Oct 30

Thoughts on Pedro the teacher ….

Watching Pedro Martinez last night got me to thinking about his tenure with the Mets. He was brought in for a variety of reasons, not the least of which is his supposed influence on the younger pitchers. Mike Pelfrey, Oliver Perez and John Maine all have physical skills to be good, but something is lacking.

1 + 1 = 3 to some Mets pitchers.

1 + 1 = 3 to some Mets pitchers.


I know Martinez worked hard with Perez, as has Johan Santana the past two seasons, but nothing has sunk in. At least it sure doesn’t look like it. If you can’t learn from those two, who can you learn from? In this case, I’m more inclined to think the student has a learning disability than I am a problem with the teachers.

I’m not sure Perez is ever going to get it. I’d like to unload his contract, but who would be crazy enough to pay him that much money? Ooops, never mind.

Pelfrey’s erratic nature has me leaning in that direction, too. In comparison to some of the other young pitchers in the game, Pelfrey is way behind in his mound make-up. All too often this season Pelfrey unraveled after several good innings. He doesn’t have the ability to command his secondary pitches and adjust under pressure.

Of the three, Maine appears to me to have taken a step back from his 15-win season, but that’s more attributable to injuries than anything else.

Sep 30

Pelfrey continues to puzzle.

Mike Pelfrey retired the first seven batters he faced last night, five of them on ground balls. That’s the way it’s supposed to be. Then it unraveled for him as it usually does and you knew it would be one of those nights when Ian Desmond homered in the fifth.

I really don’t want to hear how Pelfrey has been distracted with by getting married and having a kid. The bottom line is Pelfrey has regressed dramatically this season to the point where you have to wonder if he’ll ever make it.

PELFREY: Another disappointing start.

PELFREY: Another disappointing start.


Manager Jerry Manuel said he’s in the 2010 rotation, but it’s by default as the Mets are so pitching depleted that they have to run with Pelfrey’s potential much the same way they do with Oliver Perez.

The fact is, if the Mets had other options, Pelfrey would have been better off in the minor leagues. He’s done for the season with a lackluster 10-12 record, accumulated by the same old mistakes.

Pelfrey loses his concentration when things go wrong and starts to walk hitters. He’s also not been able to develop his secondary pitches and throw them for strikes.

When he’s on, his sinker is a brutal pitch, but when he gets in trouble he tends to overthrow the pitch instead of taking something off it. When a pitcher overthrows in an attempt to throw harder, the pitch flattens out and rises. It becomes a fastball that doesn’t move, and movement is far more important than velocity.

This is what happens to Pelfrey, and consequently, hitters sit on that fastball and he gets crushed.

The physical tools are there, but he’s not thinking like a pitcher. He’s become a thrower, and far too often what he ends up throwing is batting practice.

Sep 30

About Last Night …. Ugly

Just another microcosm of the season in nine fitful innings. Mike Pelfrey pitched great at the start retiring the first seven hitters, but who didn’t have a nagging feeling he would implode?

Pelfrey blew a 3-0 lead as the Mets lost at Washington, with David Wright being robbed by Elijah Dukes for the final out. It’s way too easy to say that play cost the Mets as the night was another example of creative losing.

The Mets had the bases loaded with nobody out in the first and eighth innings and came away with one run. You should come away with more by accident. I’ve lost track of how many times the Mets have kicked away bases-loaded opportunities.

“We had some opportunities,” manager Jerry Manuel said. “That’s been the story of the season.”

Pelfrey, as usual, unraveled. He again had hitters sitting on his fastball, with this time Ian Desmond unloading for a homer in the fifth.

Defensively, Anderson Hernandez and Luis Castillo butchered double-play opportunities, which enabled the eventual winning run to score.

Sep 29

METS CHAT ROOM: Game #157; Pelfrey gets the ball.

CHAT ROOM

CHAT ROOM

Mike Pelfrey should get one more start after tonight, and it would be fitting one of the most disappointing Mets would start the final game of this most frustrating and disappointing season.

Pelfrey (10-12, 5.08 ERA) last faced the Nationals, Sept. 18 at Citi Field, and lost, giving up five runs in seven innings. He’s 1-2 in three starts with a 4.12 ERA against Washington this season.

Pelfrey seemed poised for a breakout year after taking a step forward last season, but regressed in so many ways in 2009. He unraveled and was prone to the big inning. He lost focus and concentration numerous times. He was inconsistent with his secondary pitches.

He was anything but a No. 2 starter. Actually, his record indicates he wasn’t even a No. 5 starter. Manager Jerry Manuel said Pelfrey is in next year’s rotation, but that’s because there’s nobody better to replace him with.

Here’s the line-up that will try to give him enough runs to dig Pelfrey out of whatever hole he puts himself into:

Angel Pagan, LF
Luis Castillo, 2B
David Wright, 3B
Carlos Beltran, CF
Daniel Murphy, 1B
Jeff Francoeur, RF
Brian Schneider, C
Wilson Valdez, SS
Mike Pelfrey, RP

Sep 24

About Last Night: Another head scratcher from Pelfrey.

Well, at least Mike Pelfrey hung around for six innings. However, with 116 pitches he has to go longer than. By definition, it was not a quality start for Big Pelf, which is another way saying Big Disappointment.

Pelfrey gave up nine hits and walked three, and 12 runners in six innings is constantly living on the edge. His problem in last night’s loss to Atlanta was what it has been all season in that he wasn’t able to minimize the damage and his command was off.

If spring training were to start next month, by default Pelfrey would be in the rotation. But, he wouldn’t be based on merit. The Mets simply don’t have anybody they could plug in to replace Pelfrey, and the expectations are they won’t sign somebody, either. At least, not somebody at the No. 2 level.

If Pelfrey were the only issue, the Mets might be able to cope, but Oliver Perez and John Maine are concerns of the physical variety. Pelfrey had forearm issues earlier that forced him to miss one start, but they haven’t resurfaced. I wouldn’t be shocked if it came out he had been pitching hurt. These hidden injuries always seem to be a part of the Mets’ winter landscape.

If Pelfrey is hurt, it would at least explain his bad season to some degree. If he’s fine, all the more maddening. He took a positive step last year and this summer was primed for a breakthrough. But, he doesn’t seem to have grasped the mental aspects of pitching with his pitch selection. He tends to lose focus and is unable to put away hitters and is vulnerable to the big inning.

No, that wasn’t a cut-and-paste of an earlier post about Perez.

This guy, despite his physical tools, has not developed like Matt Cain and Tim Lincecum, but then again, those are special pitchers. I would like to believe Pelfrey will develop as it is not uncommon for pitchers to develop later in their careers.

Still, the expectations were high for Pelfrey and we were singing his praises after a good start. They just haven’t been reached. If he duplicates this season in 2010, the Mets might have to start thinking this is as good as it gets for Pelfrey.