One of the biggest changes we’ll see as Mets fans this year will be in the bullpen. Of course, Francisco Rodriguez is still at the back of the pen. But there are some big changes in front of him. Last season the Mets acquired J.J. Putz in a trade before the season and that sealed the setup role for 2009. It didn’t work out as planned with Putz only pitching in 29 games before having elbow surgery. But the plan for the season was clear. It isn’t so clear who will set up Rodriguez in 2010.
Ryota Igarashi may have the inside track if he can show the type of performance that he did while playing in Japan. The 30 year-old right hander is a flame thrower with a touch of wildness. You can read a great profile of Igarashi at NPB Tracker. We’ll get a much better idea of what he can do against Major League hitters during spring training. Sometimes the success that players have in Japan just doesn’t translate here in the U.S.
Coming off two games against the Braves in which the bullpen blew a late lead, Mets fans are realizing just how fragile our post-season hopes are. If the Mets can’t find a solution for the problems at the back of the bullpen we very well may end up watching another September division lead disappear before our eyes.
Billy Wagner wasn’t perfect this season, having blown seven saves before his season ended on August 3rd, but he sure would be a sight for sore eyes now. The Luis Ayala/closer by committee situation that we’re suffering through now is about as disturbing to watch as Jose Lima or Brian Lawrence starting a game.
At this late stage of the season there aren’t many options. There isn’t a guy in the bullpen that I trust to get three outs consistently. And I do think the Mets gave up on Eddie Kunz this season a little too early. He may have been able to make a contribution in September.
So we’re stuck in a closer-less purgatory and left to cross our fingers and toes every time it’s a late and close situation. I can’t even call the Mets the cardiac kids because that would imply they’re coming back for some late wins. I would say buckle your seat belts because the last two weeks of the season are going to be a wild ride.
The Mets activated relief pitcher Luis Ayala acquired in a trade with the Washington Nationals. To make room on the 25 man roster the Mets optioned Eddie Kunz to Triple-A New Orleans.
Kunz was clearly overmatched in his short stint with the Mets. He pitched in four games to a 13.50 ERA. He looks like he has potential but he’s certainly not there yet.
The game looked like it might be over early when Pedro Martinez gave up two solo homers in the first inning. But he bounced back to pitch 6.1 innings giving up three runs and only two were earned. It was a good performance for Pedro.
Other than Daniel Murphy the Mets had no solid offense tonight. Murphy was 3 for 5 with a triple and an RBI. The Mets left 10 runners on base in this one.
Eddie Kunz worked the eighth inning and gave up a solo homer. It’s the first homer he’s given up since he was a freshman in college.
David Wright made an error at third and a bonehead play on the bases. It’s the second night in a row he’s made a big mistake on the bases.
The Mets go to three games behind the Phillies with the loss tonight.
The Mets get swept in Houston by a sub-.500 team and finish their road trip at 1-5. It feels like Willie Randolph never left. The Mets will have to do a lot better than this if Jerry Manuel wants to keep this job next season.
Oliver Perez went six inning giving up all four runs on a solo homer to Ty Wiggington in the 2nd inning and a three run two-out rally in the fourth. He gave up eight hits but didn’t walk any, and he didn’t give up after the fourth inning rally. He came back strong in the fifth and sixth innings. Not that there are any moral victories when you get swept though.
The Mets had a lot of opportunities on offense, leaving 11 runners on base. Carlos Delgado continued his hot hitting going 3 for 4.
Eddie Kunz made his big league debut in the seventh inning. He gave up only one hit and did make a throwing error over Delgado’s head. Overall, he looked like he’s got the right stuff.
Nick Evans had two outfield assists from left field in the game. Although he did misplay a ball when he stumbled on a ball he should have caught. That led to an Astros run in the fourth inning.
The Marlins lost today and the Phillies play tonight on ESPN Sunday Night Baseball.
The Mets announced before the game today in Houston that John Maine will be placed on the 15-day disabled list because of the mild rotator cuff injury he sustained in Florida on Monday. His DL was backdated so he’s eligible to come off and pitch against Washington a week from Wednesday.
Billy Wagner is on his way back to New York after feeling stiffness in his left forearm. He’ll have an MRI which is his second in two weeks.
Eddie Kunz will take John Maine’s roster spot after being called up from Double-A Binghamton.
Daily News beat reporter Adam Rubin is reporting today that the Mets are promoting relief pitcher Eddie Kunz from Double-A Binghamton.The post doesn’t say if Kunz will be in uniform in Houston this afternoon or not, and he doesn’t say who Kunz will replace on the roster. I would surmise it’ll be Carlos Muniz.
Kunz is a 6’5″ 265 lbs. right-hander. He’s pitched in 44 games at Binghamton with a 1-4 record and 2.79 ERA. He was the Mets top draft choice in 2007.
We’re seeing a wave of rookies coming to the Mets and expect to see more soon. Daniel Murphy, Nick Evans, and Argenis Reyes are all making contributions at the Major League level. Expect Fernando Martinez not to be far behind if Ryan Church can’t get back to form when he comes off the disabled list.