White Sox right-hander delivers 6 strong innings in victory
By Keegan Matheson
TORONTO -- White Sox right-hander Mike Pelfrey's stretch of solid pitching continued in a 5-2 win over the Blue Jays on Saturday, and it was further magnified by Pelfrey matching his season high of six innings.
Pelfrey has turned his season around since his ERA peaked at 5.70 in mid-May. Over 32 innings since, Pelfrey owns a 1.97 ERA and has allowed two earned runs or fewer in six consecutive starts.
"My sinker was good for the most part," Pelfrey said. "I probably yanked a couple maybe as the game went on a little late, but the sinker was good and it had good sink. My curveball was probably the best it's been, which is refreshing to me because in the start before it was probably the worst it's been."
Five walks shortened Pelfrey's previous start to just 3 2/3 innings and he hasn't often faced an order the third time through, but a more efficient approach on Saturday allowed him to bridge the gap to relievers Tommy Kahnle and David Robertson.
"I think that's his best start for us to date," manager Rick Renteria said. "Especially because he continued to throw strikes effectively through the fifth, and even through the sixth when [Kevin Pillar] got the line-drive single to center. So he did a very nice job."
Blue Jays hitters were kept off balance over Pelfrey's six frames as they logged just four hits and couldn't work a walk off the 33-year-old. When they did put the ball in play, it often wasn't threatening, either.
Pelfrey entered play on Saturday with an average exit velocity of 87 mph against his pitches, according to Statcast™. Toronto's balls in play averaged just 80.1 mph, allowing the White Sox defense to control the game.
"He threw a lot of strikes," Renteria said. "Obviously threw his breaking ball very effectively, kept it down below the zone. His change of speed was definitely a big factor. He used his fastball when he needed to. I thought he worked ahead pretty much, and was able to get out of a little traffic, but obviously a very nice game for him."
The start lowered Pelfrey's ERA to 3.56, and his ability to avoid the home run ball stands out in a rotation that entered the weekend tied for fifth in the Majors in home runs allowed. As an early-April signing, Pelfrey is feeling right at home.
"My time here has been great," Pelfrey said. "Any time you go to a new place, you don't necessarily know how it's going to be, but these guys in here are great. They're fun, they have fun. I think coming here was probably a blessing in disguise. I'm very thankful for the opportunity, and again, I'm just trying to make the most of it."
Keegan Matheson is a reporter for MLB.com based in Toronto. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.