To erase the disappointment of a lousy 2009, Mets righthander Mike Pelfrey had to do something.
"Last year got to the point where baseball stopped being fun," says Pelfrey, who had a 5.03 ERA and averaged fewer than six innings in 31 starts. "When the offseason came, my response was, 'I can't go through that again. What do I have to do to get better?' "
First step: "I told myself I was going to lose 20 pounds." At 6-7, 250, Pelfrey wasn't exactly Pablo Sandoval-like, but after a season in which "I didn't achieve any of my goals," he viewed losing weight as a goal as much as a way to improve his fitness.
"To set your mind to something and be able to achieve it builds confidence," he says.
Mike Pelfrey lost more than 20 pounds during the offseason.
After taking off a month, Pelfrey headed to the YMCA near his home in Wichita, Kan. Two months of pickup basketball and twice-weekly, hour-long swims, along with "eating right for the first time in my life," helped drop his weight below 230. One goal was met. The real objective of turning around his season -- his career, really -- awaited.
Three weeks into the 2010 season, he is meeting his other goal, too. Pelfrey is 3-0 with a 0.86 ERA and will take a 19-inning scoreless streak into his next start (Sunday against the Braves). The last-place Mets have had a multitude of problems, but Pelfrey hasn't been one of them.
"He's confident and in control," manager Jerry Manuel told reporters after Pelfrey beat the Cubs in his most recent outing. Manuel added that Pelfrey, 26, is pitching his best since running off a 17-inning scoreless streak in July 2008.
The early success has been about more than a successful diet. Pelfrey also devoted his offseason to improving his secondary pitches, including a split-finger fastball that has come a long way in a short time. "That's the ...
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