Have you noticed how well Jon Rauch has been pitching lately?

I know what you might be thinking with the title of this post: “Yeah, but it’s too little, too late.”

You would be correct and in full disclosure, I think the signing of Jon Rauch was a mistake. However, give credit where credit is due, as we should applaud Rauch for helping the stopping of the bleeding, as he is keeping up his end of the bargain of late.

Take last night’s game for example.

In the bottom of the eighth inning, while holding on to a 2-1 lead over the San Francisco Giants, and after Tim Byrdak got out his only lefty batter, Rauch easily got out the next two batters to preserve a 2-1 lead. It was a game the Mets would eventually hold on to win after Bobby Parnell slammed the door shut in the ninth.

While we, collectively as fans, still cannot fully trust the bullpen, it is encouraging that Rauch is finally settling down and finding a groove of late. In his last 13 appearances (spanning 9.1 innings pitched), Rauch has given up only one run on just four hits and two walks while collecting five holds.

Rauch’s overall numbers of the season are evening off, as he now sports a respectable 3.54 ERA to go with an impressive 1.04 WHIP. Sure, his 25 strikeouts in 38.1 innings pitched are not what you would like out of one of your more important setup men, but Rauch is getting the job done nonetheless.

Sure, Rauch has benefited from Terry Collins using him properly while also being the beneficiary of being bailed out on some occasions. However, Rauch is still earning his keep.

For a bullpen that has been all but tarred and feathered by the fans (me included) and the press, I think it was necessary to point out that it’s not always bad as it seems. Rauch has had a major hand in the last two Mets’ victories and he’ll need to keep it up if the Mets ever want to get back over the .500 mark.

Remember when Rauch started April out on fire?

Well, it’s not like Rauch forget to pitch. Lately Rauch has shown composure and gumption to learn from his failures and apply himself to turn around his season. While no doubt the majority of May and June were Rauch’s Waterloo, he is finally making up for lost time.

Again I am not suggesting we throw Rauch a parade, but it’s nice to see he has fixed what had ailed him earlier and for that we should give him the ole proverbial pat on the back.

For a bullpen that has been an unmitigated disaster, we have to take all the silver linings we can find.

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8 comments for “Have you noticed how well Jon Rauch has been pitching lately?

  1. August 2, 2012 at 10:33 am

    13 G, 9.1 IP

    When it’s a moral victory when your SP goes 7 IP like Niese did last night, it’s tough to carry multiple relievers – in this case Rauch and Byrdak – who cannot complete one inning on a regular basis. What makes Rauch and Byrdak more “worthy” of this micro-managing to maximize their effectiveness than, say, Elvin and Ramon Ramirez? Elvin has faced an average of 6 batters per appearance, Ramon 5.5, Rauch 3.5 and Byrdak 2.3

    Last year the Mets got 974 IP from their starters and 474 IP from their relievers. In 2010 it was 972 and 481. With a team typically carrying 7 relievers at a time, each relief spot needs to account for around 68 IP.

    Currently, Byrdak is on pace for 46.2 IP and Rauch for 59.1 and there are reasons to think that both will fall short of those marks. In his last six games, Rauch has 3.1 IP. Byrdak faced 27 batters in June and had a 2.84 ERA. In July he faced 41 batters and had an 8.31 ERA. My guess is he will not face nearly as many batters in a month going forward as he did in July.

    Teams have to do a risk/reward on allowing a reliever to put up better numbers by restricting his batters faced. Because every time Byrdak and Rauch get used for only one or two batters — someone else has to pick up the slack. Their numbers may improve – but how much does it cause the other relievers’ numbers to falter?

    So, hooray for Rauch, I guess. He’s the proof that any reliever could put up Byrdak-like numbers if he received Byrdak-like opportunities. He’s succeeding in his last 13 games because he’s facing 2.7 batters per appearance, probably with the platoon advantage 80 percent of the time. It just means that the other relievers have to face more batters and have the platoon advantage fewer times than they would normally.

