The Mets have filed a protest to the league of a scoring decision from Saturday night’s game against the Pirates. Andrew McCutchen‘s liner to third base that hit off David Murphy‘s leg was ruled a double by the official scorer and two RBIs. In case you haven’t seen it, here’s a link to the article that includes video of play under question.

I was sitting behind home plate when this play occurred, and I even tweeted that I was surprised the play was ruled a double. I also did not have the benefit of instant replay at the time. In my opinion, it probably should have been an error. Though I don’t think it’s anywhere near an obvious call.

Now I find this whole situation fascinating. Mainly because I’ve official scored games in the minor leagues and prospect leagues and have dealt with managers and OS’ throughout my career. I know the anger and pressure that can be directed toward official scorers from managers and players making it anything but an easy job.

With all that said, I can’t believe the Mets would challenge this decision to the league. From what it has to go through, where a “group” has to unanimously agree that the play was wrong to be overturned, I just have a hard time seeing this call changing. It’s a judgement call, and it wasn’t blatantly wrong.

Are the Mets that concerned about a couple of earned runs to R.A. Dickey‘s stat line? Really?

It just seems like it’s a waste of time on a play that wasn’t even that obvious to begin with. Not only would it change two runs from earned to unearned, the reversal would take a double and two RBIs away from McCutchen. McCutchen has more to lose in this situation than Dickey. Like all season, here’s hoping this is another situation that the Mets lose.

Troy Tulowitzki went on a tear this week by teeing off early and often against Mets pitching. The 10-2 Rockies swept a four-game series at Citi Field and Tulo was a big reason why.

So how good was his week? Well to put it into perspective, he left Pittsburgh after a four-game series hitting just .214 with three home runs. After his week in New York, he’s now hitting .364 with seven home runs. Tulo badgered Mets pitching at a 10-for-16 mark with four home runs, eight RBIs and five runs in four games. The series including a doubleheader in which Tulowitzki recorded five hits and launched a home run in each game.

And this wasn’t even the thin air at Coors Field. He annihilated the ball at Citi Field, an extreme pitching park. The Mets pitching staff may have nightmares for a while. Don’t look now, but the Mets will be in Colorado in less than a month in early May. I bet they can’t wait to see Tulo and the Rockies again.

Are the Mets really relying this heavily on R.A. Dickey this upcoming season? The Mets signed Dickey to a two-year deal worth about $7.5 million this offseason following his surprising 2010 season where he posted an 11-9 record with 2.84 ERA, 5.4 K/9 and 2.2 BB/9. I’m finding last year just a bit too good to be true.

Dickey’s best ERA prior to 2010 was 2009 with a 4.62 and his six seasons before that, he didn’t have an ERA below 5. Not to mention he didn’t pitch in the Majors at all in 2007. Dickey is 36 years old, had one good season suddenly but I think it’s foolish for the Mets to move forward with him as their No. 2 starter this spring. Yes, Dickey’s a knuckleballer so he could be a workhorse like Tim Wakefield, but not every player to ever throw a knuckleball finds consistent success with it. But the Mets have serious problems if they plan on Dickey being their second arm in the rotation and he struggles to find last year’s success.

Johan Santana, who is making over $20 million a year, is out until most likely at least June. That leaves Mike Pelfrey as your ace for the beginning of the year. While Pelfrey is almost 10 years younger than Dickey, he’s not exactly the model of success either. He had a nice 2010 campaign (15-9, 3.66), but he also had a good 2008 season and followed it up with a step back in 2009 (10-12, 5.03). Does he regress again this year? The Mets can’t afford that at all. They desperately need him to step up and be that starter they can rely on to stop losing streaks if need be.

After Pelfrey and Dickey, you have patchwork that includes the likes of Jonathan Niese, Chris Capuano, Dillon Gee and Chris Young. Gee has five ML games under his belt, Niese just put in his first full season in the bigs, Capuano was a mediocre pitcher at best with the Brewers and Young has appeared in four games in the past year and has more injuries than the entire Mets team suffered last year. Definitely some cause for concern, huh?

