After 3 perfect innings vs. Yanks in debut, Tigers starter battles command vs. Mets
By Steve Dorsey
Special to MLB.com |
PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. -- Mike Pelfrey's return to his former Spring Training home did not go too well Monday.
Five days after he pitched three perfect innings against the Yankees, Pelfrey had a much less desirable result in the Tigers' 7-3 loss to the Mets at Tradition Field, where the 32-year-old right-hander spent his early Spring Training days before he and the Mets parted ways following the 2012 season.
Pelfrey appeared as if he was picking up where he left off when he retired the side in order in the bottom of the first inning and faced the minimum three batters in the second after he picked off the Mets' Neil Walker at first. But then things began to unravel.
The Mets scored three runs, two of them earned, in the third inning. Pelfrey allowed only one hit -- a second-inning single by Lucas Duda -- but exited the game after loading the bases on two walks and a throwing error by third baseman Nick Castellanos in the third.
"I made a lot of mistakes on the mound today," said Pelfrey, who arrived in Port St. Lucie with a 0.00 ERA and left with one that ballooned to 3.38. "Mechanically, I thought maybe I was cutting myself off because I threw a lot of sinkers that cut. That first pitch in the first inning to [Alejandro] De Aza when I struck him out was supposed to be a front-door sinker, and it sort of cut. Definitely not what I want to do."
Pelfrey also said he was not pleased with his fastball command.
"I always say that everything comes off the fastball command," he said. "In two days, when I throw my 'pen, I'll get back to locating -- but all over the place today. The walks put myself and the team in a bad spot. Command wasn't great in warmups. I wasn't great warming up the other day in Tampa either, but I got on the mound and was able to figure it out. I actually warmed up today better than I did the other day, and still all over the place. It's going to happen, and it's still pretty early."
There is one positive that Pelfrey can take from Monday's outing, however.
"The important thing is he got his pitches in," Tigers manager Brad Ausmus said. "We wanted to get him to throw 50 today, and [he] had 49. In terms of pitch count, he's on target."
There's only a handful of players remaining from Pelfrey's days with the Mets, but the coaching staff is basically the same, and Pelfrey said he enjoyed seeing them, even if it was a little odd being in the opposite dugout.
"When I left here, I had come off Tommy John [surgery], so I understood it. There was no hard feelings or anything," Pelfrey said. "I've moved on, and obviously they've moved on. It was fun to come back here. We can be friends off the field, but when I stepped on [the mound] today, I wanted to beat them."
Steve Dorsey is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.