New York Mets: Putz Yourself Back Together

Jason BurkeCorrespondent IJune 2, 2009

It’s tough to believe the Mets will have many more nights where Wilson Valdez will hit a double and a triple and drive in three runs.

It’s tough to believe there will be many more nights where the Mets are defeated by Pirates after going up five-love.

It will also be tough to believe J.J. Putz and the Mets are telling the truth after they tell us he’s fixed again.

"Obviously, he's struggling right now," Jerry Manuel said of Putz. "We'll give him a chance to breathe."

A far cry from the vote of confidence Manuel gave to him before the game when he told the press that Putz’s role would remain the same, mainly, “because he's been unselfish in taking that role, I give him all the benefit of the doubt."

That benefit is gone and the doubt has crept in.

Putz, whose ERA has rose to 5.08 up from 3.21 only three days ago, lost Manuel’s confidence when he surrendered four runs on four hits and a walk while failing to record an out in yesterday’s 8-5 loss to the Pirates.

Early that afternoon, Putz had been working to correct some mechanical flaws in his delivery under the watchful eyes of Dan Warthen and bullpen coach Randy Neiman.

"Everything was coming out of my hand good," Putz said.

Maybe too good, as Putz’s problem seemed to be that he was more hittable than on previous occasions when wildness was a factor.

The banged-up Mets know they can’t afford to give up these games, especially with a large contingency of the core either on the DL or suffering illness.

The good news is the Mets' bullpen currently sports an ERA of 2.89 which is almost a run and-a-half less than the disastrous pen of 2008. This means the Mets have options to fill the role of the eighth inning, whether it’s by committee or they hand the ball to young fire-baller Bobby Parnell, while Putz tries to straighten himself out.

However, for the Mets bullpen to be most effective, they need to see a re-emergence of the J.J. Putz they expected when they acquired him from the Mariners.

The man who set down hitters with a hard fastball that topped 97 MPH and a nasty split finger that kept them honest.

The Mets do have time since it is early in the season but the same can’t be said for J.J. Putz.