The enigma known as Mike Pelfrey will face the Chicago Cubs this afternoon in an attempt to avoid his third straight loss. At 9-10 with a 5.03 ERA – dare I say it? – Pelfrey has been no better than Oliver Perez in what was supposed to be a breakout year for him as the No. 2 starter.
Showing poise absent earlier in his career, and a better command of his secondary pitches, Pelfrey won 13 games last season. He might equal that this year, but it would be with a struggle because there’s been little consistency in his game despite his fastball.
PELFREY: Coin Flip II
“I would say when you see his stuff you still get excited, but there has to come a time of maturation or development where there has to be some consistently,” manager Jerry Manuel said. “We’re just not getting that from him. He is a product of being inconsistent. The inconsistently is a concern, the stuff is not. We feel very confident that what he has is good enough to compete, but we need to see it on a more consistent basis, and we’re not seeing that.”
Pelfrey is 5-3 with a 3.80 ERA in 14 home starts this season to give the Mets a sense of confidence this afternoon, but he’s been miserable since the All-Star break at 2-6 with a 6.10 ERA in nine starts. That includes giving up seven runs in four innings last Tuesday at Colorado.
The Mets have lost 10 of their last 14 games, and finishing .500 is not even a realistic possibility, even with the news they might get Carlos Beltran and John Maine back this season. Beltran could be ready for the Marlins series Tuesday at Citi Field and Maine, who pitched well in a rehab start yesterday at Port St. Lucie, could pitch Sunday in Philadelphia.
MAINE: Pitching for his future.
Maine needs to show something to be counted into the Mets’ plans for next season. If he busts out then exists the chance they might not tender him a contract for next year.
NOTEBOOK: Manuel said he doesn’t expect Gary Sheffield (back spasms) to return this season. … Cory Sullivan has homered in both games of this series. … Luis Castillo has four hits in the series.
Here’s the line-up for today’s game:
Angel Pagan, CF
Luis Castillo, 2B
David Wright, 3B
Daniel Murphy, 1B
Jeff Francoeur, RF
Cory Sullivan, LF
Brian Schneider, C
Anderson Hernandez, SS
Mike Pelfrey, RP