One night after picking up the win, Jason Isringhausen came on Tuesday night to retire the side in order and pick up his sixth save of the season. Since taking over as the primary closer after the trade of Francisco Rodriguez, Isringhausen has appeared in 11 games with a 2-2 record, a 4.50 ERA and one blown save. It’s not overwhelming production, so the question remains: Can Isringhausen close for the 2012 Mets?
Right now, there is no easy decision on who anchors the Mets bullpen next season. Bobby Parnell has the velocity for the job but appears less ready than Isringhausen. Pedro Beato has not been the same pitcher since coming back from the DL. Pre-injury Beato had a 0.00 ERA over 17 IP with 3 BB and 10 Ks. Post-injury Beato has a 6.00 ERA over 30 IP with 17 BB and 17 Ks. No one else currently on the roster merits consideration for the closer’s job.
Isringhausen had two bad outings in back-to-back nights against the Marlins (2 IP, 5 H, 6 R, 5 ER) in the beginning of August but otherwise has been solid in his brief stint as closer for the Mets. He’s shown the ability to pitch on back-to-back nights (doing it successfully three times here in the second half), has averaged 11.25 K/9 and a 3.0 BB/9 and has limited opposing batters to a .219 AVG.
While he no longer has the overpowering stuff of his days with the A’s and Cardinals, Isringhausen knows how to pitch and he works both sides of the plate effectively. He has some trouble versus LHB, who have an .834 OPS against him thanks to 4 HR in 65 ABs. It will be worth to see if the gopher balls versus lefties is a fluke or something that continues until the end of the season.
Sandy Alderson was able to get out from the money owed Rodriguez in 2012. Now he has to find a closer for next year’s club. With the Mets still unlikely to spend a ton of money in free agency, it’s doubtful that Alderson would spend a lot of his available budget on a closer. Which means that a closer from within is a likely scenario.
It seemed unreal when Isringhausen received an invitation to Spring Training this year. But he has proven to be a valuable addition to the club. Now the Mets have 47 more games to decide if they want to bring Isringhausen back for a repeat performance and if his full-time role next year will be as closer.