It was June, not that long ago when the Mets were surging – 11 games over .500 – and Mike Pelfrey and Ubaldo Jimenez were mentioned in the same sentence as budding pitching stars.
Jimenez (17-2, 2.61) has been hit briefly, but still has electrifying numbers. Pelfrey, meanwhile, has gone from 9-1 to 10-6 with a 4.16 ERA. Pelfrey’s ERA has spiked nearly two runs a game, and it was eight starts ago that he pitched six complete innings.
Tired arm, tipping his pitches, poor mechanics, losing control of this splitter and sinker and a psychological step backward are just some of the partial explanations for his slide.
There’s not just one answer, but all of the above have contributed to Pelfrey’s slide to where he’s one again a reliability question.
The Mets have been waiting for Pelfrey to take that next step bit of five seasons now. At 200 innings and a 13-11 record in 2008 was a positive. Pelfrey won his first four decisions the following year to give the believe things might have sunk in, but he went 6-12 the rest of the way and the same of problems resurfaced.
Pelfrey seemed to put it together through most of June. He pitched quickly and efficiently; he had command of his secondary, breaking pitching; and he had confidence in his fastball.
All that’s gone now, and based on performance both Jon Niese and R.A. Dickey are ahead.
The slide didn’t happen overnight and neither will the recovery. The Mets falling out of contention coincided with Pelfrey’s fall.
Now, it’s in the remaining two months where Pelfrey needs to right himself and remove his name from being an off-season question.