New York Mets: Mike Pelfrey

TC: Hefner to get another start

May, 25, 2012
5/25/12
7:25
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Mets manager Terry Collins said he believes Jeremy Hefner will make another start as the team searches for stability in the rotation spot once filled by Mike Pelfrey. The team has turned to three different pitchers as it waits for Chris Young to return to the majors.

Hefner gave up six runs and nine hits Thursday night in his first start. He's scheduled to pitch Tuesday against Philadelphia.

The manager said a combination of Hefner pitching well at times and a desire not to mess with the roster have earned Hefner another start. Hefner is 0-2 with a 6.17 ERA in three games.

"We just figured to give him another shot because right now you have to start rearranging the roster again," Collins said. "You have to start taking guys off and each time you try and bring a guy up who's not on the roster you take a chance on losing somebody. We're trying to avoid that if we can."

After Hefner's next start, his spot in the rotation may go to veteran Miguel Batista. Collins said the team would "wait and see," but added that the hope is that Batista is "well enough," meaning he's back from the disabled list and feeling fine. Batista has been on the disabled list since May 20 with a lower back strain.

Several different pitchers have tried to fill the open spot in the rotation and struggled overall, failing to give the team length. The bullpen had to throw 5 1/3 innings in relief of Hefner Thursday night, and Collins said it's led to overworking his relievers.

"We're asking these (bullpen) guys to do stuff they're really not comfortable with. That's the nature of the game right now, when you've got to eat up some innings," Collins said. "We have to get that guy in that spot to give us more innings."

LINEUP: After Ronny Cedeno batted leadoff Thursday, the shortstop has been moved to the No. 7 hole Friday. Collins said it's due to a combination of the pitching matchup, as San Diego is tossing a righty, and this lineup's success last series against Pittsburgh.

TEJADA: Ruben Tejada's base-running session Friday was just "so-so", according to Collins. Tejada has been on the disabled list with a right quad strain since May 6.

"I wouldn't say it's a step back, it's just not a big step forward," Collins said.

Collins said Tejada is going to be brought along slowly and it may not take many rehab games for Tejada to return once the team is OK with how he's running.

CATCHING DUTY: Rob Johnson is behind the plate again Friday because Collins wants Mike Nickeas to catch Johan Santana on Saturday and R.A. Dickey on Sunday.

INJURY NOTES:
Jason Bay (rib) will not play in a game until his rib is fully healed, but he has been swinging against live pitching. Catcher Josh Thole (concussion) will catch five innings Monday. Young will pitch Friday for Single-A St. Lucie.

RAMIREZ OK: Ramon Ramirez said he is fine after his right calf tightened up on him Thursday night against the Padres.

Q: What is your Pelfrey prediction for '12?

January, 18, 2012
1/18/12
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A year ago at this time, it appeared that Mike Pelfrey may take the leap to being a No. 1 or 2 starter. He had just completed a 2010 in which he went15-9 with a 3.66 ERA. With Johan Santana hurt, the Mets turned to Pelfrey.

Pelfrey did the A.J. Burnett dance, going from a No. 2 to maybe a No. 5. If his 7-13 record with a 4.74 ERA had been better, the Mets still wouldn't have made the playoffs, but they may have a few more meaningful games last summer.

Pelfrey just turned 28 on Saturday. He is two years from free agency and it seems like the perfect time for Pelfrey to right himself and put together back-to-back big years. Can he?

Question of the Day: What do you expect from Mike Pelfrey in 2012? Win/loss, ERA?

Mets settle arb. case with Pelfrey, others

January, 17, 2012
1/17/12
12:01
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The Mets have avoided arbitration with Mike Pelfrey, Ramon Ramirez and Andres Torres, sources tell Adam Rubin. Pelfrey will get a bump to $5.687 million from $3.925M. He can become a free agent after the 2013 season.

The two men acquired in the Angel Pagan deal also will not have to hear mean things said about them by their new team in an arbitration hearing. Per Rubin, Ramirez will make $2.65M this season, while Torres will pick a nice $2.7M for playing for the Mets.

With Manny Acosta's arbitration-eligible salary still unknown, the Mets' payroll projects to $90.7M for 2012.

I think I know the answer, but let me throw it out there.

Question: Are you OK with a $90.7M payroll?

Pelfrey's season ends on sour note

September, 25, 2011
9/25/11
6:39
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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.

W2W4: Brewers at Mets (Friday)

August, 19, 2011
8/19/11
11:47
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Hot Hitter2Watch4
Lucas Duda is hitting .351 with a .982 OPS and seven RBIs in his past 10 games. One of the things Duda has shown is the ability to handle the bat well against offspeed pitches from right-handers.

Though he misses on about one-fourth of his swings against such pitches, that’s not a bad rate at all. The major league average is about 28 percent. Duda has a .998 OPS against right-handers curves, sliders and changeups.

Among those who have seen at least 200 such pitches this season, only Brewers first baseman Prince Fielder (1.082) and Rockies outfielder Carlos Gonzalez (1.067) rate higher.

