By Mike Steffanos
Mike Pelfrey continued to build a case for himself against the Orioles last night. Despite giving up 7 hits in his 5 innings of work (a couple of them were of the bloops and bleeders variety), Pelfrey held the O's to a single run. For the most part, the lineup he faced featured major league hitters. He continues to display a level of calmness and maturity on the mound that may yet deny New Orleans Zephyrs fans a chance to see him pitch there in 2007.
The only concern about the young righty to this point is the low number of strikeouts he has amassed this spring. To put it into perspective, both Mike Pelfrey and Tom Glavine have 14 innings of work in the books for this spring. Glavine's 6 strikeouts are double Pelfrey's total. Opposing pitcher Jaret Wright was Pelfrey's only K last night, and he never took the bat off his shoulder. While all of the groundballs that have resulted from Pelfrey's sinker are a beautiful site, I'd like to see him miss a few bats in his remaining spring starts. I'm not really worried, though. I think the low strikeout totals are a function of what Pelfrey is working on this spring.
I've mentioned that I like the idea of working rookies into a club by bringing them up in-season. I think it takes some of the pressure off them. Still, barring a miraculous bounce back from Chan Ho Park over the remaining 10 days of camp, it's hard to envision Pelfrey not being in the rotation. The only thing that could keep him off the opening day roster seems to be whether the Mets elect not to carry a fifth starter until mid-April, and that assumes El Duque is ready for the start of the season.
Jon Adkins came into the game in the sixth and finally looked like some one the Mets might be willing to keep. It might be too little, too late. Pedro Feliciano -- who was somewhat vulnerable coming into the spring with the signing of Schoeneweis -- has solidified his place in the bullpen with another strong inning. Schoeneweis continued his great spring with a really strong ninth inning.
Still, the relief star again was Joe Smith. Another 1-2-3 inning for the kid. He struck out one batter and should have had a second as home plate ump Adrian Johnson inexplicably called a ball on a clear strike 3 pitch to Adam Donachie, who eventually grounded out. While the lefty relievers have pitched well this spring, the right-handers such as Adkins and Ambiorix Burgos have stumbled. There are jobs to be won, and Smith seems to be staking his claim to one of them.
Oliver Perez takes the mound for the Mets tonight as they face the Dodgers in Vero Beach. The game will not be televised, but will be on WFAN radio.
Sad news that Wilson has been cut by the Reds. There may have been an excessive amount of hype over Wilson back in the day, but he never really had a chance to show off the skills that made him the top pick in the 1994 amateur draft.
Extra Innings on Cable?
Seems that reports that iN Demand matched DirecTV's offer were premature:
IN Demand, owned by affiliates of the companies that own the Time Warner, Comcast and Cox cable systems, said Wednesday it was agreeing to the terms and that its partners would carry The Baseball Channel when it launches in 2009 to at least the same number of subscribers who will get the channel on DirecTV.
"As the current home for 'Extra Innings' for more than 200,000 cable subscribers, we have extended ourselves to do our best to be able to continue to provide this package to baseball fans and our customers," iN Demand president Robert Jacobson said. "This offer meets all the conditions set forth by MLB last week."
Not so fast, said Bob DuPuy, baseball's chief operating officer.
"The communication sent to our office today by iN Demand is not responsive to that offer," he said. "In spite of their public comments, the response falls short of nearly all of the material conditions (among them requirements for carriage of The Baseball Channel and their share of the rights fees for Extra Innings) set forth in the Major League Baseball offer made to them on March 9."
DuPuy said the March 31 deadline to match remains.
I'll continue to keep my fingers crossed for out-of-market Mets fans who don't wish to switch to satellite.