To get back to .500 it took some grit, hard work, solid production from reserves (the legend of Justin Turner lives on!), but most of all it has been pitching.
From top to bottom, the Mets pitching staff has been marvelous in the last week or so. While working on a three-game winning streak, Mets’ pitchers have given up only one run in the last 27 innings pitched. Even in Monday’s defeat to the Marlins, the Mets got great pitching (excluding Ryota Igarashi letting a pitcher beat him) in a 2-1 defeat in 11 innings.
The most common source of concern for Mets’ fans everywhere is the lack of quality starting pitching. They could brush off the injuries to Ike Davis and David Wright, but fans will always doubt the legitimacy of starting pitching.
Skeptics may have a point. After all, the Mets are 19th in the league in ERA, while in the bottom third in WHIP and BAA. The staff isn’t exactly a strong point. But don’t tell them that.
In the last week here are the lines for the starting pitchers.
- Mike Pelfrey– 5/16 vs. Florida: 7 IP 6 hits, 1 run, 2 walks ND
- Jon Niese- 5/18 vs. Washington: 7 IP 6 hits, 0 runs, 1 walk W
- Dillon Gee– 5/19 vs. Washington: 7.2 IP 2 hits, 0 runs, 3 walks W
- R.A. Dickey– 5/20 vs. New York Yankees: 6 IP 4 hits, 1 run, 3 walks W
When you factor in how brilliant the bullpen has been, there is reason for renewed optimism with this staff. The Mets have had four consecutive quality starts, and if the Mets can continue to get six solid innings from their starters, they can confidently hand the ball over to their bullpen.
Taylor Buchholz (1.66 ERA), Jason Isringhausen (1.80 ERA, 11 holds) and Francisco Rodriguez (0.79 ERA and 15 of 16 on save chances) have been wonderful in the bullpen thus far. After a rough patch in the first couple of weeks, this crew has been a godsend and a major reason why the Mets are now .500 after once being 5-13.
While Pelfrey is no ace, he is staring to round into shape and is now trusting his fastball more. He is now 2-1 in his last three starts while allowing only five earned runs in his last 21.1 innings pitched.
Niese is also making adjustments and making progress while going 2-0 in his last two starts. Niese was awesome on Wednesday, and in his start prior in Denver against the Rockies he was a lot better than what his final stat line read.
Chris Capuano is not a great innings eater, but he is keeping the Mets in games. He has not given up more than two runs in a start in his last three games pitched.
Gee has done quite well replacing Chris Young in the rotation. He flirted with a no-hitter in Thursday, and is now 3-0 with a more than respectable 3.44 ERA and 1.26 WHIP.
The one pitcher many Mets’ fans had worries about, Dickey, had an about face in Friday’s important series opener against the Yankees. Dickey finally got his second win of the year by having bite on his knuckle and baffling Yankees’ hitters all night long.
It’s obvious that this staff will not remind Mets’ fans of the ‘69 and ‘86 squads, but they have been making sound adjustments and should at least remind you of the solid rotation they resembled last year.
It has been enjoyable seeing the Mets fight tooth and nail to get back to .500, and we can all agree the staff has played a pivotal role.
The staff is going to have to continue their stellar run as the offense will be hindered with the absence of Davis and Wright. The pressure will be on them to keep the team in games.
Whether or not this staff holds up in the future, it has been a joy seeing this team come out of the hole they dug for themselves earlier in the season.