So Lastings Milledge is getting the nod over Shawn Green. Finally. Keen fans like us have been singing (rapping?) Lastings' praises all year, but you know how Omar Randolph loves to stay with the veterans. Maybe the Green benching means there's hope for another young buck to win his job back from a boring, mediocre veteran. Of course, I refer to the underrated Scott Boras client, the $3.5 million bonus baby, Mike Pelfrey.
Pelfrey - remember him? You'd like to forget his games, since the Mets have lost the last nine of them, sticking him with a record of 0-7. But take a closer look and you'll see he's gotten rotten support. The Mets have only scored 2.81 runs a start for him, lower than the more famously unlucky Matt Cain, for instance. Thus, Pelfrey is the greatest pitcher in the league and should start game one of the playoffs. Q.E.D.
Oh wait, almost forgot - he sucks. Well, his ERA's pretty bad at 5.92, and that WHIP of 1.66 looks downright satanic. But remember that the Mets, not content to shirk their duty at the plate for this guy, also reward him with Keystone Kops defense. His start in Philly last month was typical. In one inning alone, David Wright threw away a tapper, Jose Reyes fell down fielding an infield "single," and Jose Valentin got in touch with his inner Gotay, flubbing an easy DP. Miraculously, Pelfrey escaped the inning allowing only two runs; Oliver Perez would have given up a five-spot and thrown away a pickoff attempt for good measure.
Funny thing is, even with the NY infield bringing their 'Z' game on the days he pitches, Pelfrey's numbers have been looking up. His ERA in July was 4.91 - not quite Brandon Webb, but not bad in a month when the rest of the league was at 4.44. Did he remember how to pitch after being sent down in May? His peripherals show a completely different pitcher: a K/BB ratio of 14/7 in July, up from a wrong-way 13/17 earlier. And how about a groundball / flyball ratio of 30/12 for the month - that's 2.50, or one infield single away from the likes of Chien-Ming Wang (2.57).
And in the other corner, we have Brian Lawrence. Who? Why? Lawrence isn't just beneath contempt, he's beneath paying attention to. Ignore him. He's never going to be on a New York postseason roster - at least not any roster that I want to see - so who cares what he shows you in August? As for his making a difference in the pennant race, he can only make nine more starts this season - three if Pedro Martinez comes back on time and uses his magic powers to keep the rest of the staff off the DL. You could start Schoeneweis three times and it wouldn't kill you.
I know, I know - Lawrence is "out of options," he "can't be sent down," and "we're stuck with seeing him and his Chipper Jones goatee for now." That's fine, if you want to get all practical on me. I'll just go back to my Santeria drawing board and see if I can open up a spot in the rotation, Jose Valentin style. (Or the bullpen - don't go walkin' under any ladders, Mr. Mota.) Then they'll have to call up Pelfrey, the groundball machine who still sports the lowest HR rate in the rotation. He'll make the decision to play the veteran Luis Castillo downright tolerable.