For just the fourth time in 16 outings this year for the Mets, Josh Edgin pitched a full inning last night. All it took for that to happen was for the bullpen to have to contribute 15.2 innings over the past three games. It’s worth noting that Edgin retired all three batters he faced. In fact in his four outings where he’s gone a full inning (or more) this year, Edgin has faced 13 batters and retired them all.
Yet we continue to see the LOOGYfication of Edgin. For the sake of argument, let’s say that it’s not detrimental to the health of your bullpen to utilize a LOOGY. Would you still insist on deploying one if you had a pitcher who didn’t soil his pants when a RHB came to the plate? It’s one thing to micromanage Scott Rice, who shouldn’t face righties if humanly possible. But why would you pigeonhole Edgin into that role?
In 118 lifetime PA in the majors versus RHB, Edgin has limited then to a .673 OPS.
But we see the insistence of management – whether that decision comes from Sandy Alderson or Terry Collins – to have a LOOGY on the roster. Currently, the Mets are carrying two lefty relievers, as Dana Eveland is also on the squad. However, Eveland has been utilized as a normal reliever.
If we try to read the tea leaves – what should we make of this? Is Eveland utilized as a real reliever so that he can be replaced without worrying about who the LOOGY is? Or is Edgin utilized as a LOOGY so that when Rice gets back on track and recalled he can be sent out easily?
Neither answer is satisfying.
GRANNY ASSUMES LEADOFF ROLE – The past two games Curtis Granderson has been installed as the club’s leadoff hitter. Since he opened the season as the team’s cleanup hitter, it seemed like an unusual thing to have a guy bat first and fourth in the same season. But it’s not even the first time this year it’s happened. Chris Young has also filled both roles for the club. Prior to this season, the last time the Mets used a player multiple times in both the leadoff and cleanup spots in the order was the injury-plagued 2009 year when Daniel Murphy led off four times and hit fourth 20 times. Before that was 2001, when Benny Agbayani batted first 32 times and was the fourth hitter three times.
WILL WRIGHT MOVE NEXT? – With all of the lineup shuffling Collins has done, one thing that he has not tinkered with is the batting order position of David Wright, who has batted third in all 69 games he’s played. Wright’s .631 OPS in April was the worst mark he’s posted in any month in his career with the Mets. So far in June, Wright has a .427 OPS. With the offense struggling to score runs recently – 13 runs in their last six contests – it might be worth a shot to drop Wright in the order.
WHAT WILL THE METS DO WITH JDG? – Jacob deGrom has generally pitched well since his recall from Triple-A but it’s clear that he will be bumped from the rotation once Dillon Gee is activated. The decision will be whether to send him to Triple-A to continue as a starter or keep him in the majors to transition to a reliever. Prior to this season, many viewed him as ultimately a bullpen arm. However, he’s pitched well, both at Las Vegas and in the majors where perhaps he’s earned the right to continue as a starter. But getting back to the question asked earlier, it’s easy to imagine a scenario where deGrom moves to the pen and Eveland gets sent down.
BAD IDEAS CONTINUE TO FOLLOW MURPHY – Throughout his career with the Mets, Daniel Murphy has had to persevere through some decisions that could make one scratch his head. There was the move to the outfield to get his bat into the lineup. Then there was the move to first base – where he hadn’t played before – to get him out of the outfield. Then there was the move to second base, where he suffered two season-ending injuries. Now that he’s established himself at second, there’s talk among the fan base of moving him back to first to get more playing time for Eric Young Jr. and/or Wilmer Flores. Jerking Murphy around is bad enough but this would take Lucas Duda out of the lineup for two inferior hitters. Let’s hope management doesn’t consider this idea.
REMEMBERING TONY GWYNN – The baseball world was saddened to learn of the passing of Hall of Famer Tony Gwynn at the age of 54. On last night’s telecast, Ron Darling seemed to be hit especially hard, given that they were the same age. He told some good stories about Gwynn and helped cushion the blow somewhat for this baseball fan.
This morning I found myself looking up Gwynn’s career records. The numbers are impressive. Yet it was hard not to notice one thing. From age 28-32, when he should have been in the prime of his career, Gwynn put up a .790 OPS over 3,024 PA, with a high of .813 in 1989. Then the next seven years, he never posted an OPS lower than .842 and at the age of 37, Gwynn put up a .957 OPS.
So many hitters from this era have their numbers questioned, ridiculed and dismissed. Yet you never hear this about Gwynn. Now, to be crystal clear, the intention of this is not to start a steroids accusation against Gwynn. Instead, this is an invitation to those who view everything that happened starting in 1993 to be nothing more than drug-fueled – that perhaps there are other things going on, as well.