After terrific start, Mets’ bullpen is starting to show its flaws

After a sterling beginning to open the Mets’ 2012 campaign, the bullpen has been more bearish than bullish lately and is starting to become a major concern.

Outside of a fine performance on Saturday by Bobby Parnell and Frank Francisco (and finally securing a win for Johan Santana), the bullpen has been far from dependable.

Take Friday’s game for example. Dillon Gee had put forth a solid effort, going six innings and only allowing two runs with the Mets holding a 4-2 lead. After that, Parnell did his job in the seventh, throwing a scoreless inning. But in the eighth, Tim Byrdak and Jon Rauch came undone and the Mets blew a two-run lead and lost 5-4.

From longman Miguel Batista’s penchant for putting too many runners on base to Francisco’s volatile breakdowns, there is hardly a pitcher in the bullpen carrying his weight. The only one who is exceeding expectations (aside from Friday’s hiccup) is a player many fans didn’t want here in the first place: Jon Rauch.

It should be noted that Parnell looks to be turning the corner, but we have been down that road before.

As of Saturday, May 5, the Mets’ relief pitchers had tossed 86.1 innings and have given up 86 hits and 42 walks while allowing 46 earned runs. The bullpen’s 4.84 ERA is 26th in the league.

When you combine the bullpen’s erratic tendencies and some clunkers that the rotation has been putting up, the Mets are towards the bottom of the league in most pitching categories.

Prior to Friday’s game the Mets ranked 25th in team ERA (4.56), 25th in WHIP (1.43) and 22nd in batting average against (.269).

The main culprits of late have been Manny Acosta and Miguel Batista. They have been downright horrible and their status with the team is in doubt as the Mets might activate D.J. Carrasco, who is in Buffalo for his rehab, very soon.

The Mets’ bullpen is just not attacking the strike zone the same way they started the season. It seems they do not trust their stuff, and are throwing as opposed to pitching.

The bullpen has amassed 76 strikeouts to 42 walks for a mediocre 1.8 strikeout to walk ratio.

Maybe it’s just a funk they are in, but the bullpen is not showing a lot of confidence. As of now, a shakeup is needed as guys like Acosta and Batista are on borrowed time. After Carrasco, the Mets will look to bring up Pedro Beato as soon as possible, as he showed a lot of promise last season as a Rule 5 Draft pick.

Beato is about to throw to live batters in a few days and may be back at the end of May if all goes well.

While the bullpen stopped the bleeding on Saturday in a much needed victory, they will need to bottle that up and take that aggressiveness out on the field every day.

For a team that spent most of its money in the offseason on upgrading the bullpen, the Mets are going to need a return on their investment if they have thoughts of consistently winning this year.

Follow me on Twitter @Stacdemon

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

%d bloggers like this: