You Are What Your 2-3-4 Starters Say You Are
Let me tell you one thing: All this blather that the games don’t count, and it’s still only spring training, the wind is the reason balls are flying into the stratosphere, etc, etc, is beyond worrisome. It’s downright frightful-and not a figment of Mets’ fans imagination.
The Mets pitching stinks and the only one who is oblivious to this hardened fact is Omar Minaya, the Architect. I haven’t seen slop served up like (pitchers and pitches) this since the first season of “OZ.” This group is hard-pressed to retire minor leaguer’s, let alone the big boys.
And, by all means, lets skip Johan Santana’s last spring start against the Marlins because we don’t want them knowing how he will pitch them on Opening Day! By the way, the Louisville Cardinals lit him up brighter than the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree shines in December, yesterday. So much for that wisdom.
As if the baseball world is clueless what the Mets Ace throws, and his sequence of pitches; fastball, change, change, fastball (according to one of those nerdy statistical sites, he throws 30% change-ups at this juncture of his career).
But if only we could clone him. Because what the Mets will be trotting out the next three games after Santana is junk. I mean, can Mike Pelfrey, John Maine, and Ollie Perez hurl a single one-two-three inning this spring? Can’t sugarcoat this: they’ve been pitiful (I’ll subtract Maine’s last start-but what is the over and under until he visits the DL-again? 10-20-30 games?) this spring.
Moreover, if the Perez Project does not yield positive results from the get-go, the Mets have to go to Plan B. Oh, Minaya passed on Plan B-or Plan A, when he did not ink Jason Marquis, Jon Garland, and Joel Pineiro. Not exactly world beaters but consistent 200-inning performers.
To say this rotation is wafer thin is akin to the Health-care Reform Bill being controversial.
Perez is close to being bundled in the same burnable burlap bag as the Knicks’ Eddie Curry. Both colossal wastes of humanity and greenbacks.
Lets face the hard facts: If the three aforementioned pitchers do not each start 30 games (minimum six innings per) the bullpen will be worn down to a nub by Memorial Day (assuming the Mets gather more than Frankie Rodriquez and Pedro Feliciano down there by April 5th, then move the burnout date to May 1st).
If Vegas posted odds on the troika achieving 180-plus innings on the hill, would the odds be closer to 10,000-1, or even money? Don’t answer that.
By the way, the number five starter is as irrelevant in April as “Mr. Irrelevant,” the last player chosen in the NFL Draft, is crowned during the same month. Good for Jon Niese that he wrestled away the spot from the journeyman Fernando Nieve. At least, Omar can stash the latter in the pen for depth-or be a viable set-up candidate.
(If the Yankees cut Chad Gaudin, he should be gobbled up and put behind Santana in the rotation. At the very least, behind Big Pelf.)
A week or two ago I was diametrically opposed to rushing Jenrry Mejia to the majors. Especially since he should be groomed as a starter with his electric stuff. Then before you can say, abysmal-about the pen, he is the frontrunner to be the team’s set-up man.
But with the season only days away, and the bullpen in complete tatters, how can you send him down now for more seasoning? The fireman has to be brought North to contain the conflagration. With Sean Green and Bobby Parnell sent to the minors, what’s left but loaners from the Mexican League, the indomitable Nelson Figueroa, and a couple of re-calls from Toyota.
Usually this close to the Opening Bell, one-maybe two slots, are still up for grabs. Not the entire grab-bag. Jerry Manuel has auditioned everyone except Mickey Rooney to become the bridge to F-Rod. The San Francisco Bay Bridge was sturdier during the 1989 World Series.
Pitching, Pitching, Pitching. Pelfrey, Maine, and Perez. Last place, last place, last place.
About the Author: Doug Branch
Doug has been sports writing since 1983. He first wrote about the Mets at spring training that year, and his first interviewee was surly catcher Ron Hodges. He currently writes for Mets Inside Pitch, among other magazines published by Scout Publishing-which is owned by Fox Sports. He began following the team during the Wes Westrum era, and redeemed many Borden milk coupons for free Saturday baseball. The night of Tom Seaver's imperfect game against the Cubs, he was in line to buy a ticket when the windows slammed shut and abject disappointment ensued.
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Last updated: 05/19/2013
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