Shaun Marcum What2Watch4
Because of his propensity to throw changeups and a rather unintimidating fastball, Marcum rates high on an unusual list. As we noted on an ESPN game telecast earlier this season, his average pitch comes to the plate at 81 mph.

The only non-knuckleball throwing starting pitcher with a slower average pitching velocity is Livan Hernandez of the Nationals (79 mph).

Mike Pelfrey What2Watch4
In fairness to Pelfrey, he hasn’t had the best opportunity to take advantage of pitching in Citi Field this season. He’s made only 10 of his 25 starts there and has only one home loss this season.

Pelfrey has fared particularly well against lefties at Citi Field this season. One of the reasons is he has kept opponents from getting the fat part of the bat on the ball. Lefties are only hitting line drives one out of every nine balls in play against Pelfrey in Mets home games. They’re hitting them at double that rate in Mets road games.

Pelfrey has made a start in each of the last three seasons against the Brewers and has looked pretty good, allowing five runs in 21 innings.

Matchup2Watch4
If there’s a key moment with Prince Fielder up late in the game, expect to see Tim Byrdak. Fielder has one of the oddest splits in the majors as far as facing left-handed pitching is concerned. In Miller Park, he’s hitting .370 with five home runs in 73 at-bats against lefties. In other ballparks, he’s hitting .210 with no home runs in 62 at-bats against lefties.

Since giving up a home run to Fielder on Aug. 8, 2009, Byrdak has retired him six of the eight times they’ve matched up.

Defensive Player2Watch4
It’s not so much a player to watch for when you’re watching the Brewers defense, but an overall style of play. Milwaukee is one of the most aggressive shifting teams in the league. This has been viewed in baseball circles as done to compensate for the lack of range throughout its infield.

The advanced defensive metrics from Baseball Info Solutions had the Brewers infield costing the team 31 runs last season (-31 Defensive Runs Saved). This season, that cost has been reduced to 14 runs (-14 Defensive Runs Saved).

The player who has benefited the most in terms of turning batted balls into outs is second baseman Rickie Weeks, who rated as costing the Brewers 11 runs last season. This season, he is credited with 1 Defensive Run Saved. Weeks is currently on the DL.

W2W4: Phillies at Mets (Sunday)

July, 17, 2011
7/17/11
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Kyle Kendrick stat to watch
The current group of Mets batsmen has hit Kendrick in limited samplings. Josh Thole, Ronny Paulino, Carlos Beltran and Willie Harris, all have batting averages of .300 or better against Kendrick, with between 13 and 19 plate against him.

Kendrick has been very hittable in the first inning this season-- eight runs allowed in his seven starts, but is someone who settles down afterwards. He’s yielded no second-inning runs in his seven starts this season.

Mike Pelfrey stat to watch
All that needs to be said about Pelfrey can be shown in his home-road splits:

Pelfrey at home vs the Phillies: 5-2, 2.70 ERA-- 60 IP, 3 HR
Pelfrey on road vs the Phillies: 1-3, 9.38 ERA-- 31 2/3 IP, 9 HR

Chase Utley enters with four career home runs against Pelfrey, matching his most against any pitcher (he has four against Johan Santana). That’s also the most Pelfrey has allowed to any hitter. He’s yielded three to both Ryan Howard and Chipper Jones.

How Mike Pelfrey can help himself
Pelfrey is 1-for-30 at the plate this season and his career batting average now stands at .086. Mets pitchers are now 13-for-160 this season (the Phillies, by comparison, have 27 hits from their pitchers), 6-for-87 at Citi Field.

Daniel Murphy Watch
Murphy continues to sizzle, his batting average now up to .312. Murphy had his ninth game this season with at least three hits on Saturday, second-most on the team this season. Five of those have come in his last 19 games. He had only four in the first 70 games of the season. With a hit on Saturday, he’s also raised his batting average with runners in scoring position this season to .349.

Leftover from Saturday
Cole Hamels fell to 3-10 career against the Mets. Via the Elias Sports Bureau: Only one pitcher had fewer wins at the time of his 10th loss to the Mets-- former Brave Rick Mahler, whose 10th loss dropped him to 2-10 for his career against them.

Pelf suffers both losses on positive trip

June, 30, 2011
6/30/11
5:54
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The Mets went 4-2 on their road trip to Texas and Detroit. The two losses were charged to Mike Pelfrey. And he willingly acknowledged that fact after the Mets fell short of a series sweep with a 5-2 loss to the Tigers on Thursday afternoon.

"You're happy we had a good road trip," Pelfrey said. "We won two series from two very good teams. But I want to get in on the winning, too. We went 4-2, and I pitched the two games we lost. So that's tough from that standpoint.”


AP Photo/Paul Sancya
Mike Pelfrey was charged with both losses on the road trip.


Pelfrey was charged with five runs (four earned) on eight hits while matching a career-high with five walks against the Tigers. His pitch count was quickly driven up, and he finished with 109 pitches in 4 2/3 innings.

"My command was bad against the Rangers, and it was worse today," Pelfrey said. "Fastball command was not good at all. What made the outing decent in Texas, after giving up the first three (runs in the first inning), I had a good slider after that. I can't say I had a good secondary pitch today, either. That's tough, especially when you're going up against a lineup like that."

