's tough outing in opener
PHOENIX -- Mike Pelfrey had the baby blues at Chase Field on Monday night. So did the rest of the Mets.Five days after his wife, Angela, gave birth to their first child -- a boy aptly named Chase -- Pelfrey couldn't quell the pesky D-backs in a 7-4 loss, the Mets' fourth during the first five games of this seven-game trip. "I thought it was strange that I named my kid Chase and my first loss [as a dad] was at Chase Field," said Pelfrey, whose record dropped to 8-8 with the loss. "As I always say, it gets back to executing pitches. I left some balls up and they hit it. That's usually the name of the game." Mets manager Jerry Manuel wasn't enamored, either, with the play of his team and the performance of the right-hander, who has allowed eight runs and 13 hits in back-to-back losses to the D-backs. "We were a bad team tonight," Manuel said. "We didn't pitch well. They had a couple of hustle plays on us that were unacceptable that we addressed. We threw to bases with nobody there. Very poor game, very poor effort. Despite not having the players out there we'd like to have, this is the Major Leagues. We have to play better than that." The offense stranded a runner on third with one out in the fourth, a runner on third with two outs in the fifth and a runner on second with two outs in the ninth. As far as the defense goes, center fielder Angel Pagan tried to make a diving, shoestring catch on a Doug Davis liner with two outs in the second that turned into a two-run double for the opposing pitcher when the ball scooted by Pagan. "I liked the effort, but he has to keep that ball in front of him," Manuel said. In the eighth, Daniel Murphy neglected to cover first base to take a pivot throw from shortstop Angel Hernandez. That play didn't lead to a run, but it was typical of the past 11 days for the Mets, who have lost seven of nine to the D-backs and Padres, the pair of bottom-feeders in the National League West. Manuel said he met with the culprits to discuss all the shortcomings. "We did that privately," he said. Pelfrey missed the first four games of the trip, joining the team from New York when it flew in from San Diego on Sunday night fresh from losing three out of four to the last-place Padres. The D-backs, who were swept by the Nationals in Washington this past weekend, scored five runs off Pelfrey on eight hits. He walked two intentionally and whiffed five in his six innings as Davis (7-10) shut down the Mets on four hits, during his seven-inning stint to earn the victory. Pelfry said that he threw off the mound Saturday at Citi Field in preparation for Monday night's start, but to no avail. "He was OK, nothing great," Manuel said. "He has to do a little bit more with men on base, keeping the damage to a minimum. Executing pitches in those situations is something he's going to have to learn to do. The inconsistency is a concern, his stuff is not. We're very confident that what he has is good enough to compete, but we need to see it on a more consistent basis than we're seeing it now." The Mets came into the game having won 15 of their past 17 at Chase since 2005 but showed little sign of that kind of dominance. Overall, the Mets have lost nine of their past 12, are 10 1/2 games behind the first-place Phillies in the NL East and 10 games behind the Rockies in the Wild Card race. A playoff spot seems to be a distant desert mirage, at this juncture. But guys playing for 2010 roster spots are not. "This is also a time of evaluation," Manuel said. "Going forward you have to say, 'Hey, does this fit or does this not fit?' And we have to react or respond accordingly."
Barry M. Bloom is a national reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.