Desperation prompted the White Sox to turn to Mike Pelfrey on 34 occasions last season -- including 21 starts -- and the results were worse than ever. His walk rate (4.7 BB/9) wasn't far from his strikeout rate (5.9 K/9), although the latter was his best mark since 2013 when he was a serviceable pitcher for the Twins. The limited arms available on the free-agent market could prompt another team to give him an opportunity as a starter on a low-cost, low-risk contract, but at best, he's an innings-eater dependent upon good control and his ability to keep the ball on the ground to get big-league hitters out. He may be at the point where a full-time move to a relief role will allow him to pick up a few extra ticks on his fastball, which would afford him more leeway in situations where he's unable to find his command, but it will take significant adjustments for him to have success even in a role where he's tasked with one-inning assignments.
Pelfrey (3-12) was knocked around Friday in a loss to the Indians, lasting just 2.2 innings while allowing 10 runs (seven earned) on six hits and six walks. He struck out two. Simply put, nothing went the veteran's way Friday night. Just over half his pitches went for strikes, a fielding error left him on the mound long enough to serve up a homer, and he managed to produce a negative game score. Pelfrey will put this start in the rearview mirror as he gears up for 2018 with a 5.93 ERA and a 1.9 HR/9 on his 2017 season ledger.
Pelfrey will start Friday's game against the Indians, William Kosileski of MLB.com reports. Pelfrey will reenter the rotation for the the first time since Sept. 7, effectively taking the spot of Lucas Giolito, who was shut down for the season due to workload concerns. Given that he hasn't tossed more than 2.1 innings in any of his last four appearances out of the bullpen, Pelfrey's pitch count could be capped Friday, but even if that's not the case, the veteran right-hander isn't a good bet to deliver much value as a streaming option or as a DFS play. He's holding down a 5.52 ERA and 1.51 WHIP across 117.1 frames on the campaign.
Pelfrey will return to the bullpen this week with the White Sox naming Dylan Covey as their starter for Tuesday's game against the Royals, Chris Kuc of the Chicago Tribune reports. After Carlos Rodon was surprisingly shut down for the season last week due to left shoulder inflammation, Pelfrey was called upon to make a spot start in his stead and didn't offer much to write home about, surrendering seven runs on eight hits (including three home runs) and three walks over four innings in a loss to the Indians. Since the 33-year-old is set to become a free agent this winter and doesn't factor into the White Sox's long-term plans, the team will instead see if the less experienced, but higher-ceiling Covey can offer an upgrade at the back end of the rotation. Expect any appearances Pelfrey makes over the final few weeks of the season to come as a mop-up man in long relief.
Pelfrey (3-11) was shelled for seven runs on eight hits with three walks and four strikeouts over four innings while taking the loss Thursday against the Indians. Pelfrey got off to a terrible start, surrendering a triple, an RBI double, a walk and a three-run homer to his first four batters faced. He gave up another long ball to begin the second inning and allowed a third home run in the third. The veteran right-hander was just filling in for Carlos Rodon (shoulder) and isn't expected to get another turn in the rotation unless another injury crops up.
Pelfrey will start Thursday against the Indians, Dan Hayes of CSN Chicago reports. Carlos Rodon (shoulder) was scratched and Pelfrey will toe the rubber in his absence. Pelfrey hasn't thrown more than 52 pitches in an appearance over the past three weeks, so it will essentially be a bullpen game for Chicago.