Is it time for Jon Rauch to replace Frank Francisco as closer?

The title of this post begs to be asked.

Considering that Frank Francisco’s last two outings were-to put it mildly-disastrous, and the fact that he had to be bailed out by Jon Rauch on both occasions, Terry Collins could be leaning towards making Rauch his new closer.

Ever since he came off the DL, Francisco has not been quite the same. In four games back from the DL, Francisco has tossed 2.2 innings and has given up eight hits and issued four walks while allowing six earned runs. Actually, the only time he looked good was when he first came off the DL on August 4 against the Padres when he recorded a two-out save.

Collins says Francisco simply hasn’t had enough work. Hogwash!

I think Collins is just toeing the company line and spitting out half-truths and tired-out clichés. Collins has got to be thinking that he may have to switch to Rauch as his closer eventually, as Rauch twice has bailed out Francisco after letting almost insurmountable leads get edgy. Rauch has now had two straight one-out saves.

However, it’s just not that Rauch has saved the Mets from catastrophe in their last two victories, but more or less he has been the Mets’ most dependable and reliable bullpen arm in the past month or so.

I already went into detail here about how good Rauch has pitched. Ever since that post was published, Rauch has pitched in an additional six games consisting of 4.2 innings pitched and only allowing one hit with no walks in that time.

And aside from the one-out saves, Rauch has been used for entire innings and has looked fabulous in the process.

When the Mets signed both Francisco and Rauch in the offseason, neither was officially anointed the closer, although we all knew Francisco had the inside track. Considering that they flipped roles while they were teammates in Toronto last year, maybe a flip in roles could benefit both of them this year.

While, of course, Rauch has had his issues this year, he has been stellar recently and perhaps he should be given a chance. All Mets’ fans would love to avoid the agita they get when Francisco comes into the game.

There is no long-term commitment to either pitcher. It’s not like we are messing with anyone’s development or psyche here. Francisco and Rauch are vets who know the business. With the Mets going nowhere this year, at least go with the guy who gives you the best chance for saves down the stretch.

If Rauch fails in the closer role, so what. Then, just put back Francisco there. It’s not like the Mets would be screwing up some master plan here. Basically, what I’m getting at is play the hot hand.

With all this being said, the Mets should possibly entertain the idea of looking for someone else to close games for them next year. For all intents and purposes, neither Francisco nor Rauch has made good on their contracts and it would be a good idea if the Mets can rely on someone other than Francisco or Rauch to close out games next year.

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7 comments for “Is it time for Jon Rauch to replace Frank Francisco as closer?

  1. Chris F
    August 18, 2012 at 9:18 am

    Yes, of course. The thing is though, what is really the answer is “the hot hand” like you say. Earlier on TC mentioned something about fixed roles or whatever and that is now ridiculous. Rauch is enjoying the limelight and has fight right now. Put me in coach….

  2. August 18, 2012 at 9:32 am

    Baseball is a miracle laden sport where a team floundering in early August can mount an amazing comeback. It makes games worth watching. By this point, however, the miracle fairy dust is waning thin.

    The other thing to watch for and retain hope is for prospects and young players. It makes it worthwhile. It has been great watching Matt Harvey pitch.

    I know this is a bit controversial, but I like watching Ike Davis play. As a part time player, he has 21 homers. What would he do as a full time player, if allowed to work through slumps and heavy left handed curve ball pitchers?
    I know that Daniel Murphy isn’t a natural second basement, but I love his grit and ability to hit doubles.
    David Wright is David Wright.
    Tejada has been amazing.

    I like the infield a great deal, but am losing confidence in Terry Collins’ decision making.
    I know our needs: catcher, pitching, bullpen, and productive outfield, but I hope our infield remains in place for next season.

    • Mayor Frank
      August 18, 2012 at 4:21 pm

      No miracles here. Rauch and Francisco need to go as well as three others in the pen. Mets have to buy some real pitching and much needed help in the outfield thanks to collapse of Bay. They also need a new manager.

  3. August 18, 2012 at 10:04 am

    Since taking a brief timeout due to elbow soreness, Rauch has been terrific. He’s regularly hitting 92 on his fastball and his slider has become a very good pitch. Did anyone hear anything about a cortisone shot? I haven’t, but it would kind of make sense.

    Absent cortisone – or another injection – we might seriously have to give Dan Warthen some credit on this one. Rauch has gone from terrible to perhaps the best pitcher in the pen.

    Still, I wouldn’t make him the closer just yet. Francisco has had rough outings recently but he was fantastic before he hit the DL. He comes off the DL, pitches sporadically and in non-closer appearances. Without having a study to back up my claim, it’s my opinion that closers do worse in non-save situations then they do when the save’s on the line.

    Also, we do have to think of the contracts in this situation. Francisco will be here next year and Rauch will not. Is it worth screwing with Francisco’s confidence so Rauch can close for six weeks and be somewhere else in 2013? If we were fighting for a playoff spot I could see that being worthwhile but since we’re not, I’d just as soon ride out this rough patch and see if we can get Frank-Frank back on track.

    • Name
      August 18, 2012 at 7:20 pm

      If i were terry, i’d just keep doing what he’s been doing. I’d let Francisco continue to get the first shot at the save, but if he gives up baserunners, i wouldn’t hesistate to quickly bring in Rauch to try to bail him.

  4. steevy
    August 18, 2012 at 7:24 pm

    The thing is,almost every spot on this team(except maybe Wright at 3rd,Tejada at SS ) is a placeholder.For what though?More low cost options or actual improvements?I’m regretfully thinking the former.

  5. steevy
    August 18, 2012 at 9:25 pm

    OH NO!2 run lead and he’s bringing in Francisco?I can’t watch!!!!

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