The unveiling of the 2016 Mets’ starting rotation this week unveils an interesting match-up Monday when Bartolo Colon goes against former Mets Ace of the Future Mike Pelfrey in a split-squad game against Detroit.
In the other split-squad game, Steven Matz starts against St. Louis. Matt Harvey starts Tuesday, followed by Jacob deGrom and Noah Syndergaard. No, you can’t determine from this who will be the Opening Day starter.
But, there’s intrigue with Colon vs. Pelfrey in it shows a contrast of styles and expectations. It also explains why one is a Met and another is not.
Colon was signed as a two-year stopgap when Harvey went down. However, he exceeded all expectations, kept the team afloat at times and even proved his worthiness working out of the bullpen. And, there was never any shortage of comic relief.Colon exceeded all expectations by mostly doing two things: 1) throwing strikes, and 2) minimizing the damage when things got dicey.
Colon exceeded all expectations by mostly doing two things: 1) throwing strikes, and 2) minimizing the damage when things got dicey.
For the most part, Colon cut off big innings before they developed. Had Pelfrey done those things with any consistency, he might still be with the Mets.
What do you remember most about Pelfrey? For me, it was his habit of letting little things get to him which eventually turned into big innings. This was never more apparent than three balks in one inning against San Francisco. Most pitchers don’t balk three times in one year. Guess how many career balks Harvey, deGrom and Syndergaard have in their careers?
All three, while not perfect, have the ability to maintain their composure while under pressure and to throw strikes. There were times Pelfrey resembled a right-handed Oliver Perez. Enough said.
I always liked Pelfrey, but he drove me crazy to watch him at times. And, you could see it coming. If he didn’t get a strike call, or there was an error, or a broken-bat blooper, or any of a half-dozen other things.
When something went wrong Pelfrey would start chewing on that damned mouth guard and the strike zone would disappear. One walk would become two would become three and before you knew it the Braves or Phillies or whoever would have three runs.
Those were long days.
Meanwhile, nothing seems to bother Colon, who is always full of surprises, such as that behind the back flip in Miami.