Sep 20

Mets Bullpen Again An Issue

It was a horrible pitch and Josh Edgin is the first to admit it. He called the fastball Ryan Howard crushed last night “a meatball,’’ and it cost Matt Harvey a victory.

Even so, Edgin has been one of the few encouraging notes out of an otherwise negative bullpen this summer and had a streak of 16 straight scoreless appearances snapped last night. One stinker and 16 good games is a good ratio.

Discouraging about Edgin’s performance is the one thing he’s counted on to do, he didn’t, and that’s get out left-handed hitters. He walked Chase Utley and Howard went deep.

“If Josh Edgin is going to pitch in this league, he’s got to get one of those two guys out,’’ manager Terry Collins said.

Actually, both would have been better.

Overall, Edgin has been good against lefties, limiting them to a .148 average. All hitters are batting .196 against him. His 30-10 strikeouts to walks ratio is good. That’s a lot to like.

On the not-so-positive side, four of the 18 hits he’s given up have gone for homers.

A lot has gone wrong for the Mets this season, including GM Sandy Alderson’s inability to build a bullpen. The Mets overused lefty Tim Byrdak to the point where he blew out his arm, thereby giving Edgin and fellow lefty Robert Carson an opportunity.

Carson hasn’t been as effective, but had his moments, such as escaping a bases-loaded, no-out jam with no inherited runners scoring recently against Washington. He has a dynamite fastball. That and being left-handed will earn him a shot next spring.

This isn’t to say the Mets’ bullpen is fixed – far from it – but they have two lefties to build around for next season. That’s more than they had last spring.

Toronto imports Jon Rauch and Frank Francisco had their moments, mostly in the first half when the Mets were 46-40, but also showed why the Blue Jays didn’t keep them. Francisco has injury problems and another year on his contract.

There’s nothing certain about the rest of the bullpen. Ramon Ramirez can’t find the plate half the time; Manny Acosta has averaged giving up over a hit and close to a run an inning; and Bobby Parnell has been inconsistent and unable to grasp the closer or set-up roles when given the opportunity.

Edgin’s blown save gave the Mets a 59-2 record when leading after eight innings, which is more than fine. However, they have 18 blown saves on the season meaning the problem has been more during the bridge innings.

Building a bullpen is a crapshoot, but essential for a team to compete. Overall, Baltimore has given up more runs than it scores but has been dominant in one-run and extra-innings games, indicative of a strong bullpen. The Pirates are fading, but kept in contention in large part because of their bullpen.

Edgin has promise, but the Mets have a lot of work to do in building their pen if they are to become competitive again. A lot.

Jun 01

Josh Thole and Elvin Ramirez To Join Mets Today

The Mets announced that catcher Josh Thole and reliever Elvin Ramirez will join the Mets in time for Friday’s series opener against the St. Louis Cardinals.

Who is getting cut or demoted to make room for them has yet to be announced.

Thole, who was hitting .284 with one home run before the concussion, has been on the disabled list since May 8, but started behind the plate for Triple-A Buffalo today and went 1-for-4 at the plate with a single.

The Mets will have to decide between cutting Mike Nickeas or Rob Johnson to make room for Thole. Nickeas is batting .148 compared to .313 for Johnson, but is the better defensive option.

Elvin Ramirez has been lights out this season for Binghamton and most recently Buffalo, and he was just highlighted today by Joe D who wrote:

Okay, I really don’t want to jinx Bisons reliever Elvin Ramirez who is now 3-0 since his promotion to the Herd. But in 14.2 innings pitched so far, Ramirez has yet to allow a run and has limited batters to just five hits, one walk and an amazing 19 strikeouts. Stick your tongues back in your mouths…

I’m looking forward to seeing what he can do for this bullpen. I’m gonna assume that Chris Schwinden will go back down.

The Mets also announced that reliever Manny Acosta, who was designated for assignment last week, cleared waivers and has been outrighted to Buffalo.

