Print and Go Back ESPN.com: New York Mets [Print without images]

Thursday, May 13, 2010
Diagnosing Pelfrey's problems

By Mark Simon

Craig Stammen's pair of RBI singles off Mike Pelfrey on Wednesday are symptomatic of a bigger issue that has plagued the Mets' righty in 2010.

Pelfrey has dominated the top of batting orders, holding them to seven hits and six walks in 68 plate appearances this season, but a check of the splits on Baseball-Reference.com indicates that he's struggled mightily with the bottom third.

No. 7 hitters are 6-for-18 with a .400 on-base percentage. The No. 8 spot is 7-for-15 with two doubles, a triple, and two walks. Most significantly, opposing pitchers are now 5-for-13 against him, with five hits in their last seven at-bats.

The No. 8 spot has actually caused conundrums for multiple Mets pitchers. That part of the order is hitting .331 with a .418 on-base percentage (.394 if you take out three intentional walks), and has caused the Mets more trouble than any spot all season (by contrast No. 3 hitters are hitting just .215).

Opposing pitchers aren't doing so bad either, a .223 batting average to help their cause against the Mets, who have allowed 17 hits to moundsmen, tied for second-most in the National League.

Stammen, by the way, was the first pitcher with a three-RBI game against the Mets without hitting a home run in five years. The last to do that: Brett Tomko with the 2005 Giants.

---

What's plagued Francisco Rodriguez, particularly the last two months of the 2009 season and these first six weeks in 2010? The home run. Roger Bernadina's homer marked the fifth time in the last three-and-a-half months that Rodriguez has given up a home run that either tied a game or gave his opponent the lead.

Also bothersome: Only one of those players who homered off Rodriguez would be what you'd consider an "upper-tier" offensive player (Bengie Molina). The other four -- Everth Cabrera, Justin Maxwell, John Bowker and Bernadina -- are either not known for their power (Cabrera and Bernadina each have two career home runs) or are reserve/platoon players.

Rodriguez has been playing with fire throughout the season. According to Fangraphs, nearly 70% of his balls in play have been hit in the air, up from a career-high 65% last season.

---

Speaking of quirky lists, we couldn't come up with one for batters to hit two home runs and make a game-saving, three-run robbing catch against the Mets. But we did generate an odd one (again, with Baseball-Reference's help) of players who had multi-homer games against the Mets within the first 50 games of their career.

Bernadina did so in his 42nd game, joining Pat Burell (25th career game), Micah Hoffpauir (30th), Leon Durham (32nd), pitcher Derek Lilliquist (40th) and Javy Lopez (46th).