New York Mets Stir-Up Sunday: Home/Road, Pelfrey, Chris-Squared

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     Hello my friends! Welcome on back! Well, the Mets are finally home, and thank goodness for that! After going just 41-40 in 2009, the year of Citi Field’s inception, the team improved nicely upon that figure last season winning 47 games there. I always say, win 60% to two thirds of your home games and go .500 on the road, and you’ll definitely be in the conversation come September. Though the Mets road trip ended on a sour note with two losses in Philadelphia, it wasn’t that bad. However, not everything thus far has been stellar in Metland in 2011.

     I won’t sugarcoat it or beat around the bush. I am super concerned about Mike Pelfrey. His spring stats were bad, but if you actually compare them to other spring trainings of his, you’ll find that he had one of his better springs this year. Of course, not a ton of stock should be put into spring training numbers. They are important in their own way, yes, but sometimes when a pitcher struggles in the spring, the player or his coach will chalk it up to him trying out new pitches to see whether or not they’re effective or not. Well, the time for that alibi has come and gone. Mike’s had absolutely nothing over his first 2 starts of the season. Over those first 2 outings, Pelfrey has lost both starts with one of those losses going on his record, and currently sports a 15.63 ERA and an ungodly 2.68 WHIP. Now I know this is a terribly small sample size, and by no means has Pelfrey’s leash run its course. But still, if we’re going to compete we need Pelf to pitch like a front of the rotation guy. So far, there hasn’t been any sign that he’s capable of this.

     I’m actually reminded of the recently-retired Mike Hampton in 2000. He was also atop the Mets starting rotation depth chart, and completely scuffled over his first 4 starts. His ERA was in the 6’s, and his WHIP was also above 2. However, Hampton pitched like an ace the rest of the way and ended up winning 15 ballgames with a cool 3.14 ERA. Who’s to say Pelfrey can’t turn it around like Hampton did? But then again, Pelfrey has more pressure on him. He is THE guy in this rotation; he is expected to be the sure thing in a rotation full of question marks. In 2000, Hampton was complemented by other sure thing pitchers Al Leiter and Rick Reed. Is Pelfrey able to shoulder the burden of being the Mets staff ace? Does he not have it in him? Is it grasping for straws by saying that the death of Mike’s sports psychologist Harvey Dorfman is affecting Pelfrey early this season? And also, if Mike’s current trend of ineffectiveness continues, how long until a major move is made regarding Pelfrey’s status? Bullpen? Minors? I mean, we can’t just continue to run him out there if he’s never going to get it together. But it’s WAY too early for that type of talk. For the time being, despite the large of amount of questions, we’ll wait for you to show up Mike. But at the same time, we can’t wait forever.

     Thankfully, the bottom two pitchers in the Mets front five have started off decently enough for this team. Obviously, I’m talking about Chris-squared, Young and Capuano. So far, the awfully early reviews aren’t too bad. Neither guy throws hard, so they’re going to have to rely on superb control and finesse in order to be successful. Young is an extreme fly ball pitcher, so Citi Field is ideal for him. He got the win in his first start in Philly, striking out 7 guys in the process. However, he did walk 4 in his 5 and a third innings of work, so it would be nice to see that figure trimmed down a bit. Capuano had better control than Young did, walking just 1 and punching out 8 in his 6 innings of 4 run ball. The key figure there is the 6 innings he tossed. Young, Pelfrey, Jon Niese, and RA Dickey all failed to reach that mark in their past starts, leading to an already overworked bullpen in the early stages of this 2011 season. The 4 runs allowed is a little lofty, 4 runs for 6 innings leads to a high 6.00 ERA, and two home runs in spacious Citi Field isn’t exactly applaudable. Nevertheless, he was good enough for the win and if he stays healthy, he’ll be a fine 5th starter for this Mets ballclub.

     So how about it guys? Any explanation for Mike Pelfrey’s extreme atrociousness? If this continues for a prolonged period of time, what should the Mets do as a response? And what do you guys think of the early looks we’ve gotten at Chris Young and Chris Capuano? Comment your thoughts and opinions below, and as always my good friends and fellow fans, thanks for stopping by to read!