It is time for the Mets and Mike Pelfrey to stop fooling around.
Game #93 at Diamondbacks
At one time the Mets were 11 games over .500 and a game behind Atlanta. They go into Arizona tonight just six games over and five games behind.
Their slide and coincided with Pelfrey’s five-start skid in which he went 1-3.
Tonight they have the Diamondbacks, one of the worst teams in the sport.
The Diamondbacks could represent an oasis in what is a desert of a schedule for the Mets, who just lost three of four at San Francisco. From Arizona the Mets have four games at Los Angeles, then return home for a brief series against St. Louis before meeting up with Atlanta and Philadelphia.
By the time that stretch is completed we should know just how much of a contender the Mets are really.
That’s the way it’s going to have to be tonight at San Francisco as Niese (6-3, 3.61) tries to pull the Mets out of their July funk.
After a boom in June that saw the Mets go 11 games over .500 and pull within a game of Braves, they are 4-7 for July to find themselves five games behind during a very precarious part of their schedule as this is the second game of a season-high 11-game road trip.
There’s no question out of necessity the Mets rushed Mike Pelfrey, but it says a lot about him that he was able to learn and not let the frustrations of a 3-8 season in 2007 sabotage his development as it would with many young pitchers.
PELFREY: Goes for fifth straight win tonight.
Pelfrey appeared to find himself in 2008, but regressed last year to the point where he was mentioned in trade rumors. Pelfrey, simply, was a mess with some hideous moments, such as a three-balk afternoon in San Francisco.
He still had all the good things in his scouting report, such as a power fastball, but it was outweighed by a propensity for not being able to finish off batters or innings.
When things got tense, Pelfrey got tight and small threats mushroomed into big innings. When they unraveled for him, he was all over the place.
When he struggled this spring, some speculated he’d be better off in the minor leagues – I had that thought – but Pelfrey promised he was working on things and would be better.
Two notes to pay attention to tonight: Will Oliver Perez find home plate and will the hitters finally wake up?
Perez is coming off another miserable start, walking a season-high seven and hitting a batter in 3 1/3 innings in a loss to San Francisco. He has walked 25 in 30 innings.
Perez is winless in his last seven starts but Jerry Manuel said he’ll stay in the rotation.
“I am disappointed in myself,’’ Perez said. “I’ve got to be better than that. I know what I have to do.’’
The Mets aren’t hitting at all, especially on the road where they are averaging less than four runs a game with a .208 average.
“We have to start swinging the bats,” Manuel said. “We have to take note these next couple of days where we are as an offensive club. And if we continue to see the same thing, then I’m going to have to make some adjustments to the lineup.’’