New York's bullpen has been a real concern so far
While there have been some outstanding performances from several New York Mets players so far this season—led by the brilliant Matt Harvey—there have been dismal ones as well.
Certain concerns and flaws that were emanating from Port St. Lucie, Fla., at the end of spring training have come to fruition in the early stages of the 2013 campaign. These come as no surprise to knowledgeable Mets fans and, hopefully, they can be rectified before too long.
Let's take a look at some flaws that have already been exposed on manager Terry Collins' 9-9 contingent.
Southpaw Josh Edgin has pitched poorly this season
Let's face it, the Mets' bullpen has been a train wreck this season.
How bad is the bullpen? Try this on for size—New York ranks dead last in all of baseball with a 5.46 ERA.
Not only that but they have also recorded only two saves so far (both by Bobby Parnell) which ranks next to last in all of MLB. Manager Terry Collins' pen was a real concern when Grapefruit League play concluded and it's still a concern as the season heads into late April.
The culprits are everywhere—Jeurys Familia, Josh Edgin, Brandon Lyon, Greg Burke, Aaron Laffey and LaTroy Hawkins. The list is a mile long. Laffey was so putrid that he was designated for assignment last Sunday.
A 7.20 ERA will do that to you.
To be fair, there have been some positive contributors—Scott Rice and Parnell have both pitched well, but there is still a lot of improvement to be made as a whole.
Collins told Kristie Ackert of the New York Daily News he needs his bullpen to step up:
"There are certain situations that come up in the game, and that’s what those guys are here for. Guys when they are here have certain roles they play. They have to start getting people out. We’re not doing that."
Jeremy Hefner has allowed seven HR already
When the Mets departed spring training, they felt pretty good that their first and second starters on the mound, Jonathon Niese and Matt Harvey, would perform at a top level in 2013.
There is a good reason for that.
Niese has good stuff, but Harvey's stuff is jaw-dropping. He's must-watch TV these days.
They were a combined 6-1 with a 2.24 ERA heading into Tuesday night's game with the Dodgers. It's the rest of New York's rotation that must give Terry Collins heartburn.
Jeremy Hefner has been a disaster. The 27-year-old right-hander is 0-2 with a 7.07 ERA. In 14 innings of work, Hefner has allowed a major league-high seven home runs while batters are hitting .304 against him.
Dillon Gee has not been much better. The four-year veteran owns a 1-3 record with a 5.95 ERA. He took a huge step forward though by tossing 5.2 scoreless innings against Washington last Sunday.
"I think he needed it bad," Collins told Adam Rubin of ESPNNewYork.com. "I think it’s a great confidence-builder for him. Very, very good lineup, very good team — to get deep in the game like he did, I think it’s really gotta help him."
Niese suffered a lower right leg contusion last night when he was hit with a comebacker off the bat of Mark Ellis of the Dodgers. X-rays were negative and he's listed as day-to-day.
After Harvey pitches, all Mets fans can do at this point is hold their breath and keep their fingers crossed.
It's been another tough start for Ike Davis
This is more of a concern than a flaw, but based on his terrible start to the 2012 season, has first baseman Ike Davis gotten off to another slow start in 2013?
Regretfully, the answer is a resounding "Yes."
The Arizona State product is hitting below the Mendoza Line again this season with a paltry .164 batting average and 20 strikeouts in just 61 at-bats. He does have three long home runs—a tribute to his tremendous power—but his overall struggles at the plate bring back bad memories of last year's dreadful start.
Davis was hitting a feeble .158 on June 8 last year and rumors were swirling that he might be headed to Triple-A Buffalo for retooling. Fortunately Davis finally came out of his long slumber and hit .264 in June with 24 RBI and then pounded 27 home runs the rest of the way to salvage his season.
The Mets are hoping he breaks out of his slump much sooner rather than later this time around.
The power that Davis displays when he does connect is impressive. His first home run this season against San Diego almost landed on the Shea Bridge, some 450 feet away. Davis also added a pair of long blasts last Friday, including one off ace right-hander Stephen Strasburg of the Nationals.
"Strasburg obviously made me look foolish the first two at-bats ," Davis told John Jeansonne of Newsday. "So I just didn't want to miss the fastball I got over the plate."
He didn't. Hopefully, that is a sign of great things to come for the talented, but enigmatic slugger.