The Mets gave up a couple of touchdowns to the Toronto Blue Jays in their 14-5 loss on Friday. But I’m not going to talk about that. I’m also not going to talk about the whiplash Jonathon Niese must have suffered from turning his neck so quickly to watch all the home runs leaving the yard. Here, let me just show you what I’m going to talk about.
- R.A. Dickey: 8 starts, 50⅓ innings pitched, 6.29 IP/start
- Johan Santana: 8 starts, 43⅔ innings pitched, 5.46 IP/start
- Jonathon Niese: 8 starts, 42⅔ innings pitched, 5.33 IP/start
- Dillon Gee: 7 starts, 43 innings pitched, 6.14 IP/start
- Mike Pelfrey: 3 starts, 19⅔ innings pitched, 6.56 IP/start
- Miguel Batista: 3 starts, 16 innings pitched, 5.33 IP/start
- Chris Schwinden: 2 starts, 8 innings pitched, 4.00 IP/start
- Total: 39 starts, 223⅓ innings pitched, 5.73 IP/start
Do you see the problem there? No? Perhaps this will help you see. The Mets as a team have pitched 345⅓ innings in 2012. That means more than one-third of the innings pitched (35.3% to be exact) have been pitched by relievers.
And who are those relievers? Well, you have Manny Acosta (10.53 ERA), Frank Francisco (8.04 ERA), the recently-ousted D.J. Carrasco (7.36 ERA), Jon Rauch (4.32 ERA) and Ramon Ramirez (4.30 ERA). Only Bobby Parnell and Tim Byrdak have ERAs under 4.00 of relievers with at least four appearances. (That’s why you’re not seeing backup catcher Rob Johnson’s 0.00 ERA. Oh, you didn’t hear? He pitched one inning of relief during Friday night’s debacle, doing his best Desi Relaford impression by retiring the side in order. Here’s photo evidence…)
Anytime a bullpen gives up more than a run every other inning, you have a flawed bullpen. But when that bullpen is getting as much use as the Mets are giving them, then you have a flawed team.
The Mets are still doing better than expected, with a 21-18 record, but in the stacked NL East, that’s just barely keeping them out of last place. (The Phillies bring up the rear with a 21-19 mark.) If the starting pitchers can’t give the team a minimum of six innings, and hopefully more, then all the positivity built up from the team’s strong start will go out the window. The bullpen, as it stands, is simply not very good. Unfortunately, they’re being given too many chances to show us that.
It’s time for Santana, Dickey, Niese, Batista and Gee to eat up innings for the Mets. If they don’t, it’ll be the opposing hitters who will continue to feast on the bullpen. And that will leave a bad taste in the mouths of all Mets fans.