MMO Morning Grind: The Insurance Run Epidemic

An article by posted on April 23, 2014

jose valverde

Good morning, Mets fans!

Let me set the scene. The Mets head into an important inning, late in the game. It might even be the 9th. It’s usually the 9th. They’re down by a run, or maybe 2. Whatever the deficit is, it’s usually larger by the time the inning ends.

The Mets hand out so many insurance runs that Mr. Met should probably be replaced by a sassy gecko by the end of the season (No word on whether the sassy gecko has Super-2 status, which would be a game-changer).

Take Opening Day, for example. The Mets allowed the Nationals to take the lead in the 10th, then let Washington tack on a few more runs before getting out of the inning. David Wright hit a 2-run home run in the bottom half of the inning, but thanks to the insurance runs, it didn’t matter.

Or why don’t you take Saturday night’s game, when Jose Valverde ket a 1-run deficit become a 4-run gap, which wasted the impressive rally the Mets would put together against Craig Kimbrel in the bottom of the 9th.

Even last night’s game would have looked a bit different if Valverde hadn’t given up a run in the top of the 9th to make it a 3 run game. In a 2-run game, maybe Curtis Bay Granderson is more aggressive with a runner on base once he gets into a hitters’ count. Maybe David Wright and Daniel Murphy take different approaches at the plate.

Whenever the Mets dig themselves into a hole, they  have to try and see if they can pull out one last rally. But when one of their relievers deepens that hole right before the Mets get set to make their final push, it makes the comeback attempts harder (obviously) and can have a demoralizing effect on the hitters. Imagine running out onto the field for the top of the 9th knowing you’ll just need 1 run in the bottom half, but being down 4 runs by the time you get back in the dugout.

Relievers are most often criticized when they blow leads (you have ONE job!), and they take a good amount of heat when they can’t maintain a tie. But when a reliever enters a game with his team trailing by a run or 2, he has to bear down and keep it that way. Keep your team in the game, give your team a chance to win. That’s what you have to do if you’re a reliever, and our bullpen’s current inability to do so has cost us early in the season.

Let’s hope the bullpen can stop handing out insurance runs. Or better yet, let’s hope we can hand our relievers leads, and render this entire discussion moot. A nice, relaxing, blowout victory today would be nice. Have a good day, Mets fans!

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About the Author ()

Tommy Rothman is a 17 year-old sportswriter who is the owner and founder of the popular Knicks News & Comedy Blog: "New York Knicks Memes". Tommy has also been an avid Mets fan since the age of 5 and joined MetsMerized in the summer of 2013. Tommy will begin his freshman year at the University of Pennsylvania this fall. You can follow Tommy on Twitter @KnicksMemes .

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