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For Pelfrey, Just Another "L"

Mike SteffanosMonday, May 7, 2007
By Mike Steffanos


Diamondbacks 3 - Mets 1

If there's one thing that certain about a baseball season, it's that no team can hope to keep their pedal to the metal day in and day out for 162 games. Even good teams have their share of performances like the Mets came up with yesterday. Beyond the fact that regulars were getting days off, you never got the feeling that you were watching the Mets A game.

As mentioned yesterday, I thought David Wright had turned a corner and was heading back into the light as a hitter. Alas, David has once again succumbed to the forces of darkness, and looks lost at the plate. His slump is becoming reminiscent of the long season-opening slump that Jeter endured a few years ago. Wright just doesn't look like he can get out of his own way mentally right now, and it just seems like this will have to run its course in its own time. Despite his denials, I really think Wright has something to learn about managing his time and not being too accommodating to everyone that wants a piece of him. I guess I just hope that he comes out wiser at the other end of this slump, whenever that is.

At the beginning of the year, I thought that the blueprint for Mike Pelfrey was going to involve pounding the lower part of the strike zone with his sinker and trying to refine the rest of his game -- including off-speed pitches -- as he went along. That's the Mike Pelfrey we saw in spring training. But now Pelfrey is tentative even with the fastball, at times nibbling away and falling behind batters, at others overthrowing which flattens his pitches out and leaves him up in the zone and vulnerable.

I don't know how much time Pelfrey has left. I assume El Duque's return plays into that, as well as Jorge Sosa's performance in his next start. Like David Wright, Mike Pelfrey can't seem to get out of his own way mentally right now. Unlike David, he has no track record of success to inspire patience. Also, it's hard to keep throwing a kid out there and wait for things to click for him when the team is a legitimate pennant contender. If this was 2004 or 2005, I'd want the Mets to be patient and keep running Pelfrey out there. In 2007, however, that's just not going to fly.

If Pelfrey's fate is a trip to New Orleans, the upside is that Mike DiFelice is catching down there in the Big Easy. By all accounts, Pelfrey benefited from working with the veteran catcher in Binghamton last season.

I still believe in Mike Pelfrey, and trust Rick Peterson's judgment on what's in the best interests of both the pitching staff and the young right-hander. Pelfrey has shown improvement over his last two starts, but 4 walks and 2 hit batters yesterday leave in question whether he has shown enough to merit patience in New York. If he does get another start for the Mets, you'd hope to see him aggressive throwing strikes and using that sinker. His stuff is good enough to develop the slider and changeup on the fly, but if he's not throwing that sinking fastball with confidence, then he doesn't belong here right now.

Box Score

About Mike: I was the original writer on this web site, actually its only writer for the first 15 months of existence. Although I am grateful for the excellent contributions of my fellow writers here, I have no plans of stepping back into strictly an editorial role. I started this thing in the first place because I love to write and I love the Mets, and blogging here keeps me somewhat sane. If you haven't had enough already, more bio info can be found here.

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Comments (3)

Good story

Mack

A couple of starts ago Pelfrey wasn't trusting his stuff at all, overthrowing everything, which led to his pitches flattening out; or so it seemed to me.

Now he appears to have half the battle won. He IS throwing his stuff, he just isn't always in charge of where it goes once it leaves his hand.

Maybe he does need to work out that detail in the less demanding venues of the Pacific Coast League, but I believe we should note the progress Pelfrey HAS made. We just want to see the rest of it with some regularity; these are major league games at stake after all.

No, I am not ready to send him down, not yet.

Thanks, Mack.
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dd - I haven't made up my mind. He's got to start commanding the fastball better and keeping it down. El Duque will be out a while longer, so he has a chance to turn it around.

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