Aaron Heilman pitched the eighth inning tonight despite having three poor performances to start the season. I have to admit that I thought it would be better to put him in a less stressful position. Willie Randolph is loyal to his veteran players, sometimes to a fault, keeping Heilman in his normal eighth inning role.
Heilman is pitching a 9.00 ERA so far this year, and has been the goat of several recent games. He even walked two batters in his appearance tonight.
Clearly Randolph is standing by Heilman as his setup man, but the leash has to be shorter than when the season began last week. I don’t sense any sentiment among Mets fans that Heilman is the closer of the future for the Mets. Billy Wagner is still under contract for next season, so there’s no immediate need for concern. I like Heilman’s stuff as a setup man and hope tonight’s eighth inning is a sign that he’s back on track.