With deference to our own Mr. North Jersey, who beat me to the punch, former Mets pitching coach Rick Peterson talked to Ed Randall this past weekend on Randall’s WFAN program. Amongst other topics, Peterson addressed September of 2007 specifically and had this to say:
“I really have a strong passion for New York, for the New York fans and the Mets. I had some of the best moments of my career in New York. … I do feel like there is unfinished business. We were right on the edge of going in the right direction. Anyone who thinks we had this major collapse, in 2007, in my opinion, we didn’t have a collapse. … We didn’t have the depth to replace Pedro Martinez and Orlando Hernandez when they went down with injuries. … To all the people listening who are huge Mets fans, do you know who Brian Lawrence is? or who Dave Williams is? Do you know who they are? Brian Lawrence had 7 starts for us in 2007. Dave Williams had 2. Phil Humber had 1. Chan Ho Park had 1. And out of those 11 or 12 starts, we only won 1 game. I mean, those are the guys who replaced El Duque and Pedro. … We didn’t have the depth. In September, Billy Wagner went down with back problems and Aaron Heilman was closing for us and so our number one right-handed pitcher to get a batter out – in September – while Heilman was closing – I’ll ask it as a trivia question – do you know who it was? It was Jorge Sosa. Jorge Sosa was our number one right-hander to get a right-handed hitter out.”
I didn’t realize the Mets went 1-10 in games started by those guys. And the other thing that really irked me then and still does to this day is that the best bullpen arm the Mets had besides Wagner was Heilman. I get that when closers go down, it’s tough to find a suitable replacement, but Heilman was such an atrocious pitcher, and he was the 8th inning guy. There wasn’t even enough depth for the important positions, let alone enough to fill a roster spot when someone went down.
I get that Pedro and El Duque were very good and very valuable when they were healthy, but the fact that those guys and their health was depended upon to such a degree that depth was eschewed for whatever reason is really a sad commentary. The fact that the Mets offense finished fourth in the league in runs scored and tried to drag this team kicking and screaming into the postseason, only to miss out by a game and a half while watching Brian Lawrence make seven starts and Aaron Heilman blow five of his six save opportunities just hurts my head.
I don’t mind what people think of the “new way.” I’m just glad the “old way” will soon be a distant memory.
You can listen to Randall’s podcast here. Hat tip my my good friend (whose favorite Met is Richard Hidalgo) for finding me that link.