While it was Pelfrey's debut, Nolasco had been on the Marlins staff all season. He had made his MLB debut the prior April 5th, throwing 3 scoreless innings of relief in a loss to the Houston Astros. Overall, it was Nolasco's 21st appearance and his 10th start of the season. The 23 year old was taking on a difficult Mets lineup, one that featured Carlos Beltran, David Wright and Cliff Floyd but did not have Carlos Delgado in its starting lineup. The Marlins still had Miguel Cabrera and also had Hanley Ramirez, Dan Uggla and Cody Ross to protect Miggy in the order. The Marlins had won the first game 3-2 as Josh Johnson outdueled John Maine.
Nolasco could not have gotten off to a worst start, as he yielded a triple and an RBI single before he loaded the bases in the first inning. Mets 2B Jose Valentin hit a grand slam to make it 5-0. As the Mets added 4 more in the 2nd inning, Nolasco left the game with a line of 1 2/3 IP, 9 ER, 6 hits, 3 walks and a strikeout. Pelfrey would throw 5 innings and 104 pitches in his debut, giving up 3 runs (2 earned), on 5 hits, 4 walks and 3 strikeouts. The Mets would win the game 17-3, with Pelfrey earning his first MLB win. Future Met and current Royals LHP Jason Vargas came on in relief and pitched the final 6 1/3 innings for the Marlins. Though he gave them length, the results were not very good as he gave up 8 runs and 10 hits.
Nolasco's slow 2014 start aside, it is safe to say he has been the better pitcher since that day. After an injury in 2007, Nolasco would go 15-8, 3.52 with 186 strikeouts for the Marlins a year later. His 13-9, 5.06 2009 season was a bit deceptive as two games similar to the 2006 Mets game were a major factor in his ERA being so high. He struck out a career high 195 in just 185 innings pitched. The next four seasons saw Nolasco go 49-45 with an ERA in the low 4.00s, averaging 198 innings pitched over the past three seasons. To this point, he is 2-2, 6.67 in 5 starts giving up an AL high 43 hits so far in his 29 2/3 innings.
Pelfrey has not fully recovered from his 2012 Tommy John surgery. From the seasons of 2008-2011, Pelfrey and Nolasco were on the same track. Nolasco was 52-38 in 132 starts, while Pelfrey was 45-45 in 129 starts over the same time frame with similar ERAs and Ks per 9 IP. Had Pelfrey not had the TJ, he'd likely be on pace to receive a similar deal to what Nolasco got. Pelf, to this point, is 0-2, 7.32 in 4 starts for the Twins this season.
Somehow, the Twins are 12-11 and sitting in 2nd place in the AL Central. And its not like Correia (7.33 ERA in 5 starts) and Hughes (5.14 ERA in 5 starts) have pitched any better. RHP Kyle Gibson (3-1, 3.63) has been the best starter.
Based on the hype of Pelfrey being a first round draft pick and the fact that Nolasco was a 4th round pick by the Cubs, the thought was that Pelfrey would be a solid 2 or 3 in a rotation and Nolasco would have to fight to be a 5th starter. The events of the next several seasons make it very clear that Nolasco is more of a 3 and Pelfrey will have to fight to be a 5. Just don't look at this seasons stats.