Michael Baron, ContributorIn yesterday’s 9-4 loss to the Phillies Shaun Marcum allowed three runs in four innings.
It was Marcum’s first start of the season after coming back from neck and shoulder problems which sidelined him for most of Spring Training and the month of the April.
“It’s not what I wanted from a statistical standpoint or helping this team,” Marcum explained after the game. “I wasn’t very efficient with my pitches there in the second and third inning. My pitch count rose pretty quickly in those two innings.”
Terry Collins had said Marcum’s pitch limit would be around 90 pitches – Marcum threw 71 pitches in his four innings.
“To be honest, we were going to let him start the next inning, but he only had two or three hitters he was going to face,” Terry Collins explained. “I thought at that time, with Justin sitting over there, we might take a shot at getting us back in the game.”
Marcum said he felt good and could have gone further in the game, but recognized the need for offense in that situation and agreed with Terry Collins decision.
“It was just a situation where we had to get Justin up there and try to get those RBIs and those guys in at that time.”
I had no problem with the decision. Sure, Marcum was under his pitch limit and the bullpen has been problematic to say the least, but it was clear the Mets were going to have to score a lot of runs in order to win the game, and Terry went for it. It was a winning decision which just didn’t work out for the team.
As for Marcum’s performance, he really wasn’t that bad yesterday. He struggled with his location, and for a guy who throws his fastball in the mid 80s, he can’t afford to fall behind and pitch up in the zone, which is what he did in the third inning. But outside of that inning, he was able to remain efficient and threw strikes, which is what Marcum is known to do. I thought he had a very good change-up and I was impressed with both his aggressiveness and location of that pitch. That’s going to be an important pitch for him as he contends with some big power hitters in the National League East.
Now that Marcum got the first outing out of the way, he has to stay healthy and continue to build both his strength and stamina so he can consistently provide length for this staff. They’ve missed his presence and have struggled to piece things together in his absence. If he can get to the point where he can give this team six innings every five days, they will be able to stabilize their relief corps and keep themselves in games like yesterday’s more consistently.