Sep 23

METS CHAT ROOM: Game #152; Pelfrey hopes to salvage something.

CHAT ROOM

CHAT ROOM

Mike Pelfrey gets the ball once more after tonight, so that gives him two opportunities to attempt to wash the sour taste that is the 2009 season out of his mouth and from our memories. Maybe it is possible for him to leave for winter on a positive note, but this is a guy who concerns me.

After last season’s positive big step, Pelfrey has slid back. Maybe not to square one, but not that much better. You’ll hear talk about him losing concentration because of his marriage and child, but that’s only a weak excuse.

Pelfrey still throws the ball hard and injuries aren’t an issue. However, much like Oliver Perez, his pitch selection and execution wander. He loses focus and can’t close out hitters or an inning. He’s prone to giving up runs in bunches. He easily gets rattled. How else can you explain all the balks, including three in one game?

Maddening, is he has these moments where you think he’s coming around, but he has far too many of the other kind. He can be dominant for four innings and lose it in the fifth. He can throw seven scoreless in one start and not make it out of the second in his next.

Pelfrey (10-11, 5.10) has a mind-boggling 7.04 ERA in his last five starts, and has lost four of his last six games. He has been particularly brutal lately, giving up a pair of two-run homers last Friday against Washington to Ryan Zimmerman and Josh Bard. Pelfrey also had the worst start of his career in his last start against the Braves, July 17, when he gave up nine runs in 1/3 innings.

Lifetime, he is 2-4 with a 6.36 ERA in eight starts against the Braves. The Mets have lost 12 of their past 15 games.

Just a reminder, I don’t know what kind of Internet access I’ll have tonight, but will do my best.

Sep 13

METS CHAT ROOM: Game #143; Big sports day.

CHAT ROOM

CHAT ROOM

A lot of things happening today and hopefully we can talk about a lot of them. Of course, we’ve got the Mets and Phillies. Twice. What’s important about today for the Mets is the same thing that has been important for the last two months – a positive sign in this negative season.

Today, we get a chance to look at John Maine for the first time since June. His results aren’t as important as his health. If Maine shows he can get through today – he’ll get about 60 pitches – and a few more starts, it would go a long way toward the Mets’ off-season thinking. If Maine can pitch without pain, the Mets would probably tender him a contract. My feeling is they’ll probably do it anyway because they are so short on pitching and the FA market is thin that it wouldn’t hurt any. Better to sign him and hope for the best rather than let him go and watch him recover elsewhere.

It might just turn out Maine might be better suited for the bullpen, and there’s nothing wrong with learning that this month. Let’s not forget, Maine was once a 15-game winner before things went south for him last season. He’s still young enough to where the Mets shouldn’t give up the ghost on him.

MAINE: Can he come back?

MAINE: Can he come back?


Maine (5-4, 4.52 ERA) last pitched in Washington, June 6, and gave up seven runs in 4 1/3 innings. He was placed on the disabled list following that start.

Yesterday was supposed to be about Mike Pelfrey taking another step. Too bad it was backwards. Pelfrey gave up eight runs, including three homers, in six innings.

“I thought I made some big mistakes – mistakes over the middle part of the plate…I’m disappointed, but we came back and won,” Pelfrey said. “That takes some of it away.”

Actually, it doesn’t. Not with the season already lost. If the Mets were in a race, maybe so, because the victory would have been needed. However, at this stage, it’s about individuals being accountable and Pelfrey is a big part of the Mets’ future. For him to pitch so poorly is alarming. He is 25, and at an age when he should be making progress, after a 5-2 start through June 16, he is 10-10 with a 5.09 ERA. For his career he is 28-30 with a 4.59 ERA.

Pelfrey began the season as the No. 2 starter, but he’s performed like a back-end rotation arm.

On a bright note, David Wright hit two homers yesterday. I would like to see him finish with a flourish to get a positive feeling heading into next year. Wright changed his approach this season thinking he wouldn’t hit for power at Citi Field. It turned out he was right, but how much of that was him talking himself out of it? Wright is now tied with Gary Sheffield for the team lead with 10 homers. For his average, which is around .320, it wasn’t worth the sacrifice.

If you get frustrated with the Mets, and that’s easy to do, we could always talk some football if you’d like. If there’s interest, I don’t mind doing a football blog. I do plan on blogging the baseball postseason. There were some good conversations last fall even though the Mets were at home.

