So here we are just 12 days away from Opening Day and despite my optimism, enthusiasm and excitement, I can’t shake these starting rotation jitters.
Until I actually see John Maine pitch like his former self, I must admit I’m beginning to worry about him. And the thing of it is, that the old standby excuse of “it’s only March”, runs out of gas in six days.
Aside from Johan Santana, the one other constant this spring has been Mike Pelfrey… and then yesterday happened.
Only last week, Pelfrey returned to the mound and pitched brilliantly for six solid innings. He toyed with the Astros hitters with all the poise of a 10-year savvy veteran. He mixed in a new sinker, and his older offerings looked even better than last season. There was so much reason for optimism, and Jerry Manuel even said he could soon be classified as an ace.
But then on Tuesday, Pelfrey looked more like the pitcher we saw in 2007; confused and lacking confidence. He got off to a good start, allowing just a run in four innings, but then the transformation came. Pelfrey imploded in the fifth inning and gave up five runs before being pulled with two outs. All told, Mike Pelfrey allowed six runs on 10 hits over 4 2/3 innings.
After the game, Pelfrey had his left leg wrapped, but didn’t make any excuses. He looked tired and winded.
Everyone is entitled to a bad outing now and then, but with Ollie being so erratic, and John Maine still an unknown quantity, my expectations for Mike Pelfrey are abnormally high for one so young. But that’s not my fault, it’s the Mets fault, They’re the ones who said he was a bona-fide top of the rotation starter.
Maybe Pelfrey will fit that label someday… maybe he fits it by the end of this season. But I wish we didn’t have to pile all this pressure on him so early in his career.