I could say this a thousand times and I still won’t get tired of it. I love pitching. I think pitching wins ball games and you can put me at a 1-0 shutout victory over a 10-6 slugfest any day of the week. It’s a minority opinion, but real pitching is the combination of artistry and metaphoric chess – where the pitcher has to try and stay two steps ahead of the batter. Of course, it doesn’t hurt if you’ve got an explosive fastball like a Justin Verlander or a Felix Hernandez. It doesn’t hurt if you’re calm and composed on the mound like veteran Mariano Rivera. And it damn sure doesn’t hurt to throw strikes.
I hate walks. I hate them especially at Citi Field. You could get lost trying to find a ball in that outfield and yet it seems our pitchers are scared to throw the ball over the plate in Citi Field. I’m not saying throw one right down the middle. But come on, am I the only one that’s sick of it? What kind of a pitching coach hasn’t addressed this by now?
I sense the hesitancy in a ball park like CBP, Yankee Stadium, or a Coors Field. I get that – the ball carries, you leave it up and it’s a bomb. That’s not the case in Citi Field. You leave a ball up in Citi Field and it carries out to the warning track and dies. If you managed to catch glimpses of Young on Sunday – he pitched perfectly to the ballpark.
Young threw 72/108 for strikes and had a 7:1 Fly Ball – Ground Ball ratio. Sparkling. Do you know what he talked about after the game? The fact that he gave up a lead off walk in the second. But in Sunday’s game, both Carrasco and Bucholz threw more balls than strikes. Here’s the BB/IP numbers for the first home series against Washington and the first game against Colorado
R.A. Dickey: 5.0 IP, 5 BB
DJ Carrasco: 2.2 IP, 2 BB
Mike Pelfrey: 5.1 IP, 4 BB
Ryota Igarashi: 0.2 IP, 1 BB
Tim Byrdak: 1.0 IP, 2 BB
Bobby Parnell: 1.1 IP, 3 BB
Chris Capuano: 7.0 IP, 1 BB
Chris Young: 7.0 IP, 2 BB
Taylor Bucholz: 1.2 IP, 3 BB
Francisco Rodriguez: 1.2 IP, 2 BB.
Blaine Boyer: 3.0 IP, 0 BB
Jason Isringhausen: 0.2 IP, 0 BB
Pedro Beato: 1.0 IP, 0 BB
That’s a grand total of 25 BB in 38.0 IP. 25 BB in 38.0 IP. If a starting pitcher walked 25 in 38.0 IP, they would be Oliver Perez. Which is…horrible. And yes, the above stats account for all of the Mets pitching staff.
I’m not saying throwing strikes will magically turn this ball club into a World Series contender but man, it would be a start in the right direction. We need to start throwing more strikes or we are going to find ourselves with our pitchers under duress. Ron Darling has said it numerous times, “There’s a big difference between 100 pitches under stress and 100 pitches on cruise control.” Take John Maine v Chris Young. Young’s game on Sunday involved 108 low-stress pitches. John Maine always touched 100 pitches but it seemed to really take a toll on his body and he never really made it past the 5th on a regular basis – the near-no hitter not withstanding.
I hate walks but I hate them more at Citi Field. At the very least, we’ve got to stop walking people at Citi and trust our defense. We could do a lot worse than Wright/Reyes/Emaus/Davis — Harris/Pagan/Beltran. I’m just saying. Trust your defense and trust your own stuff. It goes a long way. I’m really hoping to see Niese attack the strike zone tonight. He got roughed up against the Phillies but looked sharp against the Marlins. He pitched to two NDs against the Rockies last year.
I’m sure I’m not the only one that’s noticed this. But hey, I’m looking forward to tonight’s game and so are you. So LGM!