(Sports Network) – Mike Pelfrey may have gotten a once-promising season back on track with his recent performance. The New York Mets pitcher will attempt to build off that encouraging display when he takes on a Philadelphia Phillies squad that’s had its troubles scoring runs at Citi Field this season.
After going 0-4 and surrendering four or more runs six times during a frustrating seven-start stretch that began on June 30, Pelfrey was finally unable to regain the form that made him one of the NL’s top pitchers during the early portion of this season. The towering right-hander outdueled Colorado ace Ubaldo Jimenez in a 1-0 victory over the Rockies Tuesday at Citi Field, yielding only four hits and one walk over seven shutout innings.
Pelfrey was sensational over the first 2 1/2 months of this campaign, amassing a 9-1 record and a 2.42 earned run average through his first 13 starts, then went into an extended funk afterward. The former first-round pick lost five of his next six decisions and posted an awful 7.74 ERA in nine subsequent outings, and hadn’t lasted beyond 5 2/3 innings in seven straight appearances before Tuesday’s gem.
One of Pelfrey’s early-season wins came against the Phillies at Citi Field back on May 27, with the 26-year-old twirling seven shutout innings of three- hit in a 3-0 triumph. He was also hit hard in a May 1 start in Philadelphia, permitting six runs and eight hits in four innings to take the loss.
For his career, Pelfrey is 5-3 with a 4.83 ERA in 11 encounters with the Phillies, and he sports a solid 7-2 mark with a 3.14 ERA over 13 home starts this year.
Philadelphia finally ended a string of four straight road losses to the Mets — all of which came via a shutout — with a 4-0 triumph in last night’s second test of this three-game series.
The Phillies were outscored by a 16-0 margin in losing three straight times to New York at Citi Field from May 25-27, then mustered a mere one hit — a single from starting pitcher Cole Hamels — against the Mets’ R.A. Dickey in a 1-0 defeat in Friday’s opener.
Philadelphia countered with a masterful effort from Roy Halladay (15-8) last night, as the staff ace held the Mets to four hits and struck out seven without a walk over the first eight innings to register his 15th win of the season.
“He don’t like to give anything up cause he’s stubborn,” said Phillies manager Charlie Manuel about Halladay. “At the same time, even he gets hit sometimes. He was real good [Saturday], his stuff was crisp.”
Philadelphia finally ended its Citi Field scoring drought in the third inning, when Halladay reached on an infield single, moved to second on a Jimmy Rollins base hit, and scored on Placido Polanco’s single to center.
The Phillies’ other three runs came as a result of two Mets’ errors. Rollins crossed the plate in the fifth when New York second baseman Ruben Tejada threw wildly on a double-play attempt, while a miscue by third baseman David Wright enabled two more runs to score in the sixth.
Halladay’s strong pitching and New York’s shoddy defense made for a tough-luck night for Mets starter Pat Misch, called up from Triple-A Buffalo prior to the game. The lefty was charged with all four runs in six innings of work, but only one was earned.
With the win, Philadelphia closed within two games of Atlanta for first place in the NL East after the Braves lost to Los Angeles on Saturday. The Phillies are just one back of San Francisco for the top spot in the league’s Wild Card race.
Kyle Kendrick draws the assignment for Philadelphia tonight and will be seeking to atone for a brutal showing on Tuesday, when he was rocked for six runs (five earned) and eight hits before exiting after 3 1/3 innings of a loss to Los Angeles.
The right-hander had been pitching well prior to that setback, going 2-0 and allowing just four runs in a combined 20 1/3 innings in a three-start stretch against Colorado, Arizona and Florida.
Kendrick has had an up-and-down season for the Phillies in 2010, bringing a 7-5 record and 4.60 ERA over 24 appearances (22 starts) into tonight’s tilt. His biggest problem has been with the long ball, as he’s served up 21 homers in 131 innings of work.
The 25-year-old is 2-2 with a 3.34 ERA in six lifetime starts against the Mets, but was reached for four runs in five innings of a 9-1 defeat to New York at Citizens Bank Park on April 30. Wright, Jeff Francoeur and Rod Barajas all homered off Kendrick that night.
For the season, New York has won six of its 11 overall matchups with Philadelphia.