In the third part of this series, the focus will be placed on the hurlers. After the manager has made his decisions, and his hitters have reacted, he has to control the pitching staff. A managers logic and feel for how exactly his pitchers may feel on a certain day or knowing how to utilize their strengths, falls to him. The rest of this equation, falls to the pitchers and their execution.
The rebuilt pitching staff, still headed by Dan Warthen has made an oath, to pitch and get batters out. That means avoid the walk, staying in the strike zone. Although this season hasn’t seen much of that by the starters, with no one having a walk-free outing and only Jonathon Niese having less then three walks in a game. Mike Pelfrey had a horrible outing, but that may be due to early season jitters. Chris Young was pitching a great game, but then seemed to tire and started walking batters later in his outing. R.A. Dickey is a knuckleball pitcher, and with an unreliable pitch it is sometimes hard to control the walks. The starters will hopefully regain some more control, and pitch to the batters, but one aspect of that has been evident. Even though the Mets have walked batters, they have won three of their games, allowing a combined four runs in their three wins. In their one loss, Mike Pelfrey pitched poorly and gave up five of the six runs allowed. The one aspect of the Mets that seems to be adhering to this new philosophy of pitching is the bullpen.
The bullpen has walked TWO. in 13 2/3 innings. The walks were by Taylor Buchholz, who seems to be in an early-season funk and Francisco Rodriguez, who is always going to walk some guys. The bullpen has struck out nine, and allowed four total runs. The pitchers are coming out, and getting quality innings. Capuano gave up his run in somewhat mop-up duty. The bullpen is proving effective and useful, as evidenced by D.J. Carrasco drawing a crucial double play yesterday to stifle the Phillies only rally. Bobby Parnell continues to pitch effectively, showing a confidence in his slider that he did not show all of last year.
The pitch to everyone mentality seems to be evident, in both the style of pitchers and the belief being put into the pitching staff. The only true strikeout-threat in the rotation is Jonathon Niese, and his K/9 is evidence of that. As long as the pitchers pitch their games, and fight through their struggles without falling apart, the Mets will be solid.
Only time will tell if Chris Capuano can hold the fifth starter spot, or if Mike Pelfrey can gain a level of consistency and produce even outings every time. With this new formula and the new bullpen, however the Mets seem to be working toward success.
Check back tomorrow for the final part of the series and one of the most overlooked parts of most teams.