By Mike Steffanos
Brewers 12 - Mets 3
Mets 9 - Brewers 1
A confession on Saturday's loss. I heard some of it on radio, but didn't watch any of it. I went to my niece's first birthday party early in the day, and then worked in the yard at the new house until dark. I tried to watch some of the game on DVR later that night, but fell asleep almost immediately. There is never much to say when your team takes one on the chin, anyway, but here are some thoughts on Mike Pelfrey.
I've been reading a lot about how a lack of secondary pitches doomed Pelfrey. While I agree that long-term success as a starter will be predicated on him developing sound off-speed stuff, I still believe that it was a failure to command his power sinker that earned Mike some time in New Orleans. If he can learn to be as aggressive with his bread-and-butter pitch as John Maine was last season, I think Pelfrey could pitch well enough to stay in the majors and work on the other pitches. For those who are already giving up on Pelfrey, it might be wise to keep in mind that Maine himself struggled mightily in 2005 in both the majors and Triple-A. My guess is that he wasn't mentally prepared to succeed as those high levels his first time through.
I still think that a roadmap for success for Mike Pelfrey is to do what Maine did last season -- lean on your best pitch, throw strikes aggressively and try to bring the rest of your game along. Though Maine's best pitch was the high fastball and Pelfrey's is the power sinker, I think it could work for him that way. He'd only be a five inning pitcher as Maine was last season, but he could be successful. There is no chance of this working, however, until he is mentally prepared to be here. Pelfrey still looks tentative at times and overthrows his sinker quite a bit, diminishing its effectiveness by straightening it out. Then again, one of the knocks on Maine when he came over to the Mets was that he had a straight fastball. We now know that's not true. He was probably overthrowing his stuff the first time through.
Pelfrey will now join his friend Philip Humber in New Orleans. He will also be working again with catcher Mike DiFelice, who seemed to help him last year in Binghamton. It's likely the best situation for him right now.
|Mike Pelfrey (0-5)|
|TOTAL (6 Games)||30.1||22||22||36||13||17||2||6.53||1.75||1-3|
I was able to watch yesterday's game in its entirety, as after 3 weeks of constant work I allowed myself to be a couch potato for most of the day. Because it was an important game for the Mets, I felt fairly confident that Perez would pitch well. He just seems to have a knack for pitching under pressure. Despite expecting it, I was still surprised by how completely Perez dominated a very good offensive team that has been on a roll. I've been on record as someone who is optimistic for Perez' chances, but even I've been pleasantly surprised by how smooth he looks pitching barely 6 weeks into the season.
There are a lot of baseball writers who gave Perez almost no chance of turning his career around. Seems like I read something negative about Perez a couple of times a week throughout the off-season. Perhaps these folks would like a nice imported beer to wash things down when they get around to eating their words later on this season -- at those that are honest enough to do it.
As for me, I can't hold myself completely exempt. I was skeptical when the Mets were talking about Perez pitching like an ace for them this year. I did feel he had a chance to make it back to that level, but thought it might take a year or two to get there. Although he's had some blips here and there this season, I think he's a lot closer to being a legitimate ace than he is to being that lost soul that most of baseball gave up on last year. He needs to get a little stronger mentally to fill that role, and certainly more consistent, but I wouldn't bet against it.
Every once in a while I allow myself to imagine a Mets rotation that includes a revitalized Pedro, a refined Perez and Maine, and solid veterans Orlando Hernandez and Tom Glavine. If things break right, this could be one of the best rotations in baseball. A far cry from the "Achilles Heel" they were supposed to be.
By the way, kudos to the Mets for finally listening to my buddy Dan and putting a solid defensive OF behind Perez. Starting Gomez over Shawn Green was a good call. By the way, for someone who is admittedly raw, does Carlos Gomez have a beautiful swing or what? You watch him play and you could understand why the Mets have always loved him as a prospect.
Finally, Damion Easley hasn't given the club the great leather work that Valentin does, but he can hit. I know we're not allowed to vote on this, but with a trade for Pittsburgh's Jose Castillo being the hot rumor of the week, I'd vote pass. I don't see Castillo as the long-term answer at second base, and I don't see him as a significant upgrade over Easley and Gotay this season.
|Oliver Perez (4-3)|
|TOTAL (7 Games)||42.0||22||14||33||43||14||5||3.00||1.12||4-3|