Mike Pelfrey's 10 wins before the All-Star break counted for absolutely nothing on Monday in Arizona, when he was battered for the fourth straight time.
After going 8-1 in his first 12 appearances in 2010, the wheels have started to fall off lately, and Pelfrey—as well as the Mets—is starting to look more vulnerable than ever before.
Every pitcher will have bad days when he can't throw a pitch for a strike or simply doesn't have the stuff to get hitters to miss, but it was painful watching Mike struggle in the heat of the desert.
How does his 1.1 inning performance rate among the other bad starts of his career? Here are the five worst performances of his young career so far. If the Mets want to continue dreaming of the playoffs, Pelfrey will have to right the ship, and quickly.
I'm going to give Pelfrey a mulligan on this outing. It was just his seventh career game and he had no answer for the potent Colorado lineup.
He allowed five runs in the third inning on five pitches, as the Rockies went from trying to work Pelfrey to realizing they could just tee off on him.
The Mets starter needed 29 pitches to get through the first inning, but Clint Hurdle's side lit up Shea Stadium the most when they hacked away early. With two on and one out in the third, Matt Holliday drove in a run on the first pitch he saw, and Todd Helton singled back through the box on an 0-1 pitch to add a third run. Third baseman John Mabry completed the damage with a three-run home run to right-center field two pitches later.
The final line on Pelfrey read: Three innings, eight hits, one walk, six earned runs, and a home run.
Whether or not you trace Pelfrey's recent struggles to the beat-down at the hands of Florida, it was his next start that really started to make me worry about him.
After the 12-hit debacle against the Marlins, there was an ounce of consolation in the fact that he only surrendered four runs and at least kept the Mets in the game.
Against Cincinnati, neither he nor the Mets were so fortunate.
Pelfrey threw just 54 of his 92 pitches for strikes. His seven earned runs were the most he allowed since the previous September.
Unlike some of his other rocky outings, it was just one big inning that really hurt him. He escaped a bases-loaded jam with one out in the fourth inning, but he couldn't Houdini his way out of the next.
Pelfrey took the mound at the top of the fifth inning with the game tied at 1-1, but the Reds batted around and scored six runs to give them a lead they wouldn't relinquish.
Pelfrey gave up back-to-back singles, a walk, and a hit batter, forcing in a run, to start the inning, but his start unraveled with two outs. A two-RBI single by Drew Stubbs was followed by a two-run double from Corky Miller and a run-scoring triple to pitcher Travis Wood.
Not wanting to give him the chance to allow four consecutive batters to combine for the cycle, Jerry Manuel pulled him before Brandon Phillips came to the plate for the second time in the frame.
When the opposing pitcher allows just a pair of hits in six shutout innings, you better hope the guy you have on the mound turns in a gem to match. Unfortunately for the Mets, Pelfrey fell behind Jair Jurrjens and the Atlanta Braves early and he never recovered.
Pelfrey allowed nine earned runs on nine hits, a walk, and two home runs. Ten of the 23 batters he faced reached base safely.
He got to a full count with six batters, and he seemed to lose the biggest battles he came across. A nine-pitch at-bat to Brian McCann ended in a two-run double. An 11-pitch struggle with Martin Prado culminated in a long home run to deep left-center field.
Six extra-base hits just isn't good enough for a pitcher who needs more than 100 pitches to get through four innings of work.
Pelfrey entered Monday's game having allowed 42 base runners over his previous three starts. Those three starts resulted in just 13.1 innings, a mammoth 10.13 ERA, and a 3.08 WHIP.
According to SNY's telecast, the 42 base runners broke a 60-year-old record stretching back to 1950.
Before the meltdown of his last three starts, Pelfrey had gone at least five innings in each of his last 10 starts, which included a complete game among four consecutive starts of two or fewer runs.
The opposite was the case on Monday as his woes continued.
Just 1.1 innings, seven hits, two walks, and six runs later, Pelfrey was back in the dugout as the Mets were in an early hole. His 51 pitches in the first inning alone was the second most in the majors this year, according to Elias.
A Jose Reyes error didn't help matters, but Pelfrey just looked lost out there. His mechanics looked poor and his location was terrible.
Pelfrey didn't have the stuff to nibble at the corners, yet he tried to stick with his plan even though he constantly fell behind batters. Hitters were comfortable in the box, able to wait on mistake after mistake. Sinkers either didn't sink or were meant to be up in the zone, arriving belt-high.
In some ways, I hope that Pelfrey has an injury, because if this recent stretch of bad performances is not injury-related, he is in serious trouble. His confidence is shot, and I'm not sure it's going to be any easier next time out against the Dodgers.
In his worst ever start, Pelfrey capitulated against the last-placed Pittsburgh Pirates through 3.2 innings of horror.
Pelf gave up nine runs off nine hits and four walks, throwing 83 pitches without getting out of the fourth inning.
He allowed six hits and an intentional walk in a four-run first inning. Only a ground ball double play from the opposing pitcher got him through the frame without more damage.
After settling down in the second and third, Pelfrey lost all sense of control in the fourth.
While he was hit consistently in the first, the ineffective 28 pitches he threw paled in comparison to the wildness of the 26 that proved to be his downfall. He walked three Pirates in the inning and hit a batter before giving up a two-out, two-run single to Jason Jaramillo, the final batter he faced.
What was more disappointing was that the blasting followed one of the best starts of his career, when he led the Mets to a 2-1 win over the Florida Marlins just five days earlier.