Lakeland, Fla. — Horizontal movement on a two-seam fastball is never what Mike Pelfrey is looking for, and that’s what he was dealing with Sunday in an 8-3 spring loss to the Astros.
“My sinker had a little more run on it than actual sink,” Pelfrey said. “Instead of getting the bottom of the bat, it got more barrel of the bat. I got some ground balls but they were hit hard and got through.”
Pelfrey went five innings and allowed four runs and seven hits. Only one was for extra bases — a no-doubter two-run home run by Jason Castro in the third inning. He gave up four ground ball singles in the second, one a hard smash by Castro that hit off shortstop Jose Iglesias’ glove.
“I thought it was OK, not great,” said Pelfrey, who threw 88 pitches (57 strikes) on a humid day. “I struggled to get the ball in on left-handed hitters (like Castro and A.J. Reed who had four hits off him). A lot of balls leaked back over the plate.”
It’s not a hard fix, though. Pelfrey said it’s a matter of getting on top of the ball.
“Just a tad off,” he said. “It still had movement, just a little too side-to-side.”
He will have one more outing, which could come on the final spring game next Saturday, piggy-backing on Jordan Zimmermann’s start. They only way that would change is if Anibal Sanchez had a setback and couldn’t start the second game of the season in Miami.
“I threw 88 pitches and I thought I could’ve gone back out there,” he said. “I feel good (physically).”
Pelfrey is expected to make his Tigers debut at Comerica Park against the Yankees on April 9.