Mike Pelfrey (4-0, 0.69 ERA) vs. Roy Halladay (4-1, 1.80 ERA)
Time: 3:10 p.m at Citizens Bank Park
Weather: Partly Cloudy, 82
You ever wake up in the morning, start piecing together what happened the night before, and decide to go back to sleep, because you’d be better off forgetting? Yeah, that about describes last night’s 9-1 oil rig fire. So we’re not going to talk about that anymore.
Today in good news, however: Roy Halladay takes the mound. Fresh off his first loss of the season, Doc will be opposed by Mike Pelfrey, a former Met top prospect who until this season, was most famous for his temporomandibular joint disorder, which requires him to wear a mouthpiece on the mound so his jaw doesn’t fall off his face or something. But I digress. Pelfrey, it seemed, would be the eternal fifth starter prospect for the Mets, as he’s opened camp in the rotation each of the past four seasons and produced results that would best be called “inconsistent.” However, Pelfrey’s the hottest pitcher, perhaps, in baseball right now, with 4 wins, a 0.69 ERA and a save (in that crazy 20-inning game) in a spectacular April. And he hasn’t allowed a run in his last 24 IP. The hits just seem to keep on coming.
I know this has been a rough week, with Howard’s extension, Halladay’s first loss, Madson pitching terribly, then going on the DL, Lidge coming off the DL, then pitching terribly, and Danys Baez pitching terribly regardless of his injury status. If the specter of a dominant Pelfrey’s enough to send you over the edge, fear not. Pelfrey’s pitching way over his head. He’s still posting a truly abysmal 4.5 BB/9, with only a 6.58 K/9. Those are Kyle Kendrick numbers, but worse. His opponent BABIP is .249, lower than even J.A. Happ’s last year. That will go back up. Then, his xFIP (expected fielding independent ERA) is 4.28. He’s stranded 93.8% of runners this season, an absurd total that will certainly regress to something closer to his 71.1% career average. He also hasn’t allowed a home run despite posting the highest fly ball rate of his career.
I know that some of you saw numbers, put your fingers in your ears, and went “BLAH BLAH BLAH I CAN’T HEAR YOU!” So I’ll give you the short answer: Pelfrey’s not really this good. He’s getting by on a streak of luck one normally only sees in Vegas movies. The other shoe is going to drop, soon, and it’s going to be a size-16 steel-toed boot filled with fish. And it might drop this afternoon. If not, I’ve recommended a real doozy of a gameday beer in case you feel the need to drown your sorrows post-game.
Pelfrey! Halladay! The Mets! The Phillies! SATURDAY, SATURDAY, SATURDAY! We’ll sell you the whole computer screen, but you’ll only use the edge!
Lineup: Victorino (CF), Polanco (3B), Utley (2B), Howard (1B), Werth (RF), Ibanez (LF), Castro (SS), Ruiz (C), Halladay (P)
Your Gameday Beer: Unibroue La Fin du Monde
It’s not often that something French-Canadian turns out to be truly great. While I’m a big fan of the city of Montreal, my list of favored French-Canadian exports pretty much stops at William Shatner, Simon Gagne, and Arcade Fire. Oh, and this beer. Unibroue of Chambly, Quebec, specializes in Belgian-style tripel ales, and this one’s probably the best one out there. With hints of coriander and a strong orange flavor, you don’t pay the up-front taste costs normally found in beer. It’s strong enough for experienced and discerning beer palettes, but with the hint of fruit and smooth composition, a tasty treat even for people who don’t ordinarily like the taste of beer. A truly transcendent libation that I can’t recommend highly enough. -By Michael