Curve Is The Key For Pelfrey

Pelfrey is looking to improve his curveball

Since being promoted to AA, Mike Pelfrey has been remarkably inconsistent. Despite finding his way to the Eastern League before Alay Soler, he saw his former Binghamton and St. Lucie teammate promoted to the Mets before him. He knows what needs to be done to join Soler at Shea. Getting more consistent with his curveball will be the key for Pelfrey and his ascension to the big leagues.

"He earned that," Mike Pelfrey said before Sunday's start in Trenton of Soler's promotion to the Mets. "The way I was throwing, I wouldn't even call myself up. He threw well and deserved that. He was ahead of me in the game right now and I still have a lot to work on."

"I still have to improve my secondary pitches, that's what I'm working on right now," Pelfrey continued.

Prior to Sunday's six strong innings against the Thunder, Pelfrey had come off of his shortest outing ever, lasting just two-thirds of an inning against Altoona on May 20th.

"I've had a lot of them," Pelfrey said of his worst moments in baseball. "It might even be this little dry spell I've been going through right now. I definitely had my shortest outing ever, not just in pro ball but ever, in my last outing."

Noticeably upset with his performances with the B-Mets prior to Sunday's start, even Pelfrey isn't immune to the mental bumps and bruises all pitching prospects must go through en route to the big leagues.

"Guys hit mistakes here more so than they do in high-A," he said of the differences between high-A and AA. "That'll probably be more evident as I move up too."

Pelfrey had his best start in nearly a month on Sunday, allowing just one earned run on six hits and one walk in six innings for a no-decision in Binghamton's 5-4 loss to the Trenton.

Constantly speculated to be on his way up to New York prior to Soler's promotion, did Soler's departure finally relieve some of his pressure?

"You always hear stuff," said the 6'7" right-hander. "You've got to learn to block that out. I have a job to do here and that's to get better and improve my secondary stuff. When I'm ready, the Mets will let me know it. I wasn't ready and I look at myself and I know I wasn't ready either."

The biggest problem in his inconsistent performances with the Binghamton Mets has been inconsistent secondary pitches, specifically his curveball.

"It's been the same thing for a while now," Pelfrey revealed, "it's my curveball. It's an average pitch, or a below average pitch, sometimes. When I get on top of it, it's good. It's just so inconsistent and I just need to continue to work on it and be able to put it where I want it."

"The best way to improve it is to go out and get it," he continued. "I'm just going to go out each time and use it. I want to be able to use it in any count."

The catch-22 for Mike Pelfrey and his curveball is, while improving his curveball means throwing it more in game situations, the fact remains that he has thrown an extraordinarily high number of fastballs, leaving little room for other pitches.

"I've always thrown a dominant amount of fastballs," said Pelfrey. "I had an outing recently where I threw 92 pitches and 70 were fastballs. I came out of the game and I thought I was humming."

"It shouldn't be like that. It just shows me how much I need to mix it up and how much I don't. I just need to use it and use it in the right counts."

The important aspect of Pelfrey's recent struggles is that he has been able to pinpoint the reason, a lack of commitment on his part to his secondary pitches."

"It's definitely my changeup," Pelfrey listed as his best secondary pitch, "and my curveball is third. I only used it twice in my last start but it felt better in my bullpen sessions. I just need to continue to work it in more."

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