On Friday, we took a look at the fate of the Opening Day version of the Mets’ offense. Today, we take a look at the pitching staff. Given the object of the game is to score more runs than your opponent, one could make a case that the pitching staff has been the Mets’ number one weakness this year. While the team has scored the most runs in the NL East (540), they have allowed the most runs in the division (537), and the fourth most in the National League. Sub-par performances and injury woes have plagued the starting rotation, and the bullpen has been volatile all season.
So let’s see what the Mets’ Opening Day pitching staff has done up until now:
- RHP Mike Pelfrey – A 15-game winner a year ago, Pelfrey entered the season as the ace-de-facto in the absence of the injured
Johan Santana. Instead, he is in the midst of a disappointing 6-9 season. With eight weeks left in the season, he has already given up a career-high 19 home runs, while pitching to a 4.53 ERA. In addition, he recently caused a stir, albeit unwarranted, with recent comments about team expectations.
- LHP Jon Niese – The 24-year old has had a solid season, while occasionally showing flashes of brilliance. He likely deserves better than his 11-9 record. Along with Dillon Gee and R.A. Dickey, he’s one of the starters that makes a fan feel like the Mets have a chance to win when he takes the hill.
- RHP R.A. Dickey – Apart from a rough patch early in the season, Dickey has been a consistent innings eater, compiling a 3.75 ERA and 1.28 WHIP in 153.2 innings. However, a lack of run support has left him with an ugly 5-11 record.
- RHP Chris Young – Young got off to a great start for New York, going 1-0 with a 0.96 WHIP in 4 starts. Then, as has happened so often in his career, his body betrayed him. He needed season-ending surgery to repair the anterior capsule of his throwing shoulder, similar to the procedure performed on Santana last year.
- LHP Chris Capuano – Capuano has been awfully durable for guy who’s had two Tommy John surgeries. Chris and his hairless left arm have pitched their way to a 9-11 record with a 4.58 ERA. While generally solid early on, he has had a drop in his performance over his last five starts.
- RHP Francisco Rodriguez – K-Rod converted 23 of 26 save opportunities for the Mets, until he was traded to the Brewers for two players-to-be-named later, in an effort to clear his salary. Frankie has assumed the 8th inning role for Milwaukee (which is actually pronounced ”mill-e-wah-que” which is Algonquin for “the good land”), and has compiled 8 holds, while blowing 2 saves.
- RHP Bobby Parnell – Parnell continues to be a 100-MPH riddle. The man who throws as hard as Nolan Ryan has pitched to a 1.61 WHIP. Many suggested Parnell become the next Mets closer following the departure of K-Rod. However, if he can’t get out of the 7th or 8th inning, how is he going to shut the door in the 9th?
- RHP Taylor Buchholz - Apart from being tied for the league lead in consecutive h’s in a last name, Taylor was a solid contributor out of the Mets’ bullpen. Unfortunately, he’s been battling depression, reportedly since just before his return from Tommy John surgery as a member of the Rockies. He made his last appearance of the season on May 29th, and has been participating in the Mets’ employee assistance program, and has been prescribed medication.
- RHP Pedro Beato – The Rule 5 draft pick was a pleasant surprise in the first half, putting up a 3.38 ERA before the All-Star Break. Since, perhaps feeling the grind of his first Major League season, he has a 5.73 ERA, and has more walks than strikeouts.
- LHP Tim Byrdak - The lefty specialist has done his job all year, holding left-handed hitters to a .232 batting average. Bonus: He’s been durable.
- RHP D.J. Carrasco – The man with the 2-year deal has been shaky all year long, even spending a stint in the Minors. He’s settled into the Mets’ long-man role.
- RHP Blaine Boyer - Boyer beat out Jason Isringhausen for the final bullpen spot coming out of Spring Training. After 5 appearances and a 10.80 ERA, he was promptly shown the door in favor of Isringhausen. After a brief stint with the Pirates organization, he now pitches for the Cardinals’ AAA affiliate in Memphis. He has a combined 10.90 ERA in the minors, while Izzy is now the Mets’ closer.
From April to August, a lot has happened to New York’s roster. Those who remain on the field in the orange-and-blue are now playing for a spot on next year’s team. Maybe they’ll even be around for Opening Day 2012.