Out of this group, Niese holds the most potential by far but there’s no guarantee that he’s going to roll out there and produce behind Pelfrey and Dickey. Plus, even when Santana returns in June or July, what can the Mets expect of him after coming off shoulder surgery last September? It may take him the rest of the summer to shake off the rust and get back into his old form.

It’s going to be another long season for the Mets, one that they may not be able to blame on injuries this time. Even if Dickey meets the lowest bar of expectations for him, the rest of the rotation will need to exceed them for the Mets to put together anything close to a winning season. There’s just too many “if’s” with Dickey and the rotation for me to be confident for the Mets chances in 2011.

MLB fans, GMs and players can now breathe again—the trading deadline has officially passed. Need a recap on everything went down? Here are some trade links to do just that…

MLB Trade Rumors is the authority on the trading deadline, and the folks over there put together a nice rundown of all the trades from the past couple of days.

MLB.com also runs down the plethora of trades today.

Jayson Stark of ESPN gives his winners and losers of the trading deadline.

Big League Stew of Yahoo! ranks the top 10 notable trades from this July.

I had to get my hometown Pirates in here as they were busy as usual on the deadline. Dejan Kovacevic of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette recaps the three trades the Buccos made today. From my viewpoint, the Pirates made some low-risk free agent pickups in the offseason and flipped most of them for some decent, young talent today. Not bad in my book.

Am I the only one who didn’t like the Jake Westbrook deal for the Cardinals? I mean parting with young hitter Ryan Ludwick for Westbrook when they also went after Oswalt and Lilly and end up with Westbrook. Seems like they panicked to me and settled for the lesser of three pitchers. I could see Westbrook find his groove against NL hitters, but it’s still a downgrade after losing out on Oswalt and Lilly.

Speaking of the Indians, they found a taker for Kerry Wood!?! The Tribe sent the struggling closer to the Yankees for a player to be named later or 500k. Uh, I’m pretty sure that cash will work just fine. I could see the Indians going to the Yankees in the offseason and say, “You know what, don’t bother sending anyone for the deal. We’re good.”

FanGraphs breaks down the Octavio Dotel trade to the Dodgers and wonders, along with many, what the Dodgers are doing giving up too much for bullpen arms, including a top prospect in Andrew Lambo now with Pittsburgh.

Also, the Reds stood pat and made zero moves. Interesting. After trading for Yunel Escobar earlier this month, the Blue Jays also were quiet at the deadline along with the Tigers, Mets, A’s (Billy Beane must have been sick), Brewers (they’re in contention though, that’s it), Red Sox and Rockies.

Well the non-waiver trade deadline gone, tomorrow is August 1 and back to our regularly scheduled program of baseball while teams battle for pennants the last two months of the season.

After watching the Pirates continue to invent ways to lose on the road, I always find myself saying “they have to be the worst road team of all-time.” Well, I looked it up and well, I wasn’t far off at all.

The Pirates are currently a putrid 11-37 in road games this year, which comes out to a nice .229 winning percentage. Running the stat of worst road records since 1950 on Baseball-Reference’s Play Index, there are only two teams with a worst winning percentage than the 2010 Pirates. Two teams in 60 years of baseball. Think about that for a minute. The two teams are the 1962 and ’63 Mets, who were god awful with an 18-62 (.225) and 17-64 (.210) those years, respectively. Their records were obviously a full season, while the Pirates current record is just the first half, but holy shit, it’s still pathetic. Those two Mets teams were the first two expansion years of their franchise, so you can kind of give them a pass. They at least had an excuse. The Pirates just suck.

The Pirates will have trouble avoiding their worst road record in franchise history as the ’52 Bucs are at the bottom of the list with a 19-58 (.247) record.

Will the 2010 Pirates continue to play baseball at a .229 pace on the road this year? Probably not, I mean that would actually be difficult to do but if any team could pull it off, it would be the Buccos.

There were plenty of intriguing story lines and notes around the league on Wednesday night that you wouldn’t necessarily find by reading the boxscore. I thought I’d dive into a couple of them with this post.

