MLB: Mets Can't Let the Bullpens Decide This Series

Mike Corasaniti@mikecorasanitiContributor IIIAugust 15, 2012

NEW YORK, NY - AUGUST 12:  Frank Francisco #48 of the New York Mets hands the ball to manager Terry Collins after getting into a ninth inning jam against the Atlanta Braves at Citi Field on August 12, 2012 in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City.  (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

If the New York Mets were only going to win one game in this series against the Cincinnati Reds, it was going to be this one. 

Things were looking pretty good with Chris Young on the mound, who tossed 5.2 scoreless innings before getting into trouble in the sixth. The game was left in the hands of the Mets bullpen, and here are a few statistical reasons why that can’t happen this series, especially against the Reds:

  • The Mets bullpen ERA is flirting with 5.00 (worst in baseball) while the Reds bullpen ERA is 2.66 (best in baseball).
  • The Mets bullpen has lost more than 20 games for New York while Cincinnati’s has won more than 20 for the Reds.
  • The Mets bullpen has given up almost 200 runs (third worst in baseball) while the Reds bullpen has barely given up 100 (again the best in baseball).

But then something strange happened: Ramon Ramirez actually got Drew Stubbs to ground out, getting the Mets out of the sixth inning unscathed but still tied 0-0.

Surely, soon enough, the pitching staff was going to send in someone to blow the game, but Bobby Parnell got the Mets through the seventh. And then Jon Rauch got the Mets through the eighth. Was the bullpen finally going to not just keep the game close but actually carry a struggling Mets offense?

Of course not.

Manny Acosta walked Brandon Phillips to start the bottom of the ninth inning before giving up a single to Ryan Ludwick that put runners on first and second with no outs. That was enough for Terry Collins to bring in Josh Edgin to replace Acosta. Then Jay Bruce came up and smacked one out and the game was over.

When all was said and done, New York’s pitching had held the Cincinnati offense to 1-for-10 with runners in scoring position (0-for-9 excluding the Bruce homer) with the Reds stranding 14 runners in total going into the ninth inning. In other words, the Mets offense had the perfect opportunity to steal one from the second-best (record speaking) team in baseball.

Instead, the Mets went 0-for-8 with runners in scoring position while leaving 10 runners on base. And while Young did alright, starters for the Mets need to last more than 5.2 innings with the current state of the bullpen.

Hopefully Matt Harvey can last seven or eight innings tomorrow with a little more run support than offered Tuesday night. If not, it will be much tougher to imagine the team leaving Cincinnati with a win.