Mets(courtesy of mlb.com)
It’s been a trying week for Mike Pelfrey.
It began with his last start on Saturday in Philadelphia, when the Mets right-hander gave up six runs on eight hits over four innings of work, easily the worst start of his season. It continued on Monday when he underwent a precautionary MRI exam because of some shoulder soreness, and extended to Tuesday when he skipped his bullpen session to be on the safe side.
All of these factors may make many a little nervous as Pelfrey prepares to take the ball on Friday to open the home weekend series against the Giants. Pelfrey, however, isn’t one of them.
“I’ll be able to make it,” Pelfrey said after a light throwing session on Wednesday. “I’ll make it.”
Making it, however, will be only part of the task, perhaps the easy part. Outpitching his mound adversary will be an entirely different challenge. Giants left-hander Jonathan Sanchez belongs to a rotation that has been taking one-upmanship to a whole new level.
After Matt Cain‘s seven sharp innings Thursday night against the Marlins in Miami — the first 5 2/3 hitless — Giants starters since April 17 have a collective ERA of 2.00. That covers 17 games.
Pelfrey knows about being in that kind of a zone. He was in one himself not too long ago.
Prior to this trying week, he had been one of the better starting pitchers in the National League, one who had given up two earned runs in his first start of the year, and then not another one until Saturday’s debacle. He had a streak of 27 scoreless innings snapped then.
“It snowballed on me in a hurry,” Pelfrey said. “I pounded the strike zone, I never lost focus. … A couple of plays didn’t go our way. When that happens, it’s my job to get the next guy. I didn’t.”
He has done a pretty good job in limited exposure against the Giants, with a 1.77 ERA in three starts. He faced them twice a year ago, losing, 2-0, in San Francisco, and getting a no-decision in an eventual Mets victory later in the season.
The Mets could use that Pelfrey as they open this six-game homestand. After reeling off that eight-game winning streak, New York has lost two straight series and four of its last five games.
It was just the first couple of weeks of the season, but there was bound to be concern when David Wright was staring at a .222 average through April 25.
Then the Mets had a rainout, and that seems to have washed away Wright’s slow start. Since then, Wright has reeled off a nine-game hitting streak that’s included four homers, 11 RBIs and 30 total bases. That run has brought his season line up to a much less panic-inducing .286/.413/.571.
Angel Pagan, CF
Luis Castillo, 2B
Jose Reyes, SS
Jason Bay, LF
David Wright, 3B
Jeff Francoeur, RF
Ike Davis, 1B
Rod Barajas, C
Mike Pelfrey, RHP
Giants(courtesy of mlb.com)
On the occasion of his 79th birthday, Thursday was “Willie Mays Day” in California, as proclaimed by the state’s senate, which also passed a resolution proclaiming the Giants legend the greatest baseball player ever. Say Hey, that’s a nice birthday present. … The day was also the third anniversary of Tim Lincecum‘s Major League debut. On May 6, 2007, the future two-time Cy Young Award winner went 4 1/3 unimpressive innings against the Phillies — five hits, five walks, five runs in an 8-5 defeat. … The Giants hit the Big Apple with a 7-2 record against National League East teams after their sweep of the Marlins.
Getting back on a good streak on Friday might depend on which Sanchez shows up to pitch for the Giants. If it’s the lefty who had back-to-back starts earlier this season in which he struck out 22 over 15 innings and allowed just one earned run, the Mets might have some difficulty. If it’s the Sanchez who’s allowed five walks in each of his past two starts — though one of them was a win — they might be able to get something going.
“He logged a lot of pitches there, like he did the last game,” Giants manager Bruce Bochy said after Sanchez’s start on Sunday. “I have to take care of him, too. That’s a lot of work in five innings.”
Aaron Rowand, CF
Mark DeRosa, LF
Pablo Sandoval, 3B
Aubrey Huff, 1B
Juan Uribe, SS
Nate Schierholtz, RF
Matt Downs, 2B
Jonathan Sanchez, LHP