Pelfrey is now 4-7 with a 4.92 ERA this season.

"It's not where I wanted to be," he said. "It's not what I envisioned. It's not what I planned. I have to have a lot better second half. Obviously I thought that May and June was a lot better than April. April was bad. But I thought the last two months have been better. But this was a bad road trip for me."

One of the runs that scored when Pelfrey was pitching was unearned, when Angel Pagan threw wide of third base on Ramon Santiago's third-inning single to right-center, allowing a second run to score on the play. Pagan's throw was ill-advised since Jhonny Peralta had third base easily anyway, but Pelfrey took responsibility for not backing up the play. He said he initially was going to back up the plate, but decided that was not going to be needed and froze.

"I immediately went to go back up home," Pelfrey said. "I didn't get there. I kind of stopped because I said, 'Hey, there's not a play at home.' I looked, and by that time that ball was already going (toward this base). But that's on me. I should have been there. I didn't even get to home. I kind of let up when I saw the ball wasn't going to be at home. I let up. That's on me more than anybody."

Rapid Reaction: Pirates 3, Mets 1

June, 13, 2011
6/13/11
9:26
PM ET


Recap | Box score | Photos

WHAT IT MEANS: With a 3-1 loss to the Pirates, the Mets split the four-game series. They again fell short in their bid to reach .500 for the first time since they were 22-22 on May 20, after beating the Yankees in the Subway Series opener in the Bronx.

BIG PELF: After surrendering a first-inning RBI single to Neil Walker, Mike Pelfrey retired 11 straight Pirates. That streak ended when Pelfrey surrendered a solo homer to Brandon Wood to lead off the bottom of the fifth, which staked Pittsburgh to a 2-0 lead.

Pelfrey was replaced by pinch-hitter Lucas Duda in the eighth after a leadoff walk to Ruben Tejada. The Opening Day starter’s line: 7 IP, 2 ER, 4 H, 0 BB, 6 K. Pelfrey threw 81 pitches (54 strikes).

In the last 18 games, Mets starting pitchers have a 2.54 ERA (34 earned runs in 120 2/3 innings).

RUNNING OUT OF INNINGS: The Mets made two costly baserunning gaffes.

With the Mets trailing 1-0 in the fifth, and with Daniel Murphy on second and Tejada on first with one out, Pelfrey missed a bunt attempt. Catcher Michael McKenry, in his first game with the Pirates after being acquired Sunday night in a trade with the Boston Red Sox, fired to second and caught Murphy too far off the base.

Then, on a sacrifice fly by Jose Reyes that scored Tejada and pulled the Mets within 2-1 in the eighth, Duda -- who had singled to advance Tejada to third base -- did not properly tag up at first base on the sliding catch by left fielder Jose Tabata. Duda was thrown out for a double play. (He may have thought the ball short-hopped Tabata.)

A day earlier, Angel Pagan had been ruled out on the bases on a sacrifice fly when he failed to retouch second base while retreating to first base.

OBSTRUCTED VIEW: Second base umpire Jerry Layne ruled Reyes impeded Tabata’s path from first to third base on Xavier Paul’s single in the first inning. Layne awarded Tabata third base. Tabata, who briefly slowed but did not appear to make contact with Reyes, had been thrown out at third base by the center fielder Pagan and began walking off the field when he learned of the obstruction call. Reyes was charged with an error. The decision, which Reyes and then Terry Collins argued, proved costly. It was Tabata who ended up scoring the game’s opening run on Walker’s ensuing single.

SILENT NIGHT: The Mets mustered only three hits in seven scoreless innings against southpaw Paul Maholm, two by Murphy, the lone left-handed bat in the starting lineup.

POISON PEN: Manny Acosta, in his first appearance in eight days, loaded the bases with one out in the eighth. Tim Byrdak entered and issued a two-out walk to the righty-hitting Walker to force in a run. D.J. Carrasco then entered for his first major league appearance since returning from Triple-A Buffalo and coaxed a flyout to right field.

K-ROD TRACKER: Francisco Rodriguez did not appear. He remained at 25 games finished, on pace for 61. That would place K-Rod six over the games-finished threshold for his contract to kick in at $17.5 million for 2012. Said Collins: “I’m being totally honest with you: No one has come and said, ‘Why’d you use him?’ Or, ‘You can’t use him.’ Or, ‘You shouldn’t use him.’ All I know is he’s helping us win games. The one night I brought him in a game that didn’t count to have him finish the game because it was what we had to do to make sure he stays ready, because if he’s not ready he’s not going to pitch well when we need him.”

WHAT’S NEXT: The Mets open a three-game series in Atlanta on Tuesday at 7:10 p.m. Jon Niese (5-5, 3.51 ERA) opposes major league ERA leader Jair Jurrjens (8-2, 1.82) in the series opener.

Mets notes: Pelfrey, Reyes, Murphy

June, 2, 2011
6/02/11
6:41
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Mike Pelfrey got bailed out -- again.

