Niese Can Prove He’s an Ace and a Stopper with a Win Today
By definition, Jon Niese is correct, he is not a No. 1 pitcher, an ace if you will. However, in relation to his status on the Mets, he is the man.
There is no denying Niese’s importance, but his designation of being the leader of the staff should be emphasized more today against Miami than in the status of an Opening Day starter. After two victories to open the season, the Mets have dropped two in a row, and have not looked good in the process.
Today, the Mets need Niese to stop the losing. That’s the primary goal of a stopper. That’s what staff leaders do.“As far as leading the staff, I really don’t want to fulfill that role,’’ Niese said. “Everybody, all the guys in the rotation, have something different to offer.
“So I’m willing to learn from them, and I’m sure they’re willing to learn from me. We all have a job to do. Each one of us has a different way of going about it.’’
I can’t buy for a second Niese doesn’t want that role or responsibility. He’s a competitor; you see that every time he pitches. Saying that gives the perception of him willing to be complacent with what he’s achieved, and his 13 career-high victories in not where he wants to peak.
Let’s give Niese the benefit of doubt and say it’s modesty or a reflection of his demeanor. He’s quiet, he’s modest, there doesn’t appear to be a brash bone in his body. But, he’s not a pushover on the mound who easily caves in to the hitter.
Niese wants that role, and manager Terry Collins indicated as much when he told him he would be the Opening Day starter almost a month ago.
“[Niese] said, `All right!’ That means he wanted it bad,’’ Collins recalled. “He got himself ready for it, for sure. He pitched a great game.’’
Niese held San Diego to two runs on four hits and two walks in 6.2 innings. He also had two hits himself.
“I’m not going to lie,’’ Niese said. “The adrenaline was pumping.’’
Catcher John Buck said Niese was easy to catch as everything fell into place for him.
“He had a good two-seamer going. His cutter in was working well for him,’’ Buck said. “So he was spreading the plate really well. And then that curveball, obviously, is a weapon to have with two strikes.’’
No. 1 starters don’t want to leave games. They want to start what they finish. Niese has gone the distance, but knows there have been too many times when he exits with the game still in the balance. That has to stop this year, says Niese, in acknowledging how he must continue to grow.
“I think last year was kind of a year where I kind of hit that sixth inning and had 95 pitches and they kind of shut me down,’’ said Niese, who pleaded for an extra inning and finished with 101. “I think this year I want to be that guy who goes back out and finishes my starts.’’
That won’t happen if Niese hits 100 in the seventh. He needs to be more efficient with his pitches. Too often he’ll work deep into the count, throwing four or five pitches to a hitter.
One less pitch to a hitter could mean two more innings. And, in their minds, staff leaders can’t throw enough innings.
About the Author: John Delcos
I am an active member of the BBWAA and have covered Major League Baseball in several capacities for over 20 years, including ten in New York working the Mets' and Yankees' beat. I covered the Baltimore Orioles for eight years and the Cleveland Indians before that.
3 Comments + Add Comment
- Tommy Med: on Bartolo Colon – An Intriguing Signing: Drew for a 2 year deal would...
- Christopher Masiello: on Bartolo Colon – An Intriguing Signing: You could bring in Butterbean if he...
- Pete: on It Would Be A Mistake If Lagares Is The Odd Man Out: Any thought (I know power would be...
- Fromsalmontodoughnuts: on Bartolo Colon – An Intriguing Signing: Love the people who bash Colon for...
- the mad met: on The Beat Goes On: Signs That The Mets Are Back In Business: Im rushing out now to get all...
2014 Opening Day
Write For Metsmerized Online
Mets Merized Online is reloading and looking for new writers to help cover the Hot Stove Season. We're also looking for passionate writers who would like to contribute new and original features.
Contact us now at GetMetsmerized@aol.com for more info and join the #1 Mets Fansite on the web!
Check Out These Great MLB Links!
Mets Autograph Signings
Mets Fan Apparel
Mets Autographed Baseballs
Baseball Card Supplies
For the best seats and lowest MLB ticket prices, go to PurchaseSeats.com. Get your Mets Tickets now and follow them on the road with Yankees Tickets, Phillies Tickets, Nationals Tickets and Braves Tickets!