Mets Need A Lefty? How Bout C.J.?
C.J. Nitkowski is a man among boys these days. The 39-year-old left-hander is throwing the ball extremely well at Buffalo with his version 2.0 side-arm pitching motion. As he becomes more and more comfortable with his new delivery, he feels more and more confident that he will get back to the show, despite not having pitched there since 2005.
So far in 10.0 innings split between Binghamton and Buffalo, he has a record of 0-0, with a 0.00 ERA, and one save. He has allowed just seven hits and one unearned run while striking out 13 and walking six. Most significantly though is his presence on the mound. I have watched him pitch live and on TV about a half-dozen times this year and he just doesn’t belong in the minor leagues, he’s got the big league stamp for sure.
With Josh Edgin the sole south-paw in the Mets pen, and showing signs of burning out mentally, and after what transpired with poor Tim Byrdak, there is no question that a second lefty is mandatory for ANY major league bullpen. Nitkowski may be pitching his way into the perfect storm as far as his comeback goes.
In my mind he has shown he can pitch. At this point, he can audition for a big league job while in the big leagues. I don’t need to see him beating up on minor leaguers anymore, that thrill is gone. Let’s get this guy up to Citifield pronto, Mr. Alderson… Where we so desperately need him.
About the Author: Peter Shapiro
The first time I went to Shea was not for a Mets game, it was for the Beatles concert there in August of '66. My first Met game was '67, a guy named Salty Parker was the interim-manager then. My first pennant race was 1969. As a 12 year-old that summer and fall, I managed to get to the park for 3 games. The first was the beginning of the Miracle which actually started on Tuesday July 8, 1969 with a day game against the Cubs. I was there a lot in '73. I saw games 3 & 5 of the 1973 NL Playoffs against the "Big Red Machine", from the upper deck behind home plate. It was from there that I witnessed the fight between Bud Harrelson and Pete Rose, and the mayhem that ensued. And that sweet victory in game 5! I saw a couple of WS games at Shea that year against that legendary Oakland A's club. I was there in 1985 for every single game Dr. K pitched including his two 16 strikeout performances, and the day he one-hit the Cubs on an infield single and the Mets won 1-0. I loved being a Met fan in those days. Hopefully we are once again preparing to emerge from the darkness.
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