Pitching coach Dan Warthen wanted Mike Pelfrey to throw a “touch and feel” bullpen session between starts, with fewer than 20 pitches off a mound and at less than full throttle. Pelfrey, who was sent to New York for an MRI after his last start because he had experienced shoulder tightness before and after the outing in Philadelphia, had a different idea.
Pelfrey threw 45 pitches without holding back and pronounced himself fit for Friday’s start at Citi Field opposite San Francisco Giants left-hander Jonathan Sanchez.
“I pushed it,” Pelfrey said. “That was kind of the plan going in -- 15 or 20. I just kept throwing. I felt fine. I just wanted to let it go and see what happened.”
Quipped teammate John Maine: “Maybe he was just trying to pop something back into place. That’s what I’m trying to do.”
PULL WHOM? Had Pedro Feliciano tossed a scoreless 10th inning Wednesday rather than serve up the game-deciding homer to Orlando Cabrera, Jason Bay and David Wright would have been out of the game for the 11th.
Bay, who made the last out in the top of the seventh, was pulled when Hisanori Takahashi entered.
But what did manager Jerry Manuel possibly achieve by leaving in Fernando Tatis and placing him at third base after he pinch-hit in the top of the 11th while removing Wright? After all, Tatis’ spot wasn’t scheduled to bat until eighth in the 12th, while Wright was due up ninth that inning?
Manuel explained that with Rod Barajas already having replaced Henry Blanco, he had no more catchers remaining if Barajas got hurt. And Tatis is the Mets’ emergency catcher since Mike Jacobs’ departure, at least with Alex Cora also already pulled from the game.
Sound logic? Well, it arguably was worth leaving Wright in anyway, since when was the last time an emergency catcher was needed? But, for the record, Manuel did have an explanation. And it became moot after the homer off of Feliciano.
BLANC SLATE: Runners are now 0-for-5 on steal attempts against Blanco. Joey Votto became Blanco’s latest victim, in the fifth inning. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, Blanco is the first Mets catcher since Rick Cerone in 1991 to throw out the first five would-be stealers in a season.
CLUTCH PERFORMERS: Cabrera’s solo homer in the 10th gave him 13 career walk-off RBIs. That’s fourth among active players.
The full list of walk-off RBIs among current players, courtesy of Elias:
David Ortiz, 17
Andruw Jones, 17
Miguel Tejada, 14
Jim Edmonds, 12
Albert Pujols, 12
Jim Thole, 12
Chipper Jones, 12
HIT PARADE: Before left-hander Jon Niese allowed fifth-inning solo homers to Brandon Phillips and Jonny Gomes that gave Cincinnati a 4-2 lead, he had allowed one homer in 33 innings this season. Gomes deserved his shot, but Phillips’ was a product of the hitter-friendly ballpark.
Nonetheless, Niese said he left a curveball up to Phillips.
“I thought I had him off-balance, but he put a good swing on it,” Niese said. “Unfortunately, I think the wind took it out. And Gomes, he gave me a good at-bat. It was a fastball in that didn’t quite get in.”
The 12 hits allowed were a career high, and the most by a Mets pitcher since Johan Santana last July 24. Still, as Niese noted: “A lot of those were ground-ball hits and that sort of stuff.”
ROLE-ING: Frank Catalanotto had a pinch-hit single off Reds closer Francisco Cordero in the ninth, putting himself in position to score the tying run on Jeff Francoeur’s sacrifice fly. Still, Catalanotto is 4-for-23 (.174) this season.
“Cordero is one of the better closers in this game,” Catalanotto said. “To put a good at-bat against him only helps my confidence.”
Gary Matthews Jr., meanwhile, started in right field and snapped an 0-for-15 rut with a third-inning single. Matthews was hitless in his next three at-bats and is hitting .143.
Francoeur said he did not want the day off, and he ended up coming off the bench in the seventh inning.
“I played with torn ligaments in my thumb. I think my elbow is fine,” Francoeur said about his left elbow, where he was twice hit in the weekend series against the Phillies.
STREAK BREAKERS: A day after Fernando Nieve’s scoreless streak ended at 10 2/3 innings when he served up solo homers to Votto and Scott Rolen, Feliciano’s scoreless streak ended at six innings with the leadoff blast in the bottom of the 10th.
“They all down there have been very good so far,” Manuel said. “I feel very confident with bringing those guys in against lefties, righties, whomever. Feliciano is the kind of guy who knows how to bounce back. I don’t expect any issues with him coming back and being in the same situation and getting the job done. I have a tremendous amount of trust in what he brings.”
WRIGHT STUFF: Wright has a nine-game hitting streak. He had four homers on the six-game trip, including a solo homer in the sixth inning off Johnny Cueto on Wednesday that pulled the Mets within 4-3. Wright has seven homers, tied with Barajas for the team lead, and a total he did not reach until July 31 last season.
BEL-TIE: The late Ernie Harwell called the final game at Tiger Stadium. Who made the last out? That would be injured Met Carlos Beltran, who struck out against Todd Jones while playing for the Kansas City Royals on Sept. 27, 1999.
LINE-UPDATE: Manuel suggested he has no plans to dislodge Bay from the cleanup spot right now.
“Since we’ve had a little bit of success there, we’re going to try to ride it out as long as possible,” Manuel said. “He has a history of being somewhat streaky. Hopefully he can get in one of those good streaks when he goes home.”