Poor Pitching Leads to Slow Start
by Anthony Moore
Apr 19, 2011 | 6911 views | 0 0 comments | 181 181 recommendations | email to a friend | print
With only a tenth of the games played so far this season, the Mets have already squandered the little bit of excitement they had built up from spring training. After taking their first road series of the season in Florida - which they didn’t do until mid-June last season – the Mets played a hard fought series in Philadelphia, taking one of three games and coming back from a seven-run deficit to almost win another.

Since then, it’s been all downhill.

This rotation, which overachieved last year, has become the biggest culprit for the Mets recent woes. Four of the five starters currently have an ERA over 4.00, and the only starter to pitch well, Chris Young, has been placed on DL with bicep tendinitis in his pitching arm.

Worst of all, it has been the de facto ace, Mike Pelfrey, who has come to epitomize the doom and gloom of the rotation. The Mets have lost every game he’s started and Pelfrey has yet to make it through the sixth inning. For a pitcher with excellent movement on his pitches, he continues to pitch scared, avoiding challenging hitters. So far he has racked up 10 walks in only 16 2/3 innings.

In conjunction with the dismal starting, April rains have led to two double-headers already this season, creating an overworked bullpen just two weeks into the season. Clearly, new manager Terry Collins is still figuring out who he can rely on once his starter is done. Blaine Boyer botched his chance to contribute and has been sent packing. Bobby Parnell, who has been touted as the closer-in-waiting, can’t seem to find the strike zone and the Mets big free agent signing, D.J. Carrasco (a whopping $2.4 mil over two years), has an ERA over 5.00 and has as many walks as strike outs.

To their credit, management was quick to respond. Boyer got the boot and both Ryota Igarashi and Jason Isringhausen were called up. So far, they have done the job with a combined six strikeouts and one earned run over 5 2/3 innings.

The standout in the pen this season has been Brooklyn native Pedro Beato. Beato, who was originally drafted by the Mets but didn’t sign, was the second Rule 5 pick by Alderson and company from this offseason’s Rule 5 draft.

Drafted as a starter, the Orioles eventually moved him to the pen where he became a closer for their AA team, recording sixteen saves last season. In six appearances so far this season, Beato has walked only one in his nine innings of work while consistently hitting the strike zone hard. As cellar dwellers of the NL East, Collins should give Beato the opportunity to prove he can handle pressure situations until he gives it up or someone else steps up and takes it.

Regardless of when or how Beato pitches, the results won’t change unless the rotation can contribute more. It was obvious when the season started that the Mets needed to fire on all cylinders if they wanted to contend for the playoffs. Without starting pitching, they’ll be lucky to finish fourth in the division.

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