Will Mike Pelfrey Show Himself to Be The Mets No. 2 Starting Pitcher in 2009?
Mike Pelfrey, like Jose Reyes and David Wright, is a product of the Mets farm team system, which sets him apart from the other starting pitchers in the rotation. Johan Santana is from the Minnesota Twins, Oliver Perez is from the San Diego Padres, and John Maine is from the Baltimore Orioles.
Who the No 5 pitcher will be is yet to be determined, but at this point most likely will either be Livian Hernandez or Freddy Garcia, as Tim Redding has been shut down and will not be on the active 25 man roster going into Opening Day.
Pelfrey was given his chance to be a starting pitcher because of the foot injury to Orlando "El Duque" Hernandez, who required surgery in 2008 and was not a factor on the team. This opportunity has provided Pelfrey with the chance to show himself to be poised and effective, while at the same time, he is not afraid of a challenge or to knock someone back off the plate or to subtly retaliate for a teammate being knocked down.
He is a innings eater of a pitcher who can go seven or eight innings. This does take some of the pressure off an overworked bullpen, which I believe contributed to the bullpen's overall ineffectiveness this past season, especially with the loss of Billy Wagner. Pelfrey also, when he is at his best, throws what many refer to as a "bowling ball pitch", which does keep his infielders busy, but also helps to keep the opposition's home runs total to a minimum.
In 2008, Pelfrey was a workhorse, he amassed an enormous amount innings pitched, to the point that he is a concern, especially arm blowout related injuries. He will be monitored carefully this year, and because he has been experiencing pain in his lower left leg this Spring, the Mets are happy with his progress so far and he hopes to make his first start on April 8.
Johan Santana is clearly the No 1 starter, and neither John Maine and Oliver Perez are considered nearly as reliable as Pelfrey, so as long as he remains healthy, he should earn the No. 2 spot in the rotation, which is quite impressive.
The Mets are depending heavily on all of the starting pitchers and Mike Pelfrey seems up to holding up his end of the challenge, especially in the aftermath of consecutive September meltdowns and will do everything possible to keep his managers and teammates trust in his abilities.
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