A Strong Mets Bullpen Being Fueled By Some Unlikely Heroes

daisuke matsuzaka anthony recker

I can hardly believe it myself, but this is the third post I’m writing about the bullpen this season, and like the first two, this is to point out what an incredible job they’ve been doing.

It’s a pen that’s been put together with some Scotch tape, scraps and Elmer’s glue, but somehow they are getting the job done, game in and game out.

Over their last five games, they have allowed just two earned runs over 18 innings for a 1.00 ERA. 

Each week someone new is stepping up in a big way, and less than a month into the season, four different relievers not named Bobby Parnell have already earned at least one save. The latest being Daisuke Matsuzaka who clinched the win for us on Thursday and in doing so earned the first major league save of his career.

Dice-K pitched a perfect ninth as manager Terry Collins decided to rest his closer Kyle Farnsworth, who had worked three of the previous four games.

“I am not trying to get saves, it is not exactly what I want,” Matsuzaka said, “but as a pitcher I think I want to be that pitcher that the team goes to when we are leading in a tight game, or leading by one run, and we definitely need to get out of the game.”

Collins confirmed that Farnsworth, who has tossed 8.1 scoreless innings in his last 9 outings, is still his closer, and Dice-K is the team’s 8th inning guy. There’s no telling how long that situation will last, but for now it’s working just fine.

Scott Rice got a huge out on Thursday to end the eighth after coming in with the tying runs aboard. He has now retired 10 of the last 11 batters he’s faced and stranded 13 of 15 inherited runners.

“When we get runs, they are throwing up zeroes after that,” Daniel Murphy pointed out after the game. “Those are big innings.”

Carlos Torres is another reliever who has been very effective working out of the Mets pen. In his last ten appearances, Torres has picked up two wins and a save while posting a 0.71 ERA in 12.1 innings with 15 strikeouts and three appearances of two or more innings.

If there’s a weak link in this bullpen, I would say it’s Jose Valverde and his 5.23 ERA. The 36-year old veteran got off to a solid start after replacing Parnell as the team’s closer, but has since been figured out and he’s not fooling anyone with his flat fastballs. Even when he was notching three of his four saves, he got himself into trouble each time and was saved by a clutch defensive play.

It might be time to consider another internal option, perhaps Vic Black who is still unscored upon in 7.1 innings pitched for Las Vegas.

Or maybe the Mets should consider an idea one of our readers tossed out during one of our game threads this week, and that is the possibility of sending Dillon Gee to the bullpen and promoting Jacob deGrom to the rotation from the minors.

Why Gee in the pen? Basically he seems to get himself into trouble by his third time through a lineup. It’s an abstract idea to be sure, but the more I thought about it, the more the idea grew on me.

Anyway, getting back to the point of this post, this was a great series for the Mets and particularly the bullpen – which after years of colossal letdowns – are now stocked with a cast of unlikely heroes.

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About Joe D 7965 Articles
I'm a lifelong Mets fan who loves writing and talking about the Amazins' 24/7. From the Miracle in 1969 to the magic of 1986, and even the near misses in '73, '00 and '15, I've experienced it all - the highs and the lows. I started Mets Merized Online in 2005 to feed my addiction and interact with other passionate Met fans like you. Follow me on Twitter @metsmerized.