Despite giving up a season high-tying seven earned runs and 10 hits in five innings on Thursday afternoon, Pelfrey was let off the hook when the Mets came back and eventually beat the Pittsburgh Pirates 9-8. It's the second time this season that the Mets have rallied from a 7-0 deficit to turn a sure Pelfrey loss into a no-decision (April 6 at Philadelphia).

Pelfrey gave up six runs on eight hits through the first two innings, but rebounded to allow just one run over the final three frames of his outing, which allowed his team to get back into the game.

"I thought I did a better job keeping the ball down," said Pelfrey, whose earned run average stands at 5.56.

Jose Reyes tried not to take his personal life to the field with him on Thursday afternoon -- but he couldn't help himself.

Reyes is still grieving for grandmother, who died Monday afternoon. In his first game back after a three-day stint on the bereavement list, Reyes went 1-for-4 with a run scored.

"I was thinking about her a little bit during the game, but I need to stay focused," Reyes said.

Reyes was able to extend his hitting streak to seven games (.484, 15-for-31), but failed to pick up multiple hits, which ended his career high-tying streak at six games with two or more hits.

• By coming through with a pinch-hit RBI single in the sixth, Daniel Murphy raised his average to .293. He was hitting just .233 on May 20.

"All I'm doing is putting really good swings on the ball," said Murphy, who is 3-for-14 as a pinch-hitter this season.

What2Watch4: Mets vs Yankees (Sunday)

May, 22, 2011
5/22/11
10:00
AM ET
Who will win the first round of the Subway Series? We'll know in about six hours. A few notes to chew on until then:

Mike Pelfrey Matchup to Watch

Mike Pelfrey’s biggest battle may not be with his opponents, but instead with what is typically a hitter-friendly ballpark. Pelfrey has had success in a few hitter-friendly venues, most notably Coors Field, but has struggled in Citizens Bank Park (9.38 ERA in seven starts), Chase Field (9.68 ERA in four starts), and Great American Ball Park (5.50 ERA in three starts) among other venues.

Ivan Nova Matchup To Watch

A telling stat on Ivan Nova is found in his splits page on Baseball-Reference.com. Opponents are hitting .239 against him with 15 extra-base hits in the first 50 pitches of an appearances. For his next 25 pitches, opponents are hitting .346 with 12 extra-base hits. So watch Nova once he gets about midway through his start.

Jeter Watch

Derek Jeter now has 2,973 hits, including 28 hits in his last 24 games. Our friends at Accuscore.com have been pointing to the June 15-17 series against the Rangers as the time that Jeter will reach 3,000 hits.

He’s on pace to do so right around that time. But if Jeter wants to ensure he reaches the mark at Yankee Stadium, he might want to pick up the pace a bit. Following that Rangers series, the Yankees have a six-game interleague road trip against the Cubs and Reds.

Jeter is 1-for-6 career against Pelfrey. Jeter could break the Yankees steals record if he gets on base. Pelfrey has yielded seven steals in eight attempts in 2011.

Justin Time

Mets rookie Justin Turner has driven in a run in seven straight games. But that’s not that rare. A Met has had seven straight games with an RBI on 21 occasions.

But the list dwindles down to nine instances when you list times that a Mets hitter drove in a run in eight straight games. The last to do it did so in nearly identical stretches: Carlos Delgado (June 5-14, 2006) and Carlos Beltran (June 7-15, 2006).

The Mets record is 15 straight by Mike Piazza in 2000, the second-longest streak since RBI became an official stat in 1920. Ray Grimes (1922 Cubs) holds the major league record with 17 straight that season.

Looking Ahead

When the series finale (again, for a series of three games or longer) is held in the Bronx, the Yankees are 10-1, and have won the last nine (cap-tip to ex-ESPN researcher Mark Kelly for correcting our initial note). The lone Mets win was in 1999.

Mets morning briefing 5.6.11

May, 6, 2011
5/06/11
9:30
AM ET
After salvaging the series finale against the San Francisco Giants behind Mike Pelfrey's season-high 7 2/3-inning performance, the Mets welcome Don Mattingly, Andre Ethier and Ethier's 29-game hitting streak to Citi Field.

Friday's news reports:

• The Post anoints hedge-fund guru Steve Cohen the frontrunner to buy a minority share of the Mets. The newspaper reported he had a dinner meeting scheduled with Mets owners for last night. The report states:

While Cohen's investment, if he is selected and chooses to invest in the team, could solve many Mets' off-field problems, the reclusive Long Island native comes with some baggage. The investor's $12 billion SAC Capital hedge fund operation said in a letter to investors last November that it had received an "extraordinarily broad" subpoena from federal prosecutors probing insider trading on Wall Street. In a Dec. 31 letter, the Post has reported, Cohen promised those investors that he would pick up the tab for SAC's costs in cooperating with the feds. SAC has not been charged or named in any action.

Mike Sielski of The Wall Street Journal takes a look at the newly instituted paternity-leave policy in Major League Baseball. The new policy allows a team to replace a player on the roster for two games while the player leaves the team for the birth of a child. Jason Bay became the fourth player in the majors to take advantage of the new policy. By allowing the Mets to replace Bay with Lucas Duda for two games, it avoided Bay having to make a tough choice between missing his child's birth and leaving his team shorthanded. Kurt Suzuki, Colby Lewis and Ian Desmond also have taken advantage of the new policy.

