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Pelf Finally Listening to Me

ST. LOUIS (FAFIF) — Mike Pelfrey credited the latest in a string of strong performances [1] Thursday night to the guidance he's received from an individual Mets fan.

“Greg's been on my ass [2] all year,” Pelfrey revealed. “He's been pushing me to pitch better [3] for quite a while. It finally started to sink in. I should just pitch better and maybe he'll get off my ass.”

And pitch better Pelfrey has, winning his last four decisions and lowering his ERA by more than a run since Greg saw him on Memorial Day night.

“Yeah, Greg wasn't too happy [4] with me then, all that nibbling I tended to do,” Pelfrey said. “He let me have it but good. I thought he was being a little hard on me earlier in the season when I pitched pretty well. I was like, 'hey, I threw five or six innings, I didn't walk too many, isn't that good enough?' Greg said it wasn't, and he was right.”

The toughlove approach seems to have truly worked on Pelfrey, now pitching the best sustained baseball of his Major League career. Against the Cardinals, he put up seven innings of one-run ball, allowing six hits and two walks while striking out six.

“When I have a lead like I was able to get tonight,” Pelfrey said, referring to the Mets' offensive onslaught, “Greg said I should just relax and throw strikes. As usual he made more sense than all my pitching coaches combined.”

It's been an up-and-down season for Pelfrey who ended Spring Training as the Mets' No. 5 starter by default and showed flashes of progress in April but was held back in May by an inconsistent approach.

“Trust my stuff, Greg said,” Pelfrey recalled. “He was getting tired of the uncertainty that just dripped from my face. I'm a big guy, I throw hard, just go for it…that was his message. Message received, Greg. Message received.”

“Pelf's got all the ability in the world,” David Wright said. “All that was missing was listening to Greg. I know it did me all the good in the world when he told me to lighten up a little and not fight Jerry on taking a day off.” Noting the possible tweak to his back during the final game of the Mets' just-completed four-game split at Busch Stadium, Wright added, “I wanted to stay in, but Greg thought with a big lead I should just get the hell out of there and sit the hell down — his words. With the wonders he's worked with Pelf, you think I'm not gonna listen to Greg?”

Next up on the Mets' schedule is a critical four-game set in Philadelphia against the first-place Phillies. Greg is advising the Mets keep their heads on straight and start winning a few games in a row. “Greg's got a point there,” said shortstop Jose Reyes. “If we start listening to Greg, no telling how far we can go this year.”