Ok, this is going to hurt. My theory is as follows:
Billy Wagner, who is currently having a great year, could be in a position to kill the Mets chances at the playoffs. Here are Wagner’s stats… His ERA is ridiculously low at 1.27, he’s 5-0, 55K’s, 19 saves and 3 blown saves. He’s obviously still throwing heat!
How is our closer doing? K-Rod has a 2.57 ERA, 2-2, 52K’s, 20 saves and 4 blown saves. Not too bad. Most teams would love those numbers from their closer.
Pitching wins championships and Atlanta is proof of that. If you don’t remember those dominate Atlanta pitchers of the 90’s, let me refresh your memory:
A Braves pitcher won the Cy Young Award almost every year during the 90’s:
1991 – Tom Glavine
1993 – Greg Maddox
1994 – Greg Maddox
1995 – Greg Maddox
1996 – John Smoltz
1998 – Tom Glavine
But this time around we don’t have to worry about facing three Cy Young’s in the same rotation. I believe the combination of Johan Santana and Mike Pelfrey could match Atlanta’s top two of Tim Hudson and Derek Lowe. The bottom three pitchers of each rotation are also doing very well and these two pitching staffs are pretty evenly matched.
So the division may well rest on who has the better bullpen. If the Mets miss the playoffs by only one game we could point to the extra blown save that K-Rod has. Atlanta’s bullpen may just have that extra edge over the Mets that denies the Mets a chance at the playoffs.
Of course, that edge will be at the Mets expense. Wagner had torn the ulnar collateral ligament of his left elbow and also his flexor pronator tendon in September of 2008 while with the Mets. His injuries required major reconstructive surgery and he wasn’t able to return to play until August of 2009.
So not only did Wagner have his reconstructive surgery on the Mets’ dime but also did his rehab while with the Mets. Looks like the surgery and rehab went very well because Wagner is throwing the heat again and his resurgence may prevent the Mets from making the playoffs.
Wagner is having a comeback year and has solidified Atlanta’s bullpen and that may just be the little edge that puts the Braves over the Mets this year.
What do you think? Would it bother you if Wagner prevented the Mets from making the playoffs?