One of the obvious reasons for shall we say, what has been a less than stellar beginning to the 2017 season for the boys from Queens, has been the bad luck with injuries to key players this year. But then again everyone on a 25-man roster is a key player, otherwise why would he be one of the top 25 out of the 250 players in an organization? They will be getting back some of these guys soon. Steven Matz and Seth Lugo are due to return any day now, allowing the bullpen to add Robert Gsellman to their list of “Who is going to blow this lead?” group.
I believe Matz and Lugo will bolster the five man rotation and give the fans something to cheer about. But here is where it gets down in the dirt lousy. Unless you have a Clayton Kershaw, Max Scherzer or Chris Sale who go deep into most of their games, you have to rely on your bullpen. Deep into a game for some teams is seven innings. Don’t expect either Matz or Lugo to go beyond six for awhile. When you have a back end of the pen with guys like Dellin Betances and Aroldis Chapman you are sitting pretty. Obviously the Mets don’t have that depth, they’re sitting ugly. Deep into a game for this team is a six run lead into the ninth inning with their starter.
Now if you want to blame people, you can start with Tony La Russa. He is credited with all this new baseball, where the starters only pitch six innings and then you bring in five guys to finish the game. Mixing lefty vs righty and righty vs lefty. Sinkerball guy to get a double play in one situation and a one hundred mile an hour guy to strike out the side. Sounded good and worked for a year or two with most teams. But how many bullpens stayed healthy over a five to ten year period? That’s a lot of ware and tear on their arms, having to pitch sometimes two or three days in a row. Teams have put more emphasis on finding guys who can throw as hard as they can for one inning. That’s fine, but three days in a row? Man there isn’t enough ice in Alaska to tenderize the meat on all those arms.
[graphiq id=”8mtHg8q998V” title=”New York Mets 2017 Bullpen” width=”600″ height=”400″ url=”https://sw.graphiq.com/w/8mtHg8q998V” frozen=”true”]
Now look at the great staffs of the Braves of the nineties, the Orioles of the seventies or even the Mets of the late sixties, early seventies and the eighties. They all had more complete games and longer careers. Going into the eight or ninth with your best gives you a better chance for a win. But that is all pie in the sky now, because baseball has accepted the six inning starter and the heard of cows in the bullpen philosophy of how the game is to be played today. So no matter how many brilliant young starters the Mets have, they will more than likely get their team to the sixth inning and hope that the cows can hold the lead. So far, how has that been working out for ya?
Welcome to baseball and the age of the computer, stats and non baseball people running the show. La Russa was brilliant in his thinking and it worked for some teams albeit not long. It had flaws, yet was innovative and added something new and exciting to the game back then. Okay, experiment over. Lets get back to the way the game was played for the first one hundred years.