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lunes, agosto 11, 2008

The Bullpen Makes Me Cringe

Aaron Heilman Where He Belongs: Sitting In The Dugout

The Metropolitans are 2.5 games back, tied with the Fish for second place in the NL East. The Philanderers are still in first place.

Los Mets have been playing miserable beisbol, losing 6 of their last 10. My hero, Carlos Delgado, is playing ok (25 homers, 111 hits), but the Mets are losing and they're falling behind in the pennant race. Why? The Mets bullpen is simply awful. The bullpen is not aware they are supposed to get opposing batters out. They think they are pitching in the home run derby.

In today's game, for example, Pedro Martinez went 6 innings and left the game with a 4 run lead. The Mets managed to squander the lead and lose the game to the Pirates 7-5 because the Pirates scored 3 runs in the top of the 7th inning and 3 more in the top of the 9th inning for a come from behind victory.

And who was pitching in the 9th? Aaron Heilman, whose appearance on the mound means that the Mets lead is in jeopardy, no matter how large that lead might be. Fans should scream or bury their faces in their hands when he steps on the mound. In today's typically miserable performance he gave up a walk, 2 hits and 3 runs. He actually got 1 guy out before he left the game, having pitched 1/3 of an inning. Great job, Brownie. And the rest of the runs? Those were given up by major league wannabes, Pedro Feliciano, who gave up 1, and Joe Smith who gave up 2 in the 7th. To a powerhouse team? To a team of dreaded sluggers? No. To the Pirates. The same Pirates who are 10 games below .500 and 17 games out in the Central Division. The same Pirates who will probably be eliminated from contention for anything in the next 2 weeks.

Just look at the bullpen stats for the past 10 games. They're revolting:

The figures next to each pitcher are: /Innings Pitched/ Hits / Walks
Pedro Feliciano: 6.0/ 2/ 2
Aaron Heilman : 11.1/ 14/ 6
Duaner Sanchez : 7.2 / 10/ 3
Scott Schoeneweis: 7.0 / 9/ 2
Joe Smith: 6.1 /11 / 4
Totals: 38.1 /47/ 17

What do all of these numbers add up to? It's relatively simple. They mean that either by giving up hits or walks, this bullpen has put on base 64 base runners in 38.1 innings pitched, roughly two per inning, in the past 10 games. And that, to be generous, is unbelievably miserable. It's unacceptable.

With a bull pen like this, of course the Metrosexuals cannot win. When the starters leave after 6 or 7 innings and have given the Metropolitans a 3 or 4 or even a 5 run lead, the bullpen sends in a "pitcher" to give the opposing team batting practice. And of course, the opposing team virtually always scores runs. Lots of runs. Runs to come from far, far behind. Runs to win, when they should have been counted out.

How can an opposing team not win when the Mets bullpen has a 2 base runners per inning average? Long story short: this bullpen is giving the games away despite adequate offense and despite good starting pitching.

Will it stop? Will it ever stop this season? Are you kidding? You cannot stop this by firing pitching coaches. You cannot stop this by firing managers. You cannot stop this by yelling in the clubhouse. Nothing will make this stop except sending these guys back to AA or A ball where they belong and finding replacements. Maybe the Brooklyn Cyclones or the Tri-City Valley Cats have some relievers ?

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