Mike Pelfrey Proving His Worth To The Minnesota Twins
Toward the end of Spring Training at the start of the 2015 season, Mike Pelfrey was moved to the bullpen as the Minnesota Twins named Tommy Malone the team’s fifth starter. Unhappy about the move, Pelfrey welcomed a trade out of the Twin Cities to try to catch on as a starter elsewhere. Little did the Twins know just how important Pelfrey would be to their success early on.
About a week prior to Opening Day, the Twins received some unwelcoming news regarding their free-agent acquisition, Ervin Santana. The Twins agreed to the right-hander in the offseason on a four-year deal worth upwards to $54 million. Santana was suspended by Major League Baseball on April 3 for testing positive for a performance-enhancing drug (stanozolol). Santana was suspended 80 games for testing positive, leaving the Twins and their fans shaking their heads.
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With Santana now out of the picture for quite some time, the Twins elected to place Mike Pelfrey in his spot in the rotation and he has run with it ever since. Prior to Thursday afternoon’s game against the St. Louis Cardinals, Pelfrey was coming off his worst outing of the season, giving up eight runs on 11 hits in just 3.2 innings of work against the Texas Rangers. Pelfrey suffered his third loss of the 2015 campaign, needing to bring his A-game next time out — and he did just that.
Minnesota was on the verge of dropping three out of four games to the St. Louis Cardinals, but Mike Pelfrey had other plans. Mike didn’t pick up the win, but pitched eight strong innings of four hit ball. The 31-year-old veteran yielded just one earned run (home run via Jason Heyward) while walking one and striking out two. Minnesota went on to win the ball game, thanks to a walk-off home run from Kennys Vargas to salvage a four-game split.
Pelfrey matched his career-high in innings pitched (eight) in which he did so back on June 7 against the Milwaukee Brewers. The Twins came away with the victory that day as Pelfrey pitched eight scoreless frames while walking one and striking out seven.
Needless to say, Ervin Santana’s suspension was somewhat of a blessing in disguise not only for Mike Pelfrey, but for the Minnesota Twins as well. Minnesota has received eight quality starts from Pelfrey in 13 of his starts this season. Not to mention, Pelfrey in now 12th in the American League in terms of ERA with a 2.97.