Every Met fan can tell you of the horror that was the 2008 New York Met bullpen. Especially in the last two and a half months of the season. The 5-2 lead in the ninth against the Phillies—blown. The 7-0 lead against the Phillies going into the fourth—blown.
And now last night, the 5-0 lead against the Pittsburgh Pirates—blown.
But not to worry, as it is only June, and the Mets' bullpen has been little but stellar.
As a team, the Mets boast the best bullpen ERA in the NL and second best in the Majors only behind Boston with a 3.14. And that's after the debacle of last night. They've also allowed only 54 earned runs, also earning them best in the NL and second in the majors behind, you guessed it, Boston.
I think today would be a good time to look at how the bullpen has been lights out, one pitcher at a time.
Pedro Feliciano- Maybe one of the biggest bullpen culprits of last season, which also included Duaner Sanchez, Aaron Heilman, and Scott Schoenweis. But Feliciano was the only one to return. So far this season, Feliciano has been great. His ERA is at 2.53, only allowing six earned runs in 21.1 innings pitched.
Lefties can't touch him (.130 BAA), but righties have been, hitting .300 against him. He's a typical left handed specialist, but sometimes as a manager you need to hold your breath and hope that he can get an out against a righty, rather than mixing and matching.
Sean Green- His season numbers won't show it (6.98 ERA, 1.86 WHIP) but over the past two weeks, Green hasn't been touched. Granted, he's only had five outings, but it's a start. His ERA was a solid nine on May 10, and has shrinked slightly to just below seven. Right now he's Mr. MopUp, but has proven in the past he can be a seventh inning guy.
Bobby Parnell- Talk about a diamond we may have here. His ERA is just a smidge above two, and this is his rookie season in the bigs. Last night, he bailed out J.J Putz in the eighth, and it's being reported that if Putz's struggles continue, Parnell may get a chance to be the eighth-inning guy.
And I wouldn't mind that, even though I still have confidence in Putz, who we will get to right now.
J.J. Putz- When the season began, it was apparent that if the Mets had a lead going into the eighth, it was all but in the books as a Met victory. But right now, it seems like we need to get to the ninth in order for that victory to seem just as sealed with the way Putz has pitched lately.
His past two appearances, he's pitched just a third of an inning and allowed five earned runs. Pitching coach Dan Warthen has been working on him with his delivery, which I'm not exactly sure is a good idea, especially midway through the season.
For the Mets to succeed how they should, Putz needs to be able to get people out like he did in Seattle. We've seen that limited times, that's for sure.
Francisco Rodriguez- Talk about untouchable. He's 14-for-14 in save opportunities so far this season, and a 0.73 ERA. No one has touched K-Rod yet this season, and the way he's pitched it makes you wonder if anyone will. This is the type of the closer the Mets needed last season, and what brings them closer to the likes of teams like the Phillies.
Brian Stokes- Maybe the only pitcher in the bullpen who pitched considerably well down the stretch last season. Stokes doesn't really have a role in this bullpen, he can come in in the sixth, or the ninth in a tie game.
He can get one out, or he can pitch three innings. He's very flexible, which is a great weapon to have coming out of this pen. Before getting touched up rather nicely in Boston, no one had hit him hard at all. As a matter of fact, his ERA was zero until May 11.
Ken Takahashi- Rather unknown, but effective. Jerry Manuel had used him a lot at first, but just like Sean Green, Takahashi has seemed to fall down at the bottom of the bullpen totem pole. Like Stokes, Takahashi has a very flexible arm, which can be used in any situation for any length of time at any time of the game.
In Takahashi and Stokes, we have two long men, which is a great weapon for an extra inning game, or a game where a starter gets knocked out early.
So don't fear Mets fans, the bullpen is fine. Has been fine, and will be fine. Don't let last night's game fool you. Numbers don't lie. The Mets have one of the best bullpen's running.