Commentary

Pelfrey falls victim to umps, Reds

Fifth-inning reversal leads to another bad night for right-hander

Updated: July 6, 2010, 9:39 AM ET
By Ian Begley | Special to ESPNNewYork.com

NEW YORK -- Mike Pelfrey lost his cool on a hot Monday night. He also had one of his worst outings of the season. The Cincinnati Reds scored six runs in the fifth inning off Pelfrey -- five of which came with two outs -- and the New York Mets' comeback ran out of gas in the late innings of an 8-6 loss at Citi Field.

For Pelfrey, keeping his feelings in check and keeping opponents off the scoreboard often go hand-in-hand. So when he couldn't shake off his frustration with the umpires after they overturned a pivotal call in the fifth, things unraveled for the right-hander.

"I thought on my part, for the first time in over a year, that I let my emotions get the best of me," Pelfrey said. "It was kind of tough to recover. ... It kind of snowballed on me."

Pelfrey threw an inside fastball to Scott Rolen on a 2-2 count with the bases loaded and none out in the fifth. Initially, plate umpire Jerry Meals ruled that Rolen had struck out after Rod Barajas caught a foul tip. But Rolen ran to first base immediately, as if he'd been hit. Reds manager Dusty Baker came out to argue with Meals as Jerry Manuel met with his infield on the mound. All four umpires huddled in the infield and -- after a three-minute powwow -- ruled that the ball had hit Rolen and he could take first base.

Manuel and Barajas were furious. Barajas had to be held back by David Wright while arguing with the umps. Manuel argued with second-base ump Dan Iassogna, who'd overturned the call, yelling and pointing in an animated fashion. Iassogna eventually tossed Manuel.

Rolen was allowed to take first base on the hit-by-pitch, which forced in Brandon Phillips from third.

"Maybe the home plate umpire missed it, but that's part of the game," said Manuel, who, like the rest of the Mets, was upset that the second-base ump overturned a call that he was more than 100 feet away from. " ... I don't know if you can make it right by telling yourself something that you didn't see."

"I saw [Rolen] pointing at the top of his forearm. And there's no way that it hit his forearm," said Pelfrey, who added that Rolen "will have a good acting career" after his playing days. "It's a tough call to overturn, especially when the guy to overturn it is 100 feet away."

Pelfrey nearly escaped the inning without further damage by getting Jonny Gomes to pop out to short and striking out Jay Bruce.

But Drew Stubbs drove in two with a single to left on a Pelfrey splitter to give the Reds a 4-1 lead.

At that point, Barajas knew that the reversed call had affected his pitcher.

"The Stubbs at-bat, we had a game plan and he saw something different," said Barajas, who signaled for Pelfrey to throw a fastball but instead saw a splitter, which Stubbs hit past Ruben Tejada into left field. "I think this time he got a little frustrated and I think he made a couple of mistakes."

Pelfrey (10-3, 3.39 ERA) then gave up a double to light-hitting Corky Miller (.220 BA) and an inexcusable triple to rookie pitcher Travis Wood before being lifted for Raul Valdes. He allowed seven runs on seven hits and walked four in 4 2/3 innings. The Mets bounced back with five runs in the bottom of the fifth, but they couldn't overcome all the damage the Reds inflicted on Pelfrey. The 6-foot-7 righty has just nine strikeouts in his last five starts (28 1/3 IP) and has an ERA of 6.68 over the same span. Monday night was Pelfrey's first loss at home and the first time he'd allowed more than four runs in a home game this season.

"Mike probably doesn't quite have some of the stuff that he had earlier but I think that he's pitching very well," Manuel said. "Am I concerned with Mike? No, not at all."

Ian Begley is a contributor to ESPNNewYork.com

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Ian Begley

ESPN New York Writer

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