Thursday, April 15, 2010
Reyes prefers more third gearing
By Adam Rubin
Jose Reyes suggested he may not be ready to bat third in the lineup this weekend in St. Louis, even though manager Jerry Manuel has designs on that occurring. Reyes said he’s not opposed to landing in the third spot rather than his customary leadoff role. He just still feels rusty after three weeks of spring-training inactivity due to a thyroid issue. Reyes went 0-for-5 in Wednesday’s 6-5, 10-inning loss to the Colorado Rockies, dropping the shortstop’s average to .222 in four games since returning.
“I’m not ready yet for that,” Reyes said. “Jerry hasn’t told me anything yet. He said maybe. It’s possible. He said by this weekend I’ll be fine. Let’s see how I feel tomorrow. I don’t want to hurt the team. But if I’m ready, I’m open to doing it.”
THROWN FOR CURVE: The high-altitude-induced dryness in Denver, which used to affect Tom Glavine’s grip, posed a similar problem for left-hander Jon Niese. Niese suggested he had difficulty throwing his signature curveball Wednesday. The rookie was charged with five runs on nine hits while striking out two, walking one and hitting two batters in five innings. He departed with the Mets trailing, 5-3. The big blow came on a three-run homer by Ryan Spilborghs in the third inning, on a two-seam fastball Niese left over the plate. An inning earlier, Clint Barmes delivered an RBI double on an ineffective curveball.
“I really didn’t have a feel for my curveball,” Niese said. “I tried to throw it for a first-pitch strike and I just really couldn’t get it there. … It’s tough to get a good curveball going here. I left a lot of curveballs hanging in the bullpen when I really wanted to bounce it. To Barmes, I left that hanging and he hit it.”
The final run charged to Niese could have been prevented with better execution by Mets fielders.
With opposing pitcher Aaron Cook on second base and two out, Dexter Fowler singled to right field. Respecting Jeff Francoeur's arm, Cook held as first baseman Mike Jacobs cut off the throw in the infield. Fowler had made a seemingly ill-advised dash for second, and Jacobs threw to Reyes to retire him. The problem: Fowler ended up being safe, and Cook scampered home.
“We just didn’t get rid of the ball quick enough,” Manuel said about Jacobs’ cutoff. “We had everything right. We just didn’t execute that part of it.”
ONE-TWO-THREE: Japanese right-hander Ryota Igarashi had his best outing since joining the Mets, pitching a perfect ninth inning to force extra innings.
“I thought my fastball was moving properly -- forkball as well,” Igarashi said through an interpreter. “I was handling the batters properly and also communication, getting the signs down with the catchers.”
Said Manuel: “I thought Igarashi pitched extremely well. This is the best I’ve seen him. I’m very excited about what he has to offer for us going forward.”
RUNNING GAME: Right-hander Mike Pelfrey was so mentally fried after allowing seven runs in four innings, including homers to the Rockies’ Todd Helton and Carlos Gonzalez, last Sept. 1, he left Coors Field in-game and began running around the adjacent parking lot. Now, Pelfrey insisted, he’s in a better place mentally.
“I am in more control of myself now than I’ve ever been,” Pelfrey said. “I plan on going out there and doing well. And, if I don’t, you don’t have to look in the parking lot for me, because I won’t be there. I’m so much more in control of myself that it’s not even an issue anymore.”
ODDS & ENDS: Chris Iannetta joined Dante Bichette (April 26, 1995) as the two Rockies to produce walk-off homers against the Mets. … The Mets are 0-4 in extra-inning games at Coors Field ... David Wright homered in consecutive games for the first time since 2008. … Left-hander Randy Flores, who came on to retire Alex Cora for the final out in the top of the 10th to strand two runners, beat the Mets for the first time since Game 7 of the 2006 National League Championship Series with the St. Louis Cardinals. … Jeff Francoeur has a hit in all eight games this season. … The last pitcher to allow a walk-off homer for his first major-league homer was Boston Red Sox rookie Junichi Tazawa on Aug. 7, 2009 against Alex Rodriguez in a 15-inning game. … Jacobs improved to 3-for-18 this season with a broken-bat double off the right-field wall with one out in the 10th. Jacobs also walked twice.