• Newsday's Jim Baumbach reviews the bumpy beginning to Mattingly's tenure as Dodgers manager -- from MLB stepping in to oversee the team, to trying to succeed Joe Torre, to having an ineffective and now injured closer in Jonathan Broxton, to other injuries including to Casey Blake.

• Despite repeatedly allowing baserunners, Francisco Rodriguez actually is seven for eight in save conversions. Newsday's David Lennon looks at how K-Rod is trying to stay sharp with a slow pace of usage, far off the rate when he amassed 63 saves with the Angels."I have to find a way -- one way or the other," Rodriguez tells Lennon about his sharpness. "It's been a battle the past three years here. I used to pitch day-in and day-out. But one thing I've learned is that's something I cannot control. I've just got to be ready when the time comes and not blow it."

By the way, in K-Rod's 13 relief appearances, he has allowed a baserunner all but one time. The only exception: a two-pitch effort on April 10 in a 7-3, 11-inning win against the Washington Nationals. That day, Rodriguez entered with two out in the ninth and Danny Espinosa on second base. K-Rod retired Jerry Hairston on a fly ball and departed for pinch-hitter Carlos Beltran the following half-inning.

• Read game stories from Thursday's 5-2 matinee win against the Giants in Newsday, the Times, Record, Post and Star-Ledger.

• Newsday's Anthony Rieber said Beltran, who has played in 19 straight games, is making himself a trade commodity too. Beltran does have a no-trade clause, but you would hope that would not be much of an impediment. He is making $18.5 million this season. Salaries are calculated based on a 183-day major league schedule, so each day of the season, Beltran makes $101,092.90.

If Beltran is traded at the July 31 deadline, there still would be 59 days left in the season. So Beltran's new team would owe him $5.96 million, unless the Mets decided to subsidize it. One fascinating potential tug-of-war could be among the Mets' front office and ownership at that point. Generally, the more money the Mets ask an acquiring team to eat, the lesser the prospect package they would get in return. Eat the whole sum and the trade haul gets a lot better.

David Waldstein of the Times wonders if the Mets might consider sending Josh Thole briefly to the minors to regroup. Thole should be back in the starting lineup Friday night after a two-game absence. Even if the Mets were considering sending Thole down, it would have to wait until after the weekend. Mike Nickeas was demoted for Ronny Paulino's activation last Friday. By rule, he is required to spend 10 days in the minors before returning to the majors, unless a player lands on the disabled list in the interim. Waldstein broached the subject because Mike Pelfrey, when asked, praised Paulino's work with him Thursday. Writes Waldstein:

[Pelfrey] credited Paulino for his leadership and game-calling. “There were times I would have the slider grip already in my glove and he would put it down,” Pelfrey said, “and I’d be like, ‘O.K., let’s do it.’” Pelfrey also noted how Paulino came out to the mound in the top of the third after Pelfrey had just scored from first base on Jose Reyes’s triple in the bottom of the second. Pelfrey said he was exhausted from the 270-foot sprint, so Paulino shrewdly made a visit to the mound before the first batter to give him extra time to rest.

Meanwhile, in addition to the problems Thole, a converted catcher, has had throwing out runners and allowing some passed balls, the Mets have been unhappy at times with some of his pitch calling. On April 6, they were dismayed when Pelfrey admitted to getting away from his two-seam fastball. ... Then last Friday against the Phillies, with Ryan Howard at the plate, Thole called for a fastball from Dillon Gee, instead of his best pitch, the changeup.

Pelfrey's ERA by catcher this year: Paulino, 1.17; Nickeas, 3.75; Thole, 9.56.

In a larger sample size last season, it was: Henry Blanco, 2.81; Thole, 3.27; Rod Barajas, 4.80.

• Daily News columnist Bill Madden notes Pelfrey did not exactly mow down Murderers Row on Thursday. Writes Madden:

Not to disparage Pelfrey's 7 2/3 innings of two-run ball, which lowered his ERA from 7.39 to 6.06 and brought a welcome smile to [Terry] Collins. It's just that, well, when four of the eight position players in the lineup are hitting .211 or worse, the Giants don't exactly have the look of world champions right now. Before the game, Giants manager Bruce Bochy was shaking his head in handing over the lineup to his bench coach Ron Wotus -- a lineup that had .298-lifetime hitting second baseman Freddy Sanchez scratched with a sore right thumb, last year's Rookie of the Year catcher Buster Posey given the day off and two of their most productive players, third baseman Pablo Sandoval and center fielder Andres Torres, on the disabled list.

"You're .500 now," someone told Bochy.

"We are?" the manager said, incredulously. "Well, considering the way we've played I guess I should be very happy with that at this point."

• The Post's Justin Terranova has a Q&A with Ron Darling. One exchange:

Q: Is it weird to see these proud franchises [the Dodgers and Mets] in such desperate situations when it comes to ownership?

