In last night's ESPN Sunday game of the week, New York starter Mike Pelfrey pitched six solid innings of six-hit ball, but somehow managed to commit three balks. Two of the balks led directly to the Giants' two runs; that was all San Fran needed as they toppled the Mets 2-0 behind the competent pitching of face of the franchise Matt Cain (on Tim Lincecum Bobblehead Day...ouch, sorry Matt Cain.)
Pelfrey blames the first balk on poor footing on the mound, and the final two balks on mental mistakes. He nearly caused a fourth balk after being pulled from the game: he punched the water cooler upon returning to the dugout and shrieked in pain, causing reliever Ken Takahashi to fall off the mound thinking there was a schoolgirl in distress somewhere in the stadium.
Mike, in his own words:
"For some reason mentally, I didn't want to come set," Pelfrey explained. "It's really, really weird. I knew that I was doing it. I tried to think about something else so I wouldn't do it. It didn't turn out that way... I think I had the yips... My mind kept telling me to pick the guy off... Maybe on national TV I like making a fool out of myself."
Don't worry, Mike, about your temporary case of the yips. This is not the sort of concern the New York tabloids would ever beat incessantly into the ground. And hey, even if your wacky balk problems continue and you can't stop futzing around on the mound, you can either take the Rick Ankiel approach or just subscribe to the Yips-Be-Gone newsletter.