It’s time for Terry Collins to forgive Ramon Ramirez

Friday night Terry Collins used both Josh Edgin and Ramon Ramirez for 1.1 innings each. Saturday afternoon the Mets used only Edgin. New York used five relievers, including three different pitchers in the decisive eighth inning. Yet Ramirez was not one of them, the bullpen imploded and the Mets lost a toss-up game they really should have won.

Ramirez is in the dog house and if the Mets had better relievers on hand it would be easy to understand why. But when this year’s pen makes us long for the relievers from 2008, Collins simply cannot hold a grudge as long as he seemingly is with Ramirez. Has Ramirez been good this year? No, not particularly. Is Ramirez worth using in tight games? Yes, yes he is. And the sooner Collins accepts that, the better off the team will be.

Leverage Index (LI) is an attempt to describe how important a particular game or at-bat is. The Average LI is equal to 1.0 and a high leverage situation is 1.5 and above. About 10% of all game situations have an LI > 2 while 60% have an LI < 1. There are different times that we measure LI and one of those is gmLI, which is the index when the reliever enters the game. Let’s check the gmLI for the five Mets’ relievers Saturday. Josh Edgin – 1.59 Jon Rauch – 1.90
Tim Byrdak – 2.74
Pedro Beato – 2.98
Bobby Parnell – 3.99

These were all high leverage situations and Ramirez was nowhere to be found. For a nice contrast, here are the gmLI for Ramirez’ last 11 appearances, starting with May 15th:

0.01, 0.01, 0.20, 0.15, 0.63, 0.87, 0.20, 0.01, 0.67, 0.31, 0.63

Collins has lost all faith in Ramirez and simply refuses to use him in any situation where the game is on the line. The funny thing is that in those last 11 games, covering 13.2 IP, Ramirez has a 2.63 ERA with 4 BB and 13 Ks. So, while everyone and his brother frets about the Mets’ bullpen, Collins has buried the one guy who might actually be able to help.

It would have been nice to have used Ramirez in the 7th inning Saturday, used Rauch and Byrdak to get through the 8th and then brought in Parnell at the start of the 9th with no one on base. Instead, Rauch and Byrdak had to be used an inning earlier. Byrdak was brought back to start the next inning and failed, Beato, who had pitched all of 1.2 innings in the majors this year, was brought in during a super high-leverage situation and Parnell was brought in to get five outs. Is anyone surprised this didn’t work?

No one is pretending that Ramirez has been good this season. But he is a guy with a proven major league track record, one capable of getting out batters from both sides of the plate. From 2008-2011, Ramirez had a 2.77 ERA and a 1.217 WHIP over 279.1 IP. If Collins continued to use Rauch in pressure situations after he went 0-7 with a 6.75 ERA over 22 appearances (and he did) then there is no reason for Ramirez to be chained to the bench in tight games.

With Frank Francisco suffering a setback in his rehab, the Mets are going to have to continue patching a bullpen together to get to Parnell in the ninth inning. If Collins forgave Rauch for his crappy pitching, then he needs to do the same thing with Ramirez. However disappointing Ramirez’ start to 2012 has been, he’s still the best option currently on the team to retire guys in the eighth inning.

11 comments for “It’s time for Terry Collins to forgive Ramon Ramirez

  1. 86mets
    July 15, 2012 at 9:39 am

    I don’t think Terry Collins is very good at handling the bullpen, quite frankly. Why is it that Ramirez is in the dog house and when Manny Acosta was up here Collins seemed to use him every chance he got even though Ray Charles could’ve seen that using Acosta was akin to pouring gas on the fire every time he was used? Collins has done a nice job overall with this club, but if I had to grade him on his bullpen usage I’d have to give him an F or a D at best. It seems certain players get every chance to prove themselves (and utterly fail, such as Acosta), while others get shipped off after one bad outing and no chance to redeem themselves (Robert Carson, Justin Hampson for instance). Am I the only one who has noticed this with TC?

    • Name
      July 15, 2012 at 4:06 pm

      YES YES. Someone finally agrees with me that Collins major weak point is his bullpen usage. Of course I’m not trying to put all the blame on him because he doesn’t have great options out there, but sometimes he puts them in positions that they will fail such as not using Ramirez correctly or overusing Acosta.

  2. July 15, 2012 at 10:36 am

    Am I crazy to think that the team’s pitching coach should be able to help out the manager here?

    • Chris F
      July 15, 2012 at 10:40 am

      Warthen is worthless as a coach. I’m astounded he’s still there.

    • AJ
      July 15, 2012 at 5:02 pm

      What’s the deal with Dan Warthen, anyway? Is he related to the Wilpons? Does he have dirt on someone at the top? Pitching is an overall weakness for the team, as the recent debacle in Atlanta showed in a harsh light, and it has been that way for years now. Remember when Warthen was the pitching coach and HoJo was the hitting coach and the Mets were poor in both pitching and hitting? Well, the team did something about the hitting situation.

      Dan Warthen seems like the guy who’s flying on a plane and the plane crashes and everyone else is either killed or maimed, and he walks away unscratched.

      • July 15, 2012 at 6:42 pm

        Everyone talks about what a great communicator he is. That’s wonderful – maybe he should get a job in a PR firm. As a pitching coach, he’s not all that great. He’s the Jeff Francoeur of pitching coaches. Everyone loves him as an individual that they are more than willing to gloss over the fact that maybe he doesn’t do his job so great…

        • Name
          July 16, 2012 at 11:57 am

          Why does everyone hate Warthen? Met SP have had good numbers the past few seasons, even with terrible options like Pelfrey.

  3. Chris F
    July 15, 2012 at 10:39 am

    No, you are not alone with wondering about the pen usage. It’s a mystery to me too.

    I thought Ramirez might take the 7th, but as you clearly show Brian, TC has no confidence. I think RRs numbers in low LI situations doesn’t translate however, to when the situation is stressful. Of course, a bull pen as awful as the Mets, that can be said about everyone. The long and short of it is simple: TC really has no one out there who is dependable under any situation. FF is a heart attack every time he takes the hill no matter how many saves he has, and he’s the best out there. That portends real troubles for the second half. Sure, we need righty bats, but it’s not like we don’t score runs, we have plenty. The problem is holding the fort (and increasingly concerning, getting quality starts…anyone else starting tremble about that?) like yesterday. DW goe 0-4 and we still bust out 7and lead by 2, and still can’t win. Thats unacceptable. RR is not the answer I’m afraid, but he’s just a symptom of the greater disease.

  4. Metsense
    July 16, 2012 at 7:44 am

    Warthen as a pitching coach has not “turned a pitcher around” but instead we see too many instances of regression. There is not too much to work with in this bullpen and quite frankly this was identified as a problem as early as June 1, even before Fransisco went down. Sandy is waiting too long to acquire the needed back end bullpen help and his hesitation has cost them in Atlanta. Ramirez should have been given as many opportunities as Rauch and it is a mystery why he wasn’t used instead.
    The LI is a very interesting statistic. Is there one statistic that correlates LI to success rate so that a player’s value can be ascertained in these LI situations?

    • July 16, 2012 at 10:47 am

      I’m not sure I completely understand your question. My best answer is if you go to a player’s Baseball-Reference split page, they have how the player performs in High Leverage, Medium Leverage and Low Leverage situations. This year in 31 PA in High Leverage situations, opponents are batting .222 against Ramirez

      • Metsense
        July 16, 2012 at 11:19 am

        That answers it. Thanks

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