Sunday, September 25, 2011
Pelfrey's season ends on sour note
By Matt Ehalt
His plan got shattered.
With one start left in his season, Mike Pelfrey hoped to end an otherwise sub-par season on a positive note Sunday against the Phillies.
"I wanted to finish strong," Pelfrey said. "That obviously (was) the furthest thing from it."
That, as he referred to, was his clunker of an outing in his final start as he struggled against Philadelphia and took the loss as the Mets fell 9-4 to the Phillies. Pelfrey gave up nine hits and five earned runs through three innings, his second-shortest outing of the season.
"You take four months off, you bust your butt in the offseason and you come back ready to go," Pelfrey said. "First half didn't go the way I wanted, second half didn't go and the year didn't go the way I wanted and that's unfortunate. I can't change that and I look forward to next year."
Anointed as the team's opening-day starter, Pelfrey never produced like a No. 1. While manager Terry Collins said he takes responsibility for putting that pressure on Pelfrey's shoulders, and believes it stuck with him all season, the tall righty said that it didn't affect him.
Instead, he said he hoped to take that next step after last season's 15-9 record, but ultimately failed to do so. He tried to be "perfect" with his pitches, striving to make that just-right pitch, and instead fell behind in counts and finished with a 7-13 record and a 4.74 ERA. That's the worst ERA by a Mets opening-day starter since Pete Harnisch in 1997, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.
"As (pitching coach) Dan (Warthen) talked about today on the bench, we've got to start over and do some things that get his confidence back up," Collins said. "He's going to go into the winter I'm sure discouraged and instead of on a positive note that things did not go his way this year. I think Mike is professional enough to understand this is one of the year he just has to write off. It's work to get back to where you want to be. It's not just going to just happen, you have to go to work at it. We look forward to being part of that whole process."
Both Pelfrey and Collins said pitching is all about execution and on Sunday Pelfrey simply couldn't execute. Three batters into the game, he put the Mets in a 2-0 hole by serving up a two-run shot to Hunter Pence. Two hitters later, a sacrifice fly by Raul Ibanez made it 3-0. By the time the third inning ended, there were nine hits and five runs across for the Phillies and a 5-0 lead. Pelfrey got pulled for a pinch-hitter in the bottom of the inning.
"I think today I only had one spot and it was up and over the middle of the plate," Pelfrey said.