When Spring Training started there were only two starters in the rotation, three spots that needed to be filled, eight potential candidates, and a whole bunch of questions.
Last night, Mike Pelfrey got one more step closer towards securing the final spot in the Mets rotation. After yet another effective start against the Orioles, Pelfrey may have sealed Chan Ho Park’s fate, thus putting an end to a competition that begun 20 days ago.
Pelfrey did not have his best stuff, but that made tonight’s game all the more impressive as he pitched five innings and gave up only 1 run on seven hits with no walks. In 14 innings pitched this spring, he has only issued one walk and struck out three, while sporting a dazzling 1.29 ERA.
When you compare that to Park’s 8.68 ERA, it’s easy to see why this competition for a rotation spot, has come to an apparent end.
With Tom Glavine and Orlando Hernandez already assured of the top two spots, it didn’t take long to figure out who would be joining them as the team gets ready to head north in ten days.
John Maine should be named the number three starter any day now. He has pitched brilliantly this spring and has an ERA of 1.00 with seven strikeouts in nine innings pitched. There was never any doubt about his chances of making the rotation going into the spring, but Willie didn’t just want to hand him the job, he wanted him to earn it. Maine certainly did that.
Oliver Perez got off to a shaky start but soon showed everyone why scouts love his potentia, as he has now pitched back to back dominant games, and in doing so probably secured the number four spot in the rotation. He has exhibited much improved control and in 14 innings has struck out 13 batters while walking only 3. His ERA stands at 3.86 and he could be a big sleeper for the Mets this season.
As for the other potential candidates, Alay Soler has already been cut, Jason Vargas and Philip Humber were sent to AAA for more seasoning, and Jorge Sosa and Aaron Sele have been wild and completely ineffective so far.
So despite all the pitching questions that surrounded the Mets at the begining of camp, it really comes down to one final question now… Who is most deserving of the number five spot in the rotation, Park or Pelfrey?