A: If you are a fan of both organizations, this is not the rosiest of times. As a Mets fan, you don't know what is going to happen and Dodgers fans have to wonder what the heck is going on. But if you are in the Mets clubhouse every day, I don't think there is ever a discussion about the Bernie Madoff situation. It's a real serious story for both franchises, but it does not affect the players one iota.

BIRTHDAY: Willie Mays celebrates his 80th birthday. Mays hit the final 14 of his 660 career home runs with the Mets after being traded to the team in 1972. He also had the game-winning hit in the 12th inning of Game 2 of the 1973 World Series. -Mark Simon

Pelfrey has his best outing of season

May, 5, 2011
5/05/11
5:53
PM ET

Mike Pelfrey is not a major league ace. A No. 2 or No. 3 starter on a big-league staff, maybe. But not a No. 1.

Yet that is what the Mets are asking him to be in 2011, with Johan Santana on the disabled list now and for the foreseeable future.

Fair or unfair, Pelfrey hasn't lived up to that role so far this season. But on Thursday afternoon, he stepped up in a big way to lead the Mets to a desperately needed victory.


Jim McIsaac/Getty Images
Mike Pelfrey pitched a season high 7 2/3 innings Thursday.


Pelfrey pitched 7 2/3 innings -- his longest outing of the season -- giving up just two runs on four hits, as the Mets salvaged the final game of a three-game set against the defending World Series champs, beating the San Francisco Giants 5-2.

"Mechanically I felt awesome," Pelfrey said. "And that allowed me to be able to put the ball where I wanted to. We were working the inner part of the plate a lot, and I was able to get it there. The fastball coming in on the inside of the plate was the best it's been all year."

Pelfrey entered the game with a disappointing record of 1-3 and an ugly ERA of 7.39. In his previous outing, six days ago in Philadelphia, he lasted just 4 1/3 innings, giving up four runs on eight hits in what ended up being a 10-3 Phillies victory.

The 6-foot-7 right-hander was suffering through a stomach virus last week, which caused him to lose 11 pounds, and manager Terry Collins' gut instinct was to hold Pelfrey out of that game and give him some extra time to recuperate. But Pelfrey convinced Collins to let him pitch -- a decision Collins second-guessed after that game.

Before Thursday's game against the Giants, Collins said Pelfrey was back to 100 percent, and that he hoped to see him start pounding the strike zone more. And that's exactly what Pelfrey did -- particularly at the beginning of the ballgame. Through three innings, he had not allowed a hit, needing just 27 pitches to get nine outs -- 22 of which were strikes.

The Giants got on the board with two outs in the fourth, when Mike Fontenot drilled a 3-1 fastball into the upper deck in right field, pulling the Giants within 3-1. Then Pelfrey labored through the fifth, throwing 30 pitches and allowing another run. But that wasn't entirely his fault -- the runner who eventually scored reached base on a Jose Reyes throwing error.

"In the middle innings, I thought I worked a little too hard, trying to do too much," Pelfrey said. "And then I thought in the seventh and eighth that it kinda clicked again. I got back to what I was doing earlier in the game."

He certainly did. Pelfrey cruised through a 1-2-3 seventh, and allowed just a single in the eighth before being lifted after throwing 116 pitches -- 78 for strikes -- with five K's and only two walks. Closer Francisco Rodriguez was summoned from the bullpen for a four-out save.

"I thought in the seventh and eighth inning [Pelfrey] actually had as good a stuff as he had the whole game," said Collins. "The ball had great movement, he was locating it. … I think this is a great start for Mike, and I hope it gets him on track."

Last season was Pelfrey's best at the major-league level, as the then 26-year-old started the season 9-1 with a 2.39 ERA through June 13. He suffered through a rough July and early August, in which he lost four straight decisions, but still finished the year with a career-high 15 wins, to go along with nine losses and a 3.66 ERA.

Collins is hoping Pelfrey's rough stretch for this season is already in the rearview mirror.

"I think he's just starting to have a feel for it," Collins said. "I know he had a real bad month last year, and maybe that's the month he had in April this year, and [he] put it behind him."

With Santana out indefinitely, and the rest of the starting rotation besides Chris Young underwhelming so far this season, the Mets will need more of the same from Pelfrey if they are going to make any kind of noise in the National League. Pelfrey hopes to build on this win, which kept the Mets from being swept by the Giants at home, and ended a streak of five losses in six games.

When asked after the game if he felt extra pressure being the team's No. 1 starter right now, Pelfrey dismissed the notion.

"I just want to pitch better than what I have been," Pelfrey said. "Every time I go out there, I'm trying to win -- I don't care if I'm on a 10-game win streak, or a 10-game losing streak, I'm going out there to win. That doesn't really have an effect. Every time I'm out there, I expect to win and I want to win."

And he admitted that he hasn't felt as good as he did on Thursday since the 2010 season -- a hopeful sign for Mets fans.

"I haven't really felt as good as this mechanically this year," Pelfrey said. "I felt it click, and hopefully it'll continue to get me going, and [I'll] have a lot better May than April."

Rapid Reaction: Mets 5, Giants 2

May, 5, 2011
5/05/11
3:57
PM ET
WHAT IT MEANS: The Mets (13-18) avoided getting swept by salvaging the series finale with a 5-2 win against the San Francisco Giants.

