What is Mike Pelfrey?

Yesterday, Mike Pelfrey let up six runs and five hits, including one home run, while walking three batters in just 3.2 innings.

“Mike’s at the point in his career now and we still don’t know what he is,” Keith Hernandez Mike Pelfreysaid on air yesterday.  “What is he?  He’s had bursts of brilliance and then he’s had these lapses and it spells a .500 pitcher.”

It has been an up-then-down season, as he was fantastic to start the year, but has really struggled to find any sort of consistency since that game against the Orioles in Baltimore during June… from that point forward, it’s been a rough ride for Mike.

He was 11–2 with a 2.23 ERA in his first 13 games of the season.  However, in his subsequent 15 starts, and since the Baltimore game, he is 6–9 with a 5.14 ERA.

Following the game, Pelfrey told reporters:

“I’m just mad at myself… It’s frustrating… I couldn’t throw a strike.  I lost the feel for it.  But mentally I thought I had the right mindset, which was ‘attack and be aggressive.’  I just couldn’t throw a strike… They gave me a lead early, and we got to the fourth inning and the wheels fell off.  I don’t think you can walk three guys in an inning – especially two guys to lead off an inning – and expect good things to happen.  Obviously I lost my command in that inning.  Before I was able to get it back, things kind of snowballed and they put up some runs.”

Yesterday, he looked solid, but totally lost command of his fastball.  Also, instead of keeping the his four-seam fastball down like earlier in the season, he’s leaving more pitches out over the plate, and, as such, the opposition is hitting more line drives, of which more are dropping for hits, leaving him to pitch through trouble more times than not… it’s a bad combination.

To read more about Pelfrey, the mental game, and similar struggles from other ground-ball pitchers, check out Patrick Flood.