As the Mets made their turn around this season and joined the playoff hunt, two names come to mind quickly. Carlos Deldago and Jerry Manuel. Delgado's resurgence has been of much value to the team. His veteran leadership is uncanny and he's as good of a clean-up/ 5-hitter as any in the game. On parallel with Delgado is Skipper Jerry Manuel. Whether it was just the shake up and firing of Willie Randolf or his Cool Cat mentality in the club house and press conferences, Jerry has this team winning. He knows the game of baseball and has done well with what has been an ugly job to inherit (would you like to manage this bullpen?).
But a name that doesn't come to mind as often is my case for The Mets savior this year. After solving off-season starting pitching questions in a big way, Johan Santana, the Mets were looking pretty set with their rotation entering the year. That is, until the 4th inning of Pedro's opening day in Florida. Pedro goes down long term with a hamstring injury and the timeless questions resurface. Orlando Hernandez (remember him?) is no where to be seen, so Mike Pelfrey gets the nod every five days.
We had all heard the hype of Mike Pelfrey, he supposedly had nasty stuff just hadn't beat the rookie nerves yet. The start of this year was more of the same for Mike. After winning his first two starts, he entered June 2-6 with a 4.98 ERA. If you followed Mike, you may have heard that he "learned something" everytime he went out. I wasn't exactly sure what that meant until now. Mike followed up the dreadful May by going 7-0 in his next 10 starts. His ERA was then 3.67.
Today Mike is 13-10 with the same ERA. He has thrown 105 strike outs in 188.2 innings, both by far career high marks. And just last month threw back to back complete game wins. While Mike success has certainly been of value to the Mets, it is under the circumstances that I feel he deserves special recognition. He came out of the wood-work at a time of dire need. Today, beyond Santana and Pelfrey, the rest of the pitching staff is inconsistent at best. (Or at worst is out until 2010 with Tommy John surgery).
Mike also offers one less question to answer as we approach to the seasons to come. We've seen what he can offer and what he can do when he is on and this guy is worth keeping around for sure. So tip your cap to Mike and don't let his fine break out season go under the radar.