(Big Pelf – back before we learned how infuriating he could be)

After rebounding nicely from a 2-6 start to the 2010 season, the New York Mets have stumbled of late, yesterday’s showcase for the abilities of sure-thing first ballot Hall of Famer Roger Bernadina proving, in the words of the Bergen Record’s Bob Klapisch, “nothing™s been consistently right about the Mets since Roy Halladay humiliated them at Citizens Bank Park on May 1.”  And while Klapisch fingers a number of culprits, there’s no one catching nearly as much heat as the suddenly erratic Mike Pelfrey.

David Wright has turned into a strikeout machine, more uncomfortable than ever with up-and-in fastballs. Jose Reyes has been a flop as the No. 3 hitter with his average hovering in the low .230s. And it seems like a million years since Mike Pelfrey ran up those 27 consecutive scoreless innings; he™s pitched poorly in two of his last three starts, including Wednesday™s dreary 6-4 loss to the Nationals.

Although Pelfrey was long gone by the time Francisco Rodriguez gave up the decisive home run to Roger Bernadina, the right-hander nevertheless was a disappointment, allowing four runs in 5ª innings. Three of the runs against Pelfrey were driven in by opposing pitcher Craig Stammen.

It™s performances like these that leave Mets™ officials wondering who is the real Pelfrey “ whether he™s ready to ascend to the level of the National League™s elite, as he gave hints of being during his run of excellence. Then again, it™s just as likely Pelfrey still is stuck in an endless cycle of underachievement, sabotaged by outings like Wednesday™s.

While it will come as no comfort for Pelfrey or Dan Warthen, on Thursday the Amazins reacquired minor league journeyman Valentino Pascucci, most recently seen toiling for the Atlantic League’s Camden Riversharks.  Pascucci was praised by Riversharks manager Von Hayes for his leadership, and what a fruitful tenure it must have been, given that Val (.275, 3 HR’s, 12 RBI’s 17 K’s, 12 BB’s in 51 at bats) appeared in a total of 14 games over which time Camden went 9-9.   Hey, I’m all for Pascucci returning to the Mets, but how much leadership could he have possibly provided in two weeks with a 4th place independent team?  Character references are all well and good, but Val’s gonna be in a Buffalo uniform for the same reason as Mike Jacobs  — he’s a warm body that can probably do damage to poor Triple-A pitching.