Chris Trotman/Getty Images
The New York Mets bullpen has been pretty bad collectively. The arson squad, as I've begun to call the group of arms in the Mets pen, has posted a 4.43 ERA in 44.2 innings pitched.
Do you know why they are the arson squad? Because every time Terry Collins calls upon one of them to come in and put out a fire, they just throw more gasoline on it.
With the exception of Jon Rauch and Tim Byrdak, the relievers have had a hard time commanding their pitches.
After picking up a save in each of the Mets' first three games, Frank Francisco has allowed 10 baserunners and six earned runs in just 3.1 innings. But don't worry, the New York Post reported that Dan Warthen worked with the closer to fix some mechanical issues.
Ramon Ramirez has a 6.00-plus ERA in just 7.1 innings, but that number will soon enough be on the downturn, as Ramirez had just a 2.08 ERA in 95.2 innings pitched for the San Francisco Giants over the last season-and-a-half.
Bobby Parnell has had a sub-par season thus far, following his dominant spring training performance in which he didn't allow a single earned run. That will change. Parnell has a high-90s fastball and has figured out how to throw it for strikes. Guys like that don't just suck it up all season.
If Ramirez, Parnell and Francisco get back on track, this bullpen could be one of the best in the league. Parnell and Ramirez would split seventh-inning time until one of them proves themselves over the other. Rauch would remain the setup man as a bridge to Francisco (barring Francisco doesn't lose the job) and Byrdak is one of the best lefty specialists out there, posting a .206 batting average against versus lefties over the last three years.
The defense has been spotty at best, particularly in the later innings.
We've seen Kirk Nieuwenhuis and Ruben Tejada team up to botch a pop-up in shallow center. We've seen a tailor-made double-play ball go right through the wickets on Daniel Murphy. We've seen Jason Bay get turned around on a couple of fly balls, failing to make catches that he should have.
The team has totaled 10 errors, putting them at No. 16 in the majors. That's not too brutal, but the errors have come at untimely instances.
The Mets did everything they could to lose the game in the ninth inning of Saturday's contest against the Giants. They looked like the Bad News Bears in the field, but they were able to pull it out.
Defensively, the team will improve. The infield, with the exception of Murphy, is filled with above-average defenders. In the outfield, Bay and Nieuwenhuis can cover substantial ground, which makes up for Lucas Duda's lack of range. Duda, however, makes up for his sluggish tempo with his above-average arm.
You won't see incompetence in the field for too much longer and the starting pitchers will benefit from the improved fielding effort.