Mancuso: Ramos a perfect fit for Mets pen

There is that mentality for a pitcher coming out of the bullpen as the setup guy or closer. Newly acquired righthander AJ Ramos of the Mets was in both roles the past few years with the Miami Marlins and in his first save opportunity with New York he got the job done Tuesday night at Citi Field in the Mets 5-4 win over Texas.

This was supposed to be the script. Hand the ball to the bullpen and get the win, but nothing has followed the scenes and it has come with revisions due to injuries and chaos that has turned a promising season for the Mets into building for next year.

Then again, there was no script that the closer would miss significant time with a blood clot. And there was nothing in the contingency plan, though Addison Reed filled the closer role and did it well. Now, Reed is with the Red Sox and trying to help his team to a division title in a setup role and there is that possibility the Mets could reacquire the righthander in the offseason.

And if Reed returns that could make this Mets bullpen turn the script.  Because AJ Ramos will be there, Jeurys Familia is expected to be healthy and Jerry Blevins knows how to get the outs. Tuesday night at Citi Field there was a preliminary look at how it could be.

Get your starter to throw innings and with a lead. Chris Flexen had his longest outing in his third career start and got the win. Michael Conforto got another leadoff home run, Yoenis Cespedes drove one deep down the left field line in the first inning, and Travis d’Arnaud hit his first home run of the season at Citi Field.

The hitters followed a script that was supposed to be a reason why this was going to be a special season at Citi Field. The bullpen is getting better and the addition of AJ Ramos does not hurt.  And with the exception of a ninth inning home run first pitch, that Robinson Chirinos deposited down the left field line, Ramos was perfect.

He said about the save, “Hope I can get a lot more.” And Ramos has in the past with the Marlins as a closer and in a setup role. Closing a game is a different mentality and perhaps that is why his first three innings out of the pen with the Mets and in non- save situations was not the way to make an impression with the new team giving up three runs and four hits.

Tuesday night, and after that home run ball, Ramos made an impression. He used the slider, change, and fastball. It showed how important AJ Ramos can be out of the Mets pen next season.

“He threw 94, better slider,” manager Terry Collins said about Ramos. “Maybe it was the fact it was a save situation.” Ramos would naturally want to be the closer and carried 20 saves to New York before the trade from the Marlins at the deadline. And, yes, there is that different mentality coming in for a save as opposed to closing the door.

So the script next season for the Mets could look interesting, and more so if Reed is back in the equation out of the pen. Jerry Blevins looks consistent with the curve and fastball and Jeurys Familia and Ramos, could close games.

Collins may not be back in the dugout to make those decisions as there is every reason to believe that this will be his final year at the helm. But Ramos looks forward to more opportunities and will take what he gets. It’s a part of playing out the string for the Mets and finding out roles for next year.

“Can’t control what I can do,” Ramos said. “You want to show what you can do,” he said about the adjustment of coming to a new team. That adjustment is also closing games now and working in a setup role, depending of course on situations.

And with the Mets now it is all about situations and planning for next year. AJ Ramos offers some of that hope in a setup role or closing games. After all this is a different type of mentality that Ramos used to close the door on this one.

For the Mets that mentality can lead to more wins. Having AJ Ramos there can make a big difference.

Comment Rich Mancuso: [email protected]  Twitter@Ring786 Mancuso

About the Author

Rich Mancuso

Rich Mancuso is a regular contributor at NY Sports Day, covering countless New York Mets, Yankees, and MLB teams along with some of the greatest boxing matches over the years. He is an award winning sports journalist and previously worked for The Associated Press, New York Daily News, Gannett, and, in a career that spans almost 40 years.

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