Good News and Bad News for New York Mets Rotation

Hot Stove New YorkSenior Writer IAugust 31, 2009

CHICAGO - AUGUST 28: Pitcher Pat Misch #48 of the New York Mets throws a pitch against the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field on August 28, 2009 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

The ramshackle rotation the Mets are throwing out on the field these days looks more like a punchline than a major league starting staff. But a funny thing happened on the way to oblivion—the three pitchers whose main asset seems to be that they’re alive have performed amazingly well, while the two with “future” stamped on their foreheads haven’t fared so well.

The three “filler” guys—Nelson Figueroa, Pat Misch, and Tim Redding—have put together five solid starts since joining the rotation. The Mets were scraping the bottom of the barrel with these guys, but they’ve all surprised everyone so far (and we’ll emphasize “so far” here).

All three are veteran journeymen and Redding is the only one the Mets have anything invested in (with another year left on his contract, though Figueroa could be a long man or fifth starter candidate next year I suppose), but they’ve all filled in nicely.

Figueroa threw a gem yesterday, going seven innings while only allowing a run, while striking out a career-high 10 batters. Last Tuesday against Florida, he pitched five solid innings (one run).

In Redding’s two starts since replacing Livan Hernandez, he’s thrown 11.2 innings and has only allowed three runs.

And Misch’s performance on Friday in Wrigley was probably the biggest surprise of all, when he pitched seven innings, only letting in a run. That didn’t stop him from tying a major league record, though, when his team lost for the 12th consecutive time in his first 12 career starts.

That was the good news; now for the bad. The two starters that have a future with the Mets are the ones who are stinking up the joint. Mike Pelfrey continues to be inconsistent and has taken a step backwards this season. He gave up five runs on 11 hits in his last outing vs. Florida.

He looks completely uncomfortable every time he has to pitch out of the stretch. His concentration seems to be centered more on not freaking out than executing a pitch. He’s going to have to overcome this mental block if he’s ever going to have any sustained success in the big leagues.

And then there’s poor Bobby Parnell. He’s just been getting completely hammered. He’s relying on his fastball too much, and when he does throw a slider, it hangs there as if it were placed on a tee.

He’s coughed up eight runs, five runs, and nine runs in his last three starts. And he’s not striking out many batters. Things are not looking too bright right now in his experiment as a starter.

It’s great that Figgy, Redding, and Misch are holding down the fort, but Pelfrey and Parnell are where the future is at. Unfortunately, the future looks a little cloudy right now.