The Mets’ surprising first half had an awful lot to do with Mike Pelfrey. He came out of the gate strong, putting up a 9-1 record with a 2.39 ERA through mid-June, and looked like a more than adequate number two behind Johan Santana.
Since then: chaos. In four starts since his last win on June 25th, Pelfrey hasn’t made it through five innings, giving up between four and seven runs in each outing. Last night was particularly brutal, with him giving up six runs in one and a third. He threw 51 pitches in the first inning. He was nibbling, throwing his offspeed stuff and basically avoiding the fastball sinker combination that gave him such success in the early going.
Last week people were saying that he was suffering from a “dead arm.” Last night both Pelfrey and Manuel said it wasn’t physical, but mental, and implied that turning things around was simply a matter of sticking with a game plan. I wouldn’t be shocked if some anonymous someone or other suggested today that Pelfrey is really injured. The night and day of his season so far would certainly support such speculation.
Whatever the case, the Mets desperately need Pelfrey to get his groove back or else their early-season hopes of making noise in the East are going to whimper and die.
The Kansas City Star has covered the death of Yordano Ventura and its aftermath in a thorough, thoughtful, respectful and admirable fashion and it has all been compelling to read, even if it’s often been difficult to read. Their latest story may be the most difficult, though it is nonetheless essential.
It covers the final year of Ventura’s life which, sadly, was tumultuous. He had become estranged from his family. He was married to a woman who, at the time of the ceremony, was still married to her first husband and whose family, allegedly, later made threats against Ventura that we’re only now learning about. This includes allegations of armed men accosting Ventura at his home near the Royals spring training facility a year ago. An incident which led to him missing time due to “flulike symptoms,” but which, in reality, caused him considerable mental distress. He was again threatened, it is claimed, in Kansas City during the season. There is also an allegation that Ventura attempted suicide via an overdose of Benadryl, though that is disputed.
Beyond that, there is an arc to the end of Ventura’s life which sounds unfortunately familiar. It’s a story of a young man whose life changed dramatically in a very, very short period of time and who struggled at times to process the changes. Were it not for a fateful drive on a dark and winding road one night in late January, they all could’ve been things that, as his career matured, he could look back on as learning experiences. Now that he’s gone, however, they form the final, tragic chapter.
Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports that the Royals and first baseman Eric Hosmer have discussed a long-term contract extension. However, Hosmer also indicated that he will head into free agency if a deal is not consummated by Opening Day.
Hosmer, 27, avoided arbitration with the Royals last month, agreeing to a $12.25 million salary for the 2017 season. He is one of four key Royals players who can become a free agent after the season along with Mike Moustakas, Alcides Escobar, and Lorenzo Cain. If Hosmer does reach free agency, he would arguably be the top free agent first baseman.
Hosmer finished the past season hitting .266/.328/.433 with 25 home runs and 104 RBI while making his first All-Star team.