Collins: Pelfrey has something to prove

September, 25, 2011
9/25/11
2:00
PM ET

Terry Collins has a unique way of evaluating pitchers.

He takes their real good year and tosses it aside. He then gets rid of their worst statistical season. When that's done, he looks to the average year of their career and said that's what he expects to see from the pitcher on a regular basis.

When it comes to Mike Pelfrey, the embattled starter who struggled this season, Collins expects that middle pitcher to be a successful piece of the Mets rotation.

"If we get that out of Mike Pelfrey, we're going to have a good pitcher on our hands," Collins said.

Collins spent plenty of time addressing Pelfrey and the improvements he expects to see from the veteran heading into next season before Peflrey's last start of the season Sunday against Philadelphia. Pelfrey enters Sunday's game at 7-12 with a 4.58 ERA, his fewest wins in his first four years as a starter and his second-highest ERA.

"I think that he's going to get something out of the fact that next year he really has something to prove in my opinion," Collins said. "I think Mike Pelfrey is saying, 'Hey look, I'm a real strong healthy guy, I'm going to pitch better than I did last year and apply it. 'I expect with Mike it's one of those years where if you look at what he's done, he had a bad year, what he's done in his recent year, he hasn't done what he's wanted, those guys next year they step up, I really think those guys step forward and say 'I'm going to write that year off, I'm going to be the kind of guy I was previous to this past year.'"

Collins started his evaluation by apologizing if he put too heavy a loud on Peflrey's shoulders by making him the Mets opening-day starter. Collins said he thinks Pelfrey might have tried to do more than what he's done in the past. The manager did compliment Pelfrey on his ability to take the ball every five days and pitch into the sixth or seventh inning and give the team more than 200 innings, as he has thrown 190 2/3 innings entering Sunday.

While Pelfrey has struggled since his magnificent start to last season, Collins still thinks Pelfrey's capable of being that pitcher from the first half last season as he started 9-1. He said Pelfrey and pitching Dan Warthen have some things they need to iron out, such as pounding the bottom of the strike zone with his sinker and using his breaking ball more, and Collins hopes those will help Pelfrey down the road.

As much as those things might help down the road, Pelfrey's immediate future as him opposing Roy Halladay Sunday. He's got a big test in front of him, but one that could give him quite a lift to end his year.

"I think today he's going against one of the best in baseball and if he comes out today successful and I think it's a huge step forward confidence wise for him," Collins said. "That's what we're looking hopefully to do

Matt Ehalt

ESPN New York contributor

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TEAM LEADERS

BA LEADER
Daniel Murphy
BA HR RBI R
.295 9 54 75
OTHER LEADERS
HRL. Duda 27
RBIL. Duda 83
RD. Murphy 75
OPSL. Duda .827
WB. Colon 14
ERAJ. Niese 3.55
SOZ. Wheeler 173