R.A. Dickey finally picked up his 19th win of the season on Saturday after three previous tries. Barely…
After tossing eight shutout innings, Dickey walked the first batter he faced in the ninth followed by a double by Donovan Solano to put runners on second and third with nobody out.
Terry Collins came out of the dugout and called for his right-hander Jon Rauch to relieve Dickey. But literally seconds after Collins got back into the dugout, BANG… Rauch serves up a three-run homer to John Buck, the first batter he faces. Rauch got the save by the skin of his teeth, and Dickey got charged with two earned runs. His 2.66 ERA lead in the NL is now narrowed to four-hundredths of a percentage point ahead of Clayton Kershaw who’s at 2.70. It could have gone down to a 2.61 ERA had Rauch kept those runs from coming home in this game of inches and percentage points.
This comes three days after Matt Harvey had a brilliant performance and a win denied in his season finale against the Phillies, when weary-armed Josh Edgin allowed a game winning two-run homer to Ryan Howard. It was after that game that the Mets decided there may be something to this tired arm of his and announced Edgin would be making just one more appearance before being shutdown for the season. That last appearance was a disaster as well.
You could write a book about the myriad of bullpen disasters and implosions this season. There’s been just so many games we could have won and should have won that could have made this season so much more enjoyable and even satisfying. It’s a damned shame.
Remember how bad we all thought the bullpen was in 2010? Who could have ever thought we’d look back at that season as the good old days for our bullpen. Check it out…
Never mind the fact that the Mets have had the worst bullpen ERA in the Major Leagues since the first week of the season. What really boggles my mind is that they performed this atrocity while playing half of their games in one of the most extreme pitching parks in the game and without having to pitch to a designated hitter for all but nine games this season.
I tried to go back as far as I could to find a Mets bullpen that was ever this bad, but the ESPN Stat Tracker only went back as far as the 2000 season, 12 years ago. This is the absolute worst season by a Mets bullpen in that span and by a significant margin at that.
If you want to pinpoint the day it all began to go down hill, like it or not it was when we traded Frankie Rodriguez. Everybody loved the trade because it saved Fred Wilpon a potential $17.5 million dollar payout in 2012 and he really needed the money to help him maintain his grip on the team.
But the truth of the matter is that the trade had no real benefit at all to the Mets themselves because the money was never reinvested, the bullpen fell apart once Izzy and Parnell were shifted to significant roles, and the players we got in return will probably be playing for the Croatian National Baseball Team in 2013.
From a baseball standpoint there was no gain for the Mets unless you consider helping the Wilpon’s stave off bankruptcy a gain…
And even though K-Rod never took to the setup man job in Milwaukee and has been awful in that role since the Mets ousted him, is there anyone among us who wouldn’t take his 84% save rate while with the Mets over the 59% save rate since he was purged from our bullpen?
Is there anyone who wouldn’t take K-Rod’s 1.280 WHIP and 10.1 K/9 with the Mets over Frank Francisco’s 5.56 ERA, 1.606 WHIP now?
As a historical matter of record, that messy divorce between K-Rod and the Mets actually “broke what was fixed” instead of “fixed what was broke”. On that day it all fell apart and even Sandy Alderson took the Mea Culpa and said he never expected K-Rod’s loss to have the negative impact it ultimately did.
On a light note, there was one interesting thing that did come out of that trade for the team… Daniel Herrera did manage to set a new franchise record in his “short” stint with the team in 2011. He became the most diminutive player (5’6″) ever to play for the New York Mets, a “small” record that may never be broken. So there’s that…
But seriously, this offseason will be Sandy AIderson’s third attempt at revamping the bullpen. Send him your prayers and well wishes.