200 Miles From the Citi

July 5, 2010 10:24 PM

He's An All Star, He's An All Star Not


The red-hot start (not forgetting the save in the 20-inning game in St. Louis).

The occasional clunker - 5 runs in 7 innings versus the Yankees - and the rough May starts against Washington and Philadelphia.

The 10 wins halfway through the season.

The 6-run fifth inning against the Reds where Pelfrey lost it after a bad call by the umpires.

I go back and forth on whether Mike Pelfrey deserved an All Star Game appearance.

I guess the bottom line is, even with a couple of bad starts in there, Pelfrey is having an All Star caliber season.  He's 10-3, and how good was he before Monday night that after 7 earned runs in just 4 and two-thirds innings his ERA rose to just 3.39.  10-3 with a 3.39 ERA is pretty good.

But the larger issue here is Pelfrey's mental game.  You figure an All Star snub would fire him up, inspire him to be better than usual.  So he comes out and the third batter he faces takes him out of Citi Field over the center field wall to a spot no one hits homers.  But it's Joey Votto - out to prove something himself.  So you give him a pass.

Then the fifth inning rolls around, Pelfrey is pitching great, and the umps make a bad call.  Well, first they make a call in the Mets' favor - they say Scott Rolen swung at a pitch that almost hits him.  Then they conference and overturn the call and Rolen gets first base, and there are still no out.  But the problem, before all this, was that Pelfrey went and loaded the bases with no one out.  You can't rely on the umps when you put yourself in that spot.

So here's the other part of that - if he can't psyche himself up over the snub, he can't psyche himself up over anything.  Or, if he was psyched up and the bad call changed his mindset, then he's too much of a headcase to have sustained greatness over a season.

Because I'd like to think he'd want a piece of Charlie Manuel and embarrass the Phillies when he next pitches against them.  Manuel didn't select Pelfrey to the team, and also said he thought Pelfrey was pitching on Sunday, and didn't think Pelfrey was eligible.  (He next pitches Saturday, so he would be eligible.  Either way, he didn't select Pelfrey.)  But I don't see how Pelfrey gets his head in games, or what he thinks about.  It seems like he too easily loses his concentration.

So this year so far, yes, Mike Pelfrey has pitched well enough to be an All Star.  And it's a shame he hasn't been named to the All Star team (maybe he'll get the nod as an injury replacement?), because I'm not sure he has the makeup to get another chance.

AS FOR THE GAME...:  You just can't count the Mets out at Citi Field.  After the Reds put six on the board in the fifth inning against Pelfrey, the Mets responded with five...but they didn't do much after that.  Two things about that: One is that had Pelfrey found a way to settle himself and give up anything less than what he did, the Mets could have won, and two, Jason Bay made the last out of the game.  His final two at-bats he missed hanging pitches - one was a single, but the last out was a fly out to left on a hanging slider.  He should have crushed it.  As they were when they met in May, the Mets and Reds are very evenly matched.

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