By Mike Steffanos
It was kind of heartening to see the fight that the Mets showed tonight in Philadelphia, although I most decidedly not one who believes in moral victories. Still, I know the big story from this game will be another ugly implosion from Mike Pelfrey.
Pelfrey's inability to stop the bleeding in games like this is getting old for all of us. I joked with a friend that there will people calling for Dillon Gee to be promoted from Buffalo and Pelfrey sent down. Actually, this could become reality fairly quickly.
Jason Bay was my top candidate to inherit the doghouse formally inhabited by Luis Castillo and Oliver Perez. With Bay's return not imminent and Pelfrey pitching like this, however, we may have a new favorite in that dubious sweepstakes.
One of the most frustrating parts of being a fan is watching a guy who just can't seem to help making the same mistakes time after time. Couple that with the fact that New York fans really value mental toughness in our athletic heroes, and Pelfrey has shown himself to be somewhat fragile in this area.
I know what Terry Collins was trying to do when he pretty much proclaimed Pelfrey the ace of the staff at the start of spring training when he gave Mike the Opening Day nod. Collins was challenging Pelfrey to step up and embrace that role, but the early returns aren't promising here.
The truth of the matter is that Pelfrey is no number one, and I don't think that comes as much of a surprise to those of us who have seen a lot of him. A bigger truth, however, is that the Mets really need Mike Pelfrey to keep them in ballgames and eat up some innings. Young and Capuano are likely to be 5 or 6 inning pitchers, and someone needs to go deeper into games.
Joe Janish does his usual great job in breaking down Pelfrey's tough night at Mets Today. I'll leave the mechanical analysis to Joe, who is much more qualified than I am in this regard. Check it out, it's a fascinating read if you're into the nuts and bolts of baseball at all.
Anyway, anointing Pelfrey as the number one seems to have backfired. I hope Terry Collins can channel his inner Sigmund Freud and come up with a way to get Pelfrey heading back in the right direction. The Mets can get by with a Mike Pelfrey who's not an ace -- but they really do need him to get some consistency. If he can't get that sinker working, get some outs and keep them in games, then they're really in trouble.