If the Mets Are Gonna Lose, At Least They Lose Colorfully

Umpire changes call and the floodgates open

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    NEWSLETTERS

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    The most disturbing part of Monday night's Mets loss wasn't the fact that the umpires got together and decided Scott Rolen got hit by a pitch with the bases loaded during the fifth inning.

    It was distressing, to be sure, to see the umpires huddle and then award Rolen first base after home plate ump Jerry Meals initially called an inside pitch by Mike Pelfrey a foul tip that was caught by Rod Barajas for strike three. Rolen argued, Dusty Baker argued and the umpires conferred and changed the call. That's no good.

    If you aren't going to have instant replay, you have to deal with blown calls. That's not the right way to do things, but it is Bud Selig's way and it doesn't matter how much Baker might disagree with the way things go. The replay, as it happened, was inconclusive on everything except for the fact that there was no way Rolen foul tipped the ball.

    Far more disturbing, though, was what happened with Pelfrey later in the inning. Drew Stubbs was at the plate with two outs and no further damage done when Meals blew a call on what would have been strike two. Pelfrey was obviously steamed as he looked out into the outfield and it quickly became clear that the call was gnawing at his mind as he tried and failed to get the Mets out of the inning. Stubbs singled, light-hitting Corky Miller doubled and then pitcher Travis Wood tripled to turn a one-run game into a 7-1 Reds lead and Pelfrey was out before the fifth was over. 

    This is troubling because Pelfrey's biggest knock entering this season was his mental makeup. Who can forget the game against the Rockies last year when Pelfrey got rocked and then went running around the parking lot in an effort to get his mind back in order? If he's going to truly turn into the ace that he looked like for long stretches of this season, Pelfrey has to avoid meltdowns like the one he experienced at Citi Field on Monday. 

    The good news is that Pelfrey recognizes that need

    "For the first time in over a year, I let my emotions get the best of me," Pelfrey said. "It wasn't very good on my part."

    Not good at all, especially in light of the ragged results Pelfrey's been turning in of late. He's not a guy the Mets want to have questions about in the second half and, suddenly, there's reason to doubt some of the growth we saw in the first two months.

    Josh Alper is a writer living in New York City and is a contributor to FanHouse.com and ProFootballTalk.com in addition to his duties for NBCNewYork.com. You can follow him on Twitter.