  • Reds superb rookie pitcher Mike Leake suffered his first loss of his pro career in a 6-2 loss to the Dodgers. His record now falls to 5-1, but a quick look into Baseball Reference’s Play Index shows that Leake had a truly great start to his career, going 12 games before receiving his first loss. As you can see from the link, he ranks eighth on the list of most games before being tagged with a loss to start a career tied with Jered Weaver and Mike Nagy. Not bad at all for a guy that bypassed the minors entirely for Cincinnati. Current Washington Nationals pitcher Livan Hernandez is also on the list with 13 games, but first place belongs to Kirk Rueter who enjoyed a 22-game stretch over the course of two seasons before losing a ML game.
  • These days when fossil Jamie Moyer wins a game, he seems to break about two new records every time. Wednesday night he became the oldest pitcher to defeat the Yankees as he stifled them with three hits allowed in 8.0 innings of work. He beat the Yankees at the tender age of 47 years, 155 days, surpassing Phil Niekro as the oldest player to accomplish that task. The win only came one outing after his worst start of his career (1.oIP, 9ER). Oh, it was his 256th career victory. He’s the closest active pitcher to 300 wins, and despite his age I’m starting to think he may just pitch forever.
  • Leave it to the Pirates to play their worst on the night when the majority of their fans are tuned in to see uber-prospect Pedro Alvarez’s debut in the majors. His first start was very quiet for him as he went 0-for-2 with a walk and run scored, but the Pirates were a mess. They committed a season-high six errors to hand the White Sox a 7-2 victory for their 10th consecutive loss. Pedro must have thought he was still in the minors with the poor pitching and defense around him. Then again, he contributed as well with one of the six errors. It can only go up from here, right?
  • The Mets defeated the Indians again Wednesday night for their sixth straight victory. They sit a half game back of the Braves in the NL East and are a nice 11-2 in June, but I would be more willing to believe it if they didn’t get two of the worst opponents to start interleague play this month—the Orioles and Indians. Let’s see how they fare against their next three opponents, who should prove to be more of a match with the Yankees, Tigers and Twins.
  • Michael Young became the Rangers all-time hits leader with 1,748 hits, passing Ivan Rodriguez in 91 fewer games. I seriously didn’t think Young has been around that long and had to look it up that he’s actually in his 11th season…and he’s a six-time all-star and should be one again this year. The dude can hit too in those 11 years with a career.303 average. The Rangers are currently playing stellar baseball, which may lead me to write a post about them in the recent future.
  • I’ll end on a preview for Thursday afternoon if you enjoy pitching duels. The Rockies and Twins final game of a three-game series will feature Ubaldo Jimenez versus Francisco Liriano in what could be a showdown of eventual Cy Young winners later this season. As far as I can tell from my quick research, no future Cy Young winners have ever faced each other in the regular season that they ended up winning the award. Something to keep an eye on as Ubaldo and Francisco go at it later this afternoon.

Is there anyone in the National League that’s improved more in one year than Mike Pelfrey?

Pelfrey continued his bounce back season last night by tossing seven shutout innings against the suddenly punch-less Phillies (Mets shut them out in three straight games). The Mets right-hander improved to 7-1 with a sparkling 2.54 ERA in 10 starts in 2010. He even picked up a save in his only outing out of the bullpen in mid-April. Pelfrey has been a huge shot in the arm for the 25-23 Mets being their most effective starter to date, and that includes better than Johan Santana.

After his breakout season in 2008 (13-11, 3.72) Pelfrey was terribly inconsistent all of last year before finishing 10-12 with a 5.03 ERA in 31 starts. So what’s the difference through 10 starts this year? Well for one thing he’s not allowed as many hits and home runs are significantly down. Last year, Pelfrey gave up 10.4 H/9 while he’s down to 8.1 H/9 in 2010. He also served up 18 long balls last season, but has only seen three bombs go against him this year. While his BB/9 is essentially the same, his strikeouts are up from 5.2 to 6.2 K/9. He’s also getting better defense/luck behind him with a .285 BAPIP (batting average on balls in play) down 35 points from his 2009 BAPIP of .321.

It’s definitely possible that Pelfrey will eventually balance out a bit and see his ERA rise somewhere in the 3.00 range, but one thing is for certain—this is the pitcher the Mets thought they were getting with the ninth overall pick in the 2005 draft. If they are to compete all summer in the NL East, this is the Mike Pelfrey they need.