Thursday’s Pitching Options

If you stayed up long enough last night, you witnessed two innings of fine relief by Jorge Sosa. Since he was scheduled to be the starting pitcher in the series finale tomorrow afternoon, it’s safe to assume the Mets will be promoting someone from the minors to take his place. (Aaron Sele pitched two innings as well, so he’s not an option.)

Here are the candidates:

1. Mike Pelfrey
Pelfrey finally pitched a “decent” outing, allowing 8 hits and 3 runs in 6 innings of work this past Saturday — which may have earned him another shot. Yes, the Mets sent him down to the minors immediately after the game, which means he normally has to wait ten days before he can return. However, according to MLB rules, he CAN return — so long as he replaces a player who is placed on the Disabled List. Now you know why Paul LoDuca remains on the active roster — he’ll likely be placed on the DL today and tomorrow, congruent with the recall of Pelfrey.

2. Orlando Hernandez

With the off day on Monday, El Duque would be pitching on his customary four days’ rest. However, at his age, you want to get him as much extra rest as you can, whenever the opportunity arises.

3. Jason Vargas
The little lefty has had two tough starts in the Majors this year, and the last one was bad enough to elicit death threats from diehard Mets fans. He has two things going for him, though. First, he’s already on the 40-man, so there needn’t be any roster shuffling to get him to the big club. Second, he last pitched on Saturday, so he’s on schedule to throw on Thursday. However, he was unable to get through the fourth inning in his last big league start, and his 5.59 ERA in AAA does not help the Mets’ confidence in him.

4. Brian Lawrence
Lawrence last pitched on July 26th, and should be well-rested and ready. However, he is not part of the 40-man roster at the moment, so some shuffling may have to take place to make room (one possibility: move Ambiorix Burgos from the 15-day to 60-day DL — but that’s assuming the Mets are certain he won’t return this year). Additionally, it’s kind of a “one-shot deal” with Lawrence; if he pitches well, the Mets will likely have to keep him up with the big club, as he’s out of options. If he doesn’t pitch well, they might be safe DFA’ing him the way they did Dave Williams, and send him back down to New Orleans. Of course, you want him to pitch well, and if does, then what? My guess is you put him in the rotation and move Jorge Sosa to the bullpen — which isn’t the worst idea in the world, considering the current state of the Mets’ relievers.

5. Dave Williams
Williams last pitched on July 29th, and would be going on three days’ rest. He’s also still nowhere near MLB-ready. Safe to say he’ll be staying in AAA for a few more weeks.

6. Philip Humber
Humber’s scheduled to pitch tonight, after missing his turn twice due to food poisoning. If he’s held out again, then either he legitimately is sick (and it wasn’t a ploy to keep him safe for the trade deadline), or they’re going to give him a shot to make his first MLB start. My guess is, if he really was sick, they’re not going to take a chance on him pitching tomorrow at less than 100 percent. Pitching against big leaguers is tough enough, and the Mets won’t make him do it when he’s at less than full strength.

7. Kevin Mulvey

It’s a long, long, longshot. But you never know. However, like Williams, Mulvey pitched on July 29th, so he won’t be forced to go on three days’ rest.

Final Verdict

If the Mets feel an extra day of rest is vital to keeping El Duque healthy, they’re most likely to start Pelfrey and put LoDuca on the DL. However, if LoDuca is really as healthy as he says he is, and able to play in a few days, my best guess is we see Lawrence in a Mets uniform for the first time. Personally, I’d like to see Lawrence either way — he might be exactly the right fit at the back of the rotation, and the timing is perfect for Sosa to move to the ‘pen. We’ll find out soon enough.

Joe Janish began MetsToday in 2005 to provide the unique perspective of a high-level player and coach -- he earned NCAA D-1 All-American honors as a catcher and coached several players who went on to play pro ball. As a result his posts often include mechanical evaluations, scout-like analysis, and opinions that go beyond the numbers. Follow Joe's baseball tips on Twitter at @onbaseball and at the On Baseball Google Plus page.
  1. isuzudude August 1, 2007 at 4:51 pm
    My vote goes to Pelfrey. And not only do I just call him up for the one start, but I say let him pitch every 5th day until Pedro is ready to return. Do something to give some confidence to the kid. His last 3 starts haven’t been horrible, and he hasn’t allowed more than 4 earned runs in any of his last 6 starts while going 5 innings or more in each start. That’s better production that what Sosa was giving the team. Plus, it gives the Mets a chance to showcase Pelfrey to make other teams interested in the guy for a trade this offseason. I wouldn’t go with Lawrence until there’s an injury in the rotation. That way we don’t have to worry about losing him if we have no room to keep him after a spot start Thursday.
  2. sincekindergarten August 1, 2007 at 5:04 pm
    Umm . . . didn’t Pelf go back to N’awlins already? If so, he isn’t eligible to be recalled for 10 days . . . so he’s out. Over on MetsBlog, someone posted that Willie was overheard saying something to the effect that Brian Lawrence would be the one called up. Don’t know which player is either going to be waived (Mota, please? But, probably not . . . ) or put on the 60-day DL . . .
  3. joe August 1, 2007 at 9:00 pm
    sinceK, if you read the article closely you see that Pelfrey can come back IF a player is placed on the DL (LoDuca?).

    But in any case the point is moot, as you stated the Mets have decided Lawrence will start. My guess is Burgos goes to the 60-day and Newhan gets sent down.

  4. sincekindergarten August 2, 2007 at 2:59 am
    Joe, my brain was fogged over. Difficult exam for work yesterday. I passed, but barely. I’m sure there’s a baseball analogy I could use there, but it’s expletive-deleted early right now.
  5. joe August 2, 2007 at 9:09 am
    OK, you’re excused. Congrats on passing! Go have a blue moon, buddy.