“He might have a good acting career when he’s done playing.” -Mike Pelfrey
It was the play that will be pointed to as the undoing of Pelfrey. But for those looking to point to one play that got Pelfrey undone, don’t bother. First off, Pelfrey wasn’t at his sharpest all game. So when the fifth inning started, it wasn’t going to take much for Pelf to lose it as it was.
As Pelfrey noted, Brandon Phillips was out on a pickoff attempt. That was injustice number one. Then, with the bases loaded and score 1-1 and the count 2-2, you had Rolen at the plate called out on a foul tip. Now, we know by replay that it didn’t come close to the bat. But even with replay we have no idea whether the ball nicked his shirt or not. The only thing we knew is that Rolen pointed to his forearm, nowhere near the point of contact. So my question is: How did the second base ump know this? And where was the conclusive evidence that justified such a dramatic overturn from strikeout to RBI? No wonder Snoop went gangsta on that umpire crew. I would have too. Sure they might have gotten the play right, but they guessed.
But Pelfrey got the next two guys and was within two pitches of getting out of that. And at that point I’m thinking that if Pelfrey gets out of this, that there’s no way the Mets lose this game. Now keep in mind this is me thinking this, and I’m not exactly Mr. Optimist. Then, the 0-1 pitch to Drew Stubbs gets called a ball and Pelfrey barks towards no umpire in particular, and all of them at the same time. At that point, you knew the end was coming. He was already trying to blow guys out of the water after the Rolen play so you knew that his response to that was going to be to throw one 200 miles per hour. He did, but the ball went just as fast the other way and there went your ballgame.
I was interested to see how Pelfrey would react to the Rolen adversity, the long layoff after that play, the situation of having bases loaded and nobody out … all while not being at your tip-top best. He was almost there, and with two more strikes we would all be talking about how the maturation of Pelf was complete. Instead, Pelfrey went back into those old habits of letting the situation and the adversity get to him. A zen-like existence a process … and take it from somebody who struggles with his own issues with how to deal with a big, bad, unfair world, you don’t get rid of frazzled nerves all at once. I’m not sure you ever get rid of it fully, but Pelfrey’s done a good job until now. He’s dealt with his self-inflicted yips. Now he just needs to let things roll off his back even when the anger is justified. See, when I get flustered about bad calls, I just write a stupid blog. But when you, Mike Pelfrey, get flustered about bad calls, you give up seven runs. Now which is more devastating? (Don’t answer that.)
As for Rolen, I look forward to his future performances in American Pie X, Waterworld II, and Keepin’ It On the Disabled List starring Fernando Tatis.
Tatis, meanwhile, had been hampered by his right shoulder since early in the season, one of the primary reasons he’s been mired in a significant slump. Tatis was hitting just .185 with two homers and six RBI.
“He’s had some problems with it since spring training,” Manuel said. “That has a lot to do with the fact that he wasn’t able to get the bat into a position of strength with that shoulder. I guess the doctor looked at him today and decided it was the best thing.”
Three months with a bad shoulder, a doctor looks at him on July 5th. Yup, makes perfect sense to me. Nice to be able to stash an injury on a major league bench for three months until you really need to bring up a pitcher. Now that’s acting.
(Editor’s note: No, it’s Prevention and Recovery.)