Pelfrey feels 2010 will be different, and he gets his first chance to prove it as the Mets open a three-game series with the Washington Nationals at Citi Field on Friday night.
Pelfrey went 4-0 with a 4.89 ERA in his first six starts last season, but went 6-12 with a 5.06 ERA while failing to win consecutive starts in the following 25 games. That was a large drop off from 2008, when the right-hander posted a 3.72 ERA with a 13-11 record in his first full season.
“I had a really, really bad year - not what you look for from a No. 2 starter,” Pelfrey told the team’s official Web site. “But I’m better for it now. It was tough struggling every fifth day. But now I feel good, I feel comfortable. I know I’m prepared to have the kind of season they expect from me.”
The Mets (1-2) might be relying heavily on Pelfrey again since the rotation is unsettled beyond ace Johan Santana(notes). The starters’ 4.77 ERA ranked 12th in the NL last year, and John Maine(notes) and Jonathon Niese(notes) combined for a 5.73 ERA in two losses after Santana spurred a 7-1 win in Monday’s season opener.
Pelfrey didn’t provide much confidence during six starts in spring training, going 0-4 with a 6.15 ERA while getting dropped to fourth in the rotation.
He’ll try to help New York avoid a third consecutive loss after falling 3-1 to Florida on Thursday.
Pelfrey, though, is 3-5 with a 3.93 ERA in 12 starts against Washington (1-2), including an 0-2 mark and a 4.29 ERA in the last three.
The Mets have won nine of 11 home meetings with the Nationals. They went 10-8 overall against them last season, thanks to a 7-2 record at Citi.
The Nationals are looking to build on Thursday’s 6-5 win over Philadelphia after getting outscored 19-5 their first two games.
The right-hander didn’t fare much better in five starts during spring training, going 0-4 with a 5.79 ERA. Still, he won the competition for the final spot in the rotation over left-hander Scott Olsen(notes), who went 1-2 with a 5.49 ERA in five preseason starts.
“Even though Garrett Mock had a little bit of a rough spring, we are still excited about what he could do for us,” manager Jim Riggleman told the team’s official Web site. “You never want to be so flippant about it to say, ‘You could flip a coin as to which one you took.’ Really, it wavered day to day as to which pitcher we were going to take. Both of them have options.”
A rough outing from Mock could cause Riggleman to opt for Olsen. Mock lost his only start against the Mets on Sept. 20, giving up four runs and nine hits in seven innings of a 6-2 defeat at Citi Field.
“The expectations are high,” Mock said. “I expect a lot out of myself. It goes a lot deeper. There are a lot of things I expect out of myself. I don’t feel any pressure. I know (the Nationals) believe in my stuff. It’s time to get started and it’s time to win.”