Mike Pelfrey


Starting Pitcher
New York Mets

Profile


2011 Season Stats
GM W L BB K ERA
7 2 3 15 21 6.06
HEALTHY PERFORMANCE: Mike Pelfrey tossed a season-high 7 2/3 innings. He limited the Giants to two runs (one earned) and four hits while striking out five and walking two in a 116-pitch effort.

Pelfrey took a no-hit bid into the fourth inning, when Mike Fontenot delivered a two-out homer to pull the Giants within 3-1. Pelfrey allowed a second run, unearned, in the fifth. The inning began with Jose Reyes committing a throwing error, which placed Nate Schierholtz on second base. Opposing pitcher Jonathan Sanchez subsequently delivered a two-out RBI single.

It was Pelfrey’s first outing since he was knocked out in the fifth inning of a 10-3 loss at Philadelphia last Friday and Terry Collins questioned himself for not scratching the right-hander from the start and instead using Dillon Gee.

TRON: Carlos Beltran’s two-run homer in the fifth staked the Mets to a 5-2 lead. Beltran was playing his 19th straight game, with the Mets having abandoned the day-game-after-night-game rest of the early season. Beltran homered for the second time in the series and fifth time this season.

Jonathan Sanchez


Starting Pitcher
San Francisco Giants

Profile


2011 Season Stats
GM W L BB K ERA
7 2 2 26 46 3.55
WILD SIDE: Sanchez walked four batters in the first inning at D.C. his last start, then hit two batters in his second inning in that outing. He was wild again Thursday afternoon. The southpaw consecutively issued two-out walks to No. 8 hitter Scott Hairston and Pelfrey in the second inning. Reyes followed with a two-run triple to the wall in left-center as the Mets built a 3-0 lead.

Sanchez’s final line: 5 IP, 5 H, 5 R, 5 ER, 6 BB, 6 K.

THAT’S HU: Chin-lung Hu went 0-for-3 with two strikeouts and a walk in his first start since April 9. He is now 0-for-his-last-12 and has a .059 average this season. His lone hit came April 5 at Philadelphia, when he singled against Philadelphia’s J.C. Romero.

“I need to get him in a game,” Collins said about the reasoning for starting Hu in the game at second base.

K-ROD TRACKER: Francisco Rodriguez converted his seventh save and finished his ninth game with a four-out performance, although two walks and a single in the ninth loaded the bases with one out. Rodriguez then struck out Miguel Tejada and retired pinch-hitter Buster Posey to end it. K-Rod went to full counts on the first four batters of the ninth. He threw 42 pitches, narrowly shy of the career-high 47 he tossed last July in San Francisco. It was K-Rod’s second four-out save this season and 25th of more than one inning in his career.

He needs 46 games finished in the Mets’ remaining 131 games for his contract to vest at $17.5 million for 2012. K-Rod is on pace for 47 games finished, eight shy of reaching the milestone that triggers that contract clause.

WHAT’S NEXT: Don Mattingly’s Los Angeles Dodgers come to Citi Field for a weekend series. Jon Niese opposes Hiroki Kuroda in Friday’s series opener, followed by Chris Young versus Jon Garland on Saturday and R.A. Dickey versus Clayton Kershaw on Sunday.

Mets morning briefing 4.30.11

April, 30, 2011
4/30/11
8:40
AM ET
Despite late homers by Ike Davis and Jason Pridie, the Mets lost to the Phillies, 10-3, Friday as Mike Pelfrey and Dillon Gee gave up four runs apiece.

Mepham High (Bellmore, Long Island) Class of 1991 20th reunion Saturday. ESPNNewYork.com's Mike Mazzeo has the day's Mets coverage from Philly.

Saturday's news reports:

Ryan Howard had two homers and six RBIs in Philadelphia's win. And pitching coach Dan Warthen did not second guess the decision to start Pelfrey, as was the case with Terry Collins. “I think the guy wanted to go out there and pitch,” Warthen said. He’s been a big part, he’s a 15-game winner last year. He deserved the opportunity to pitch. That’s wonderful of Terry to say that and take the onus upon himself, but this guy is a good solid pitcher, and for three innings he kept us in the game.” Read games stories in the Record, Star-Ledger, Times, Post, Daily News and Newsday.

• Collins tells Record columnist Bob Klapisch that Pelfrey was motivated in wanting the ball Friday by his career struggles at Citizens Bank Park. “I don’t want people to think I’m afraid to pitch here,” Pelfrey told Collins, according to Klapisch. To which the manager replied: “It’s not just about you. If you get your [butt] beat, it affects 24 other guys, too. Think about that.” Collins allowed Pelfrey to start anyway.

Meanwhile, Klapisch wonders about Pelfrey's future with the organization. Writes Klapisch:

[Sandy] Alderson’s peers in the industry say he’s had little patience for chronic underachievers. Pelfrey has fallen into that category; as much as the Mets like him personally, and as much as they realize his burden is greater than the other pitchers’ -- stepping in for the injured Johan Santana -- the idea of dealing Pelfrey may indeed be on the table.

