Did you really expect Mike Pelfrey to beat Roy Halladay yesterday? Neither did I … nor did I expect him to outpitch Halladay in any capacity.
What I expected was Pelfrey to pitch with pride and intensity. I hoped after this letdown of a season, in his final start he would step up and close out with a performance to give him a good taste going into winter.
Instead, he gave us another sour start, and himself a lot to think about in the coming months.
He proved he was a Big Poof instead of a Big Pelf.
“I wanted to finish strong. That obviously was the furthest thing from it,’’ said Pelfrey, who gave up five runs on nine hits in three innings.
On a positive note, at least he was back in the clubhouse in time to catch the end of the Giants game.
Pelfrey finished 7-13 with a 4.74 ERA and a myriad of questions and concerns about his future with the Mets. How can there not be with the Mets losing 22 of his 34 starts?
“It’s work to get back to where you want to be,’’ manager Terry Collins said. “It’s not just going to just happen, you have to go to work at it.’’
Pelfrey, who is arbitration eligible, might have hurt his bargaining position, but he’ll get something, and it will be from the Mets. The Mets aren’t dealing from a position of pitching strength and can’t afford to not tender Pelfrey a contract and let him go.
Last year’s 9-1 start seems like years ago, and after a rough July he righted himself to finish 2010 on a strong note, strong enough for Collins to make him the Opening Day starter.
Collins took responsibility if that decision placed pressure on Pelfrey, but the pitcher wouldn’t admit it if it did. If Collins really believes that, he must know Pelfrey isn’t up for the job. My guess is Collins is throwing that out as motivation.
Pelfrey needs to use his breaking pitches more, especially in fastball situations where hitters could be sitting on it. He also needs to utilize his sinker more, and have better command of it when he does. As was often the case with Pelfrey prior to last year, he can’t finish off hitters and allows innings to unravel.
Pelfrey is 27, supposedly healthy and has had stretches of pitching well in the past, so there’s an upside of potential that’s still present.
Pelfrey is 50-54 with a 4.40 ERA lifetime, and in 876.2 innings he’s given up 965 hits and 314 walks and 458 runs, which means he’s constantly in trouble.
Statistically, Pelfrey is not a No. 1 starter, but more worthy of being a No. 4 at best or a No. 5. But, he’s the best the Mets have to offer, which tells you all there is about their pitching and where they stand.