    We saw what happened when Byrdak was facing only one batter in every appearance — four of the other six relievers blew up, including Rauch. Hopefully Ramon, Elvin and Manny Acosta can pick up the slack from two micro-managed relievers and not implode.

    • NateW
      August 2, 2012 at 1:45 pm

      Nice follow up info. I thought in the spring that the Mets would have to rely on guys like Acosta, Ramon Ramirez, and Parnell for two inning outings or at least parts of two innings with a Byrdak out mixed in. But no matter who they have tried, almost all of them seem to be 1 inning successes and 2 inning failures. I guess we have Mejia and Familia to look forward to a potential bullpen pieces who won’t fall apart when asked to get more than 3 outs in a days work, we know they won’t be signing any free agents who can.

    • 7train
      August 3, 2012 at 12:40 am

      Not to change the subject but was anyone aware that 33 of Ramon Ramirez 36 outings this year were at a 2.24 ERA? Take away 3 bad outings that weren’t all that bad and that’s his ERA. tERA is 3.10 as well. 11 of his 21 ER given up came in those 3 bad 3 1/3 innings and two of them came after throwing a scoreless inning right before.

      The first one 4/27 in Colorado was 13-6 Rockies when he entered, went 1 2/3rds leaving having given up just one. Runners he put on in his 2nd inning of work were by single short RF (Duda) catcher int., short pop LC, walk. Parnell comes in and first batter HR.

      Second one was May 30 against Philly. Enters top 9 runner on 2B, 1 out trailing 4-3, LD single LF, HR Rollins deep RF line, 2B deep RF (Duda?) Pierre (Pierre?) Schwinden comes in 2B to RF.

      Third one July 22nd LAD enters 11th inning 3-3 gives up no runs, stays in for the 12th line drive single LC, bunt to 1B ball mishandled ruled IF single, IF pop (bunt), 1 out, DP GB to 1B Ike throws wide of 2B Tejada gets the out but can’t return the throw (2nd play not made) now 2 out IBB, GB single 2B-SS, GB single 3B-SS, Kennedy 2B FB deep RF (Duda?)

      11 better than League average outings and one not so good out of every 12? I’d say Ramon hasn’t been as bad as everyone thinks and with some better defense at 1B and RF…………..

      • Dan Stack
        August 3, 2012 at 2:32 am

        Yeah, I have noticed that Ramon has been doing well and has been trusted to get important outs of late too.
        As Brian, pointed out TC is gaining more confidence in RR.

    • Name
      August 3, 2012 at 12:21 pm

      You can’t reliever fault the relievers(except maybe Byrdak) that they aren’t going enough length. That blame must be put on Terry Collins who continues to amaze me with his matchup-crazy philosophy.
      Take Last night for instance. Gregor Blanco is a lefty, but it’s not like he mashes righties. why waste Byrdak in that situation and why not just try to use Rauch the whole inning?

  2. Chris F
    August 2, 2012 at 11:14 am

    Interesting article Dan, esp after last night, and analysis Brian. As a more qualitative, less numbers-at-the-tip-of-my-tongue, guy in the end what I saw was a W for last night. TC appears to have made the right calls with the pen arms.

    One thing that stuck me though was this: last night was exactly the kind of game we had been winning before the ASG. Ok, the roles are different, but in general, we saw an unbalanced team where one component stepped up to secure the win. Here it was the pen saving the atrocious play on the field combined with a sparkling performance from Niese. So while we were used to 2-out clutch hits driving in runs to pile up the score a bit, here we really got a great 2 innings from the pen that preserved a 1 run lead. Maybe the darkest days are over?

    It was a grotesque game, but I cant help but wonder if this was a bigger win, and a launch to more Ws?

  3. jerseymet
    August 2, 2012 at 4:14 pm

    I’d like to see Egbert and Hampson be given a chance to pitch this September.

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