When combing through Mike Pelfrey's stat line from last night, its important to do so with a grain of salt. Mike has much more to accomplish than just winning baseball games. He needs to earn the trust of both the organization and its fanbase. Pelfrey took a step in the right direction last night.
When reviewing Pelfrey's 5.2 innings pitched last night, what he didn't do is as important as what he did accomplish. Mike Pelfrey didn't let the game get away by losing his composure. He didn't fly off the handle and try to throw it by the Nationals after their first inning run, or their third inning two out rally. For Mike, that's progress.
Although Pelfrey didn't get the win, he managed to pitch nearly six innings and allowed only three runs. He tied a career high eight strike outs, but most importantly he only walked one batter. Pelfrey didn't beat himself, something he did too frequently last season. Oh, and to ice the cake he helped himself with a third inning double, eventually scoring the team's first run.
Unfortunately, right now Pelfrey's starts seem to be a hurdle the team must navigate. However, if he can string together a few quality performances like last night, that might change. Pelfrey needn't be a dominate pitcher when throwing out of the fourth spot in the rotation, but he does need to provide quality innings and give his team an opportunity to win the game. Last night, for the most part, he did that. Now he, the franchise and the fans will set their sights on his next start against the Phillies on Sunday to see if he can build on that success.