The Mets are in deep trouble if Mike Pelfrey can't turn it around

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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.