Rob Johnson – Mets Merized Online

Jan 19

Mets Arbitration Recap

The Mets avoided hearings with four players eligible for salary arbitration after reaching one-year agreements with starter Mike Pelfrey, relievers Ramon Ramirez and Manny Acosta, and center fielder Andres Torres, the team announced Tuesday. Here are the final numbers.

  • RP Manny Acosta signed for $875,000. His 2011 salary was $450,000.
  • RP Ramon Ramirez signed $2.65 million. His 2011 salary was $1.65 million.
  • CF Andres Torres signed for $2.7 million. His 2011 salary was $2.2 million.
  • SP Mike Pelfrey signed for $5.675 million. His 2011 salary was $3.925 million.

Additionally, Adam Rubin calculates that with these moves the Mets payroll will be nearly $91 million for 2012.

Sep 08

Wet forecast for today’s doubleheader vs. Braves.

Rookie Chris Schwinden and Dillon Gee start for the Mets in their single-admission doubleheader today at Citi Field against Atlanta. In the words of every announcer I’ve ever heard when the crowd is expected to be sparse, “there are plenty of seats available, so stop in if you’re around.’’

But, who wants to go out today?

The doubleheader is for the pair of games washed away by Hurricane Irene, and the weather will also be wet and nasty today.

One of the bright spots of this season is that the Mets aren’t playing out the string. Eight games below .500 recently, they begin the day one under, beyond most expectations coming out of spring spring training.

Several things are will be worth watching this weekend, beginning with Jose Reyes’ pursuit of the Mets’ first batting title. Bobby Parnell is competing for the closer role, but will share opportunities with Manny Acosta and Jason Isringhausen. And, Nick Evans is seeking to make an impression for a bench spot next year.

 

Jun 25

Texas Toast: Mets Fall To Rangers 8-1

Mike Pelfrey was hit hard early, but stabilized and Manny Acosta made sure the game was out of reach in the Mets 8-1 loss to the Rangers.

Game Notes

Mike Pelfrey went six innings, allowing four runs on eight hits, walking two and striking out three. Big Pelf gave up three of those runs in the first inning, and after that seemed to get his bearings and keep the Rangers to one run over the next five innings. As noticed, Pelfrey has allowed more HR this season then he has all last season, as evidenced by his love affair with his four-seam fastball. While this isn’t a horrible Pelfrey outing, giving up three in the first inning is a bit demoralizing.

Manny Acosta came out, decided that he likes allowing XBH to righties, specifically doubles and then home-runs to light-hitting utility men. Acosta went one and two-third innings, allowing four runs on five hits walking two and striking out one giving up two home runs. Acosta, for the most part has been atrocious this year. He has allowed more runs than innings pitched, and more hits while only striking out four. A trip to Buffalo seems in the cards, maybe upon the return of Taylor Buccholz. D.J. Carrasco got the last out of the eighth.

The offense was stifled by Matt Harrison, consistently struggling to make solid contact. Their only run was scored when Ronny Paulino doubled, advanced to third on a Daniel Murphy IF single and then scored on a Ruben Tejada single to center.

Jose Reyes – 0 for 3 with a walk. Grounded into a DP on a laser beam that Adrian Beltre ate up. Jose is beginning to hit the ball into the air a lot more, and that is when trouble ensues.

Scott Hairston – 0 for 3 – two fly outs (barely leaving the infield) and a tailor-made GIDP. With the Mets carrying six OF’s (Pridie, Pagan, Bay, Beltran, Harris, Hairston) how much longer until Hairston gets the axe?

Turning Point

Manny Acosta doing his best impersonation of a bad pitcher. Or, himself. Either/Or.

Game Ball

Jason Bay – 3 for 4 with a strikeout. They may be singles, but contact is contact. At some point, these singles may become doubles. Baby steps.

On Deck

The Mets will head into tomorrow to face Rangers righty Alexi Ogando and will send out Jon Niese. Game time is 4:10 PM. In other notes, I wonder how the Mets will respond to the intense Texas hit in the middle of the day.