Pelfrey, Gallardo square off in Sox-M’s tilt (May 20, 2017)
SEATTLE — They’re no longer young prospects and they can’t blow fastballs by hitters any longer.
But when it comes to durability, dependability and downright doggedness, Yovani Gallardo and Mike Pelfrey still have it.
The two right-handers, who have combined for 515 career major-league starts and 175 victories, are scheduled to take the mound Saturday night in Seattle, when the Mariners and Chicago White Sox continue their four-game series.
The 31-year-old Gallardo (2-3, 4.53 ERA) is the lone starting remaining from Seattle’s projected Opening Day rotation, with Felix Hernandez, James Paxton, Hisashi Iwakuma and Drew Smyly all on the disabled list.
“It’s been a weird year,” said Gallardo, who also pitched for Mexico in the World Baseball Classic this spring. “With the injuries to the rotation, we’ve got to step up until the rest of the guys are healthy enough to join us.”
Gallardo, acquired by the Mariners from Baltimore in an offseason trade, got his second victory of the season his last time out, pitching 6 1/3 innings of four-hit ball against Oakland, allowing three runs. He’s 1-0 with a 1.06 ERA in three career starts against the White Sox.
A Gallardo-Pelfrey matchup might have been at its peak in 2010.
Pelfrey was a career-best 15-9 with a 3.66 ERA for the New York Mets, who drafted him in the first round (ninth overall) in 2005. Gallardo made his lone All-Star appearance that season when he was 14-7 with a 3.84 ERA for Milwaukee, which had taken him in the second round of the 2004 amateur draft.
Gallardo has the better career numbers, with a 110-86 record and 3.81 ERA versus Pelfrey’s 65-95 and 4.58.
Saturday will be the second time the veterans are opposing each other. The other instance was July 1, 2009 in Milwaukee when Pelfrey pitched 7 2/3 scoreless innings for the Mets while Gallardo struck out 12 and allowed one run in seven innings.
The 33-year-old Pelfrey (0-4, 5.70) has shown flashes of his old self in each of his past three starts, as h’?s opened with at least three scoreless innings each time.
He took a 3-0 lead into the fifth inning of his last start before giving up back-to-back home runs to the Los Angeles Angels? Kole Calhoun (a three-run shot) and Mike Trout.
“I felt better, but at the end of the day the results left a bad taste in my mouth,” Pelfrey said.
The previous time out, against Minnesota, he led 2-0 until a allowing a three-run fourth.
And the outing before that, Pelfrey was locked in a scoreless duel for five innings against Kansas City before being undone by a three-run sixth.
“We’ve seen him throw and seen what happens when he gets a little long,” White Sox manager Rick Renteria said. “It’s up to me to realize when he’s got effectiveness issues, when he reaches that point. The last time was 4 2/3 innings. Hopefully, we’re more keenly aware. And we hope to give him enough run support so he gets a chance to breathe a little bit.”
Pelfrey was released at the end of spring training by the Detroit Tigers.
“I packed in two hours, got everything into the moving truck and started driving,” Pelfrey said. “My agent called while I was on the road and said a couple of teams were interested. It was just about trying to find the right situation for me, looking to get back to the bigs.”
Pelfrey signed with the White Sox as a minor-league free agent April 5. He made two starts in Triple-A Charlotte before being promoted April 22, the day after right-hander James Shields went on the disabled list with a right lat strain.
“I understand this is a business and teams have got to do what’s best for them,” said Pelfrey, who is 0-1 with a 4.42 ERA in three career starts against the Mariners. “And I’ve got to do what’s best for me. No hard feelings, no regrets.”