Here’s the line-up for the today’s first game in Philly:

Angel Pagan, CF
Anderson Hernandez, 2B
David Wright, 3B
Daniel Murphy, 1B
Jeff Francoeur, RF
Cory Sullivan, LF
Josh Thole, C
Wilson Valdez, SS
John Maine, RP

Sep 06

METS CHAT ROOM: Game #137; Will we get the good Pelfrey today?

CHAT ROOM

CHAT ROOM

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

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: 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

Sep 02

About last night: Concern about Pelfrey.

If a lost season is all about searching for answers the Mets are still asking questions when it comes to Mike Pelfrey, whose only consistent aspect of his game is running up his pitches to 100 by the fifth inning.

PELFREY: Giving up the long ball.

PELFREY: Giving up the long ball.


Last season, which began under pitching coach Rick Peterson and ended under Dan Warthen, Pelfrey showed breakout signs going 13-11 with a 3.72 ERA. He explained he was a fastball pitcher and became more aggressive in challenging hitters with that pitch and not fooling around with his secondary pitches when he needed an out. His pitches had enough movement to where a pitch down the middle could move to the corners.

Last night’s loss was just another in a long line of disappointing performances. He was consistently behind in the count, and as his habit, would let one inning get away from him. Given a walk, or an error, or a bad call, Pelfrey lets it stay with him and his concentration would wander. Big innings find him frequently.

All those balks are an indication of a lack of focus.

Pelfrey is 9-10 with a 5.03 ERA, and while it is possible to equal last season’s mark it wouldn’t be indicative of his year. In 150 1/3 innings, hitters are batting .288 against him and he has given up 233 baserunners. Sixth of them have been walks, compared to 64 all last year. Pelfrey gave up 86 runs this year; already he has allowed 91. He has pitched like a No. 5 starter.

PELFREY: Another early exit.

PELFREY: Another early exit.


Yet, there are times he seems untouchable. There are games when you start to think he’s turned the corner, but in the next one runs into a brick wall.

He does sound an awful like Oliver Perez.

We must remember, Pelfrey hasn’t taken the progressive road to the major leagues. He’s been force fed to a large degree and is learning on the job. There’s enough talent there to where the Mets shouldn’t give up on him. I was glad he wasn’t sent to Minnesota in the package for Johan Santana.

I don’t know to the degree having two pitching coaches has hampered his development, or if that’s a moot point. Pelfrey hasn’t gone off on his coaches.

At his present rate Pelfrey won’t come close to the 200 innings he threw last season. But, it has been largely due to ineffectiveness than injury.

As the Mets prepare for next season, Pelfrey is one of the few givens on the staff as in he’ll be back. However, the Mets need to see development in 2010. If not, he’ll go from a No. 2 to a No. 4 in a heartbeat, and not soon after that a No. 5 to just another flameout bust.

Pelfrey is young, but he’s also been around to where he knows he must show something soon.

Aug 10

METS CHAT ROOM: Game #112; Pelfrey vs. Snakes.

Thundering and lightning here in the Northeast. The lights have already flickered a couple of times tonight. I hope I don’t lose power and the Internet goes.

The Mets (52–59) begin a three-game series at Arizona (50–62) tonight with Mike Pelfrey (8-7, 4.75 ERA) going against Doug Davis (6-10, 3.67). The Mets have won 15 of their last 17 games at Arizona. Pelfrey is a 0-3 with a 5.40 ERA in four career starts against Arizona.

PELFREY: Needs to stay away from the big inning.

PELFREY: Needs to stay away from the big inning.


With 50 games remaining there are a lot of issues surrounding the Mets, with the one of the most important being the development of Pelfrey. He appears to have taken a step back from last season and hasn’t lived up to expectations. Pelfrey was supposed to win as many as 15 games this season. Maybe more.

Working on eight days off – without throwing – there is concern Pelfrey might experience a little rust. Pelfrey’s problem this season has been an inability to limit the damage. There’s always been one inning where Pelfrey unravels, and not surprisingly, control has been the issue.

Gary Sheffield, who last played Aug. 5 against St. Louis, remains out of the lineup with hamstring tightness.

Here’s the line-up:

Angel Pagan, CF
Luis Castillo, 2B
David Wright, 3B
Jeff Francoeur, RF
Fernando Tatis, LF
Daniel Murphy, 1B
Omir Santos, C
Anderson Hernandez, SS
Mike Pelfrey, RP