Ronny Paulino's first Mets start should be Sunday, when left-hander Cliff Lee starts for the Phillies. Paulino is a career .338 hitter against southpaws. Read more in Newsday, the Post, Star-Ledger and Record.

Chris Young discusses the two-page, typed reports he prepares before his starts on the opposing hitters in The Wall Street Journal. Writes Brian Costa:

Young, a Mets right-hander and Princeton graduate, keeps a copy of every game plan he has written since 2008 in a black binder in his locker. His latest, written before his start Tuesday in Washington, began with this paragraph for Nationals leadoff hitter Danny Espinosa: "Start with fastball down and away or backdoor slider. Work fastball up middle. Throw off-speed down. Fastball up and in ties him up and is always a good pitch. Will chase fastball up and off-speed in the dirt." Under that was a series of numbers: the percentage of first pitches Espinosa swings at, the percentage of first pitches he swings at with runners in scoring position and his batting average on every pitch type.

BIRTHDAYS: There are no Mets birthdays of significance, but this does mark the 25th anniversary of a notable moment in which the Mets played a part. Former Braves outfielder Dale Murphy hit a pinch-hit home run against Dwight Gooden on this date in 1986. What’s significant about that? That Murphy was playing at all. He’d gashed his hand badly prior to this game and was told by doctors to sit out for a week to 10 days to allow it to heal. Murphy wanted to play, rather than end his streak of consecutive games played at 675. So in the fifth inning, manager Chuck Tanner relented and Murphy homered. The Mets won anyway, their 11th straight victory. -Mark Simon

Rapid Reaction: Phillies 10, Mets 3

April, 29, 2011
4/29/11
10:13
PM ET

Recap | Box score | Photos

Ryan Howard


First Base
Philadelphia Phillies

Profile


2011 Season Stats
GM HR RBI R OBP AVG
25 6 27 15 .364 .302
WHAT IT MEANS: Facing call-up Vance Worley with Joe Blanton landing on the disabled list with elbow trouble, the Mets missed their most manageable chance to put up offensive numbers in the series. The 23-year-old Worley limited the Mets to two hits in six scoreless innings. Ryan Howard had two homers, including a grand slam, and drove in six runs in Philadelphia’s 10-3 victory. Now, Roy Halladay is up on Saturday, followed by Cliff Lee on Sunday.

The Mets have lost two straight games since their six-game winning streak. They slip to 11-15, 6 games behind the Phillies in the division.

In their last two games at Citizens Bank Park, the Mets have now lost 11-0 and 10-3.

Worley became the 18th pitcher in major league history to toss six or more scoreless innings against the Mets in one of his first six major league appearances. The other most recent pitchers to do that: Cincinnati’s Tom Shearn in 2007, Arizona’s Brandon Webb in 2003, and a quartet in 2001: Colorado’s Jason Jennings, San Diego’s Junior Herndon, Montreal’s Troy Mattes and Cincinnati’s Chris Reitsma.

Mike Pelfrey


Starting Pitcher
New York Mets

Profile


2011 Season Stats
GM W L BB K ERA
6 1 3 13 16 7.39
SICK FEELING: Mike Pelfrey talked Terry Collins into allowing him to start on turn in the series opener, despite a week-long illness that caused him to lose 11 pounds. By the fifth inning, fallback option Dillon Gee ended up in the game anyway.

Pelfrey surrendered a mammoth two-run homer to Howard into the second deck in right field in the fourth, then only recorded one out the following inning. He was pulled after a bases-loaded, two-run single by Ben Francisco staked the Phillies to a 4-0 lead in the fifth.

Gee, making his first professional relief appearance since pitching for Class A Brooklyn in 2007, after he was drafted in the 21st round that year, stranded two inherited runners.

Pelfrey’s line: 4.1 IP, 8 H, 4 ER, 1 BB (intentional), 3 K, 1 HBP. The Phillies also successfully stole three bases against Pelfrey, who actually lowered his career ERA at Citizens Bank Park to 9.38.

SLAMMED: Howard’s grand slam in the sixth off Gee gave Philadelphia an 8-0 lead. Opponents have now hit 18 straight slams since the Mets last produced one -- on Aug. 1, 2009, by Angel Pagan off Arizona’s Clay Zavada. The 18 unanswered slams is the longest streak against one club in major league history.

STREAK LIVES: Ike Davis’ career-high hitting streak was extended to 11 games with a solo homer in the ninth off David Herndon. Jason Pridie delivered a two-run homer later in the ninth to round out the scoring.

DEBUTANT: Ronny Paulino grounded out in the ninth inning as a pinch-hitter in his Mets debut.

WHAT’S NEXT: Jon Niese (1-3, 5.10 ERA) tries to get the Mets back on track against Halladay in a Fox-televised game Saturday at 1:10 p.m.

SPONSORED HEADLINES

TEAM LEADERS

BA LEADER
Daniel Murphy
BA HR RBI R
.296 9 54 74
OTHER LEADERS
HRL. Duda 27
RBIL. Duda 81
RD. Murphy 74
OPSL. Duda .817
WB. Colon 13
ERAJ. Niese 3.55
SOZ. Wheeler 173