A person familiar with the thinking of general manager Omar Minaya said on Tuesday that a scenario in which Pelfrey is demoted has been discussed. Moreover, Pelfrey himself thinks that demotion could be in his immediate future if he doesn't reverse the direction of his season. He is to start against the Dodgers on Saturday, two days after Vargas makes his fourth start, also against the Dodgers.
"I've thought about it. It has to be something they're considering, the way I'm going," Pelfrey said on Tuesday.
Pelfrey has a 2-6 record and 5.33 ERA in nine starts, but those victories came in his first two starts. He has lost six straight decisions, and the Mets have lost his last seven starts.
"I know I pitched well enough to win two of those games," he said. "I had a no-hitter going in one. But I've been disappointed with the others. I haven't pitched well. I know that. That's why I hate the game right now. It's miserable. I'm miserable.
"I haven't been able to command my pitches. When I do, I win. But it just isn't there."
Lack of command is what prompted Pelfrey to abandon his two-seam fastball, generally regarded as his best pitch. He threw one in his most recent start, against the Marlins on Monday. He threw 94 other pitches in merely four innings, 52 for strikes.
"When I get into the 60s with my strikes, I'm better off. I did that when I won," he said.
Now he is throwing a four-seam fastball, a changeup and a slider. But his command isn't particularly good with any one of the three.
"If I have command, I can win with just my fastball," he said. "I've got to get it. I feel like it's coming. One day it's just going to be there. That's what happened in college. I was having a lot of trouble. Then, boom, it was there."
Now the chance exists that the boom might happen in the Minor Leagues.
"I'd like to pitch well and avoid that," he said. "But I'd like to pitch well to help us win. I haven't done that. But I've been sent down before, and I know I can get back.
"I know I can be a winning pitcher, that's what irritates me. If I thought I wasn't any good, I could accept it a little easier. But I know I can be, and I can help us win."