Quality Starts at a Premium for Amazins
When the Mets traded for Johan Santana, the New York media and Met die-hards instantly proclaimed that this was the move that would put the Mets over the top.
He was going to eat up innings to alleviate the strain on the bullpen; that strain was seen as the culprit in the team's historic collapse last September.
I agreed with those sentiments. What I disagreed with was the term 'top'.
The 'top' of what? Certainly not the top of the National League East.
He will only pitch every fifth day. What will happen on the days Santana doesn't pitch?
After the trade, Santana instantly became the Mets ace. How could he not?
Pedro Martinez is finished. I felt that might be the case, but most Met fans seemed to think he was going to return to his old form. I knew that was not happening. In fact, I saw him retiring in the next year or two.
Now that he is hurt—again—with no date of return on the horizon I'm walking around Shea Stadium telling everyone "I told you so...." like the town crier.
The other starters, John Maine, Oliver Perez, el Duque, Mike Pelfrey, and Nelson Figueroa all have ability, but are also unknown variables.
So what we're looking at is Santana and four maybes. And wouldn't you know it—that's exactly what we have.
In the Mets' 31 games thus far this season, the starter has failed to make it through the sixth inning 14 times.
Santana has started six games and pitched seven innings or into the seventh inning in four of those six games. In his other two outings he went 5 2/3 and six innings. He has a record of 2-2 with a 2.97 ERA and 39 Ks in 39 innings pitched. He's doing his job.
Maine, the No. 2 starter, has not gone more than 6 2/3 innings in a single game this season. He has pitched fairly well, but is leaving a third or more of his games for the bullpen to finish. He needs to start going seven or eight innings very soon, or the pen will be worn out by summer's end.
Perez started off well but has pitched poorly as of late. He has only made it through the sixth inning twice in his six starts. The Mets were relying on Perez to step up after winning his arbitration hearing this past winter. It hasn't happened.
Mike Pelfrey is still a work in progress. He has been inconsistent, and the club is wondering if he will ever fully develop. He has pitched only 27 innings in his five starts. In addition, Pelfrey has struck out only 11 batters and has a horrendous WHIP of 1.90.
Figueroa, who has taken Pedro's spot in the rotation, has had a fairly good run for a stopgap player. He has started five games with two quality starts, but lefties are raking him good. The Mets just need him to pitch .500 ball, which he is doing.
el Duque's foot has prohibited him from pitching at all for the Mets this season. Only the baseball gods know when we'll see him again.
As you can see, the starters thus far have not done what the Mets thought they would. Last season's collapse is still in the craw of many fans, and the boobirds have been out in full force. Unfortunately, the overtaxed bullpen is taking the brunt of it.
The starting rotation must begin to produce or they will be next.
published from www.mrflushing.com