The Mets bullpen is thinning and lacking experience

Michael Baron, Contributor

Terry Collins used six relief pitchers during Monday’s game. They allowed five earned runs, including two inherited runs from Dillon Gee in the seventh inning.

“We ran into some of that in spring training,” Collins said about his bullpen’s struggles. “If you’re going to pitch here, you’ve got to be able to throw strikes, and you can’t walk guys.”

Carlos Torres – who walked only 27 batters in 86 innings last year – never landed a strike against Nate McClouth, the only batter he faced.

“I was trying to overthrow the ball,” Torres said. “That’s why the ball was elevated, and I missed those spots.”

Scott Rice followed Torres and walked Denard Span on four pitches to allow the tying run to score. Rice walked just 10 left-handed hitters all of 2013.

“I just didn’t get the job done, hands down,” Rice said. “That’s the bottom line.”


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Jeurys Familia and John Lannan combined to allow four earned runs in the 10th inning. Lannan later said he expects to become more comfortable pitching in relief as the season moves on.

Bobby Parnell blew the save by allowing a game-tying double to Span in the ninth inning, moments after Juan Lagares gave the Mets the lead with a home run a half inning earlier. Unfortunately, the Mets lost Parnell to an elbow injury on Tuesday, which could require surgery.

The loss of Parnell leaves a gaping hole in the back-end of an already questionable bullpen. Jose Valverde will likely take over for Parnell as closer, which may be a good thing considering how he looked during camp and on Opening Day. The team spent much of the winter looking for fill-in closers in case Parnell hit a stumbling block, and it looks like they’ll be cashing in on that insurance with Valverde…

Parnell’s situation exposes the lack of consistent, stable experience in their bullpen, which was all the more evident yesterday. The team’s relievers looked weak at the end of last season and nothing substantial was done to address it this past winter. It’s a piecemeal operation, made up of talented, but unproven young arms, a few reclamation projects and one guy pitching in a totally unfamiliar role. It’s hard to be successful and consistent with so many issues with so many pitchers.

Again, Collins is being asked to manage a staff of relievers that leave a lot to be desired. This is not meant to serve as a complete defense of his choices, which can often be questionable, however with this bullpen in particular, he might have failed Monday even if made all the correct decisions. He can’t make Torres or Rice throw strikes and he can’t magically give Parnell an extra five miles per hour on his fastball.

Sure, bullpens are crapshoots. However, having a more experience in these specific roles might have at least saved them from the situations that faced Collins and his staff late in Monday’s game, not to mention similar situations that are bound to come up throughout the year.




216 comments
Albert E Lewis
Albert E Lewis

Either him Familia,Black or Degrom..one of them has to be capable of saving games.

Jack Fitzpatrick
Jack Fitzpatrick

When two relievers come into the game and throw 8 straight balls with the bases loaded, I don't think that experience has anything to do with it. It just shows how horrible major league pitching is.

Christopher Masiello
Christopher Masiello

This is the main reason why I didn't get crazy about the opening day roster. Injuries will force the kids onto this team.

We're already seeing Flores in Game 2. Mejia is here (thanks Niese). It's just a matter of time until the average age on this team is 24 years old.

Kenneth Meltsner
Kenneth Meltsner

Yes, Vic Black had a poor Spring. But how in the name of Mel Rojas do you bring-up Kyle Farnsworth instead of him? I honestly think they do this just to annoy me.

stephenengan
stephenengan

Dice  K and Black should be a huge part of the Mets BP its funny that loser Collins plays guys that shouldnt guys that stunk it up in Spring instead of the hot hands. That's they way Collins manages he goes with veteran loser like Ike Davis and Duda over Satin and Campbell I have never seen an organization or a manager with less of a clue. I mean our off season adds of Grandernothing and toilets Young kind of tell the story. Im sure with 2 years left Colon won't use roids and bottom out also. Job well done Mets. It SUCKS being a Mets fan

Nick Antinarella
Nick Antinarella

I don't understand why teams, specifically the Mets, do not stockpile arms for the bullpen. "We've got too many relief pitchers!" - said no Met Manager, ever....

seldomused
seldomused

John Lannan should not be on this team as a reliever.  He's a soft tossing lefty who has been beaten up his entire career.  Terry should have let Familia get out of his own jam instead of over-engineering the pen like he always does.

Nate Olshan
Nate Olshan

I bet Sandy regrets letting Chris Perez slip away from him. Joel Hanrahan would be a fascinating guy to watch. Jose Valverde COULD be interesting to watch. He was amazing for Houston a few years back... when they were worse than the Mets. Recently released, by the White Sox, Mitchell Boggs could be an interesting guy for NY. Ryan Madson, if he's ever healthy, could be an interesting addition as well. Kevin Gregg also might be a good fit too. I agree the bullpen does lack experience and all of these guys have experience, and have also had success within the last 2 or 3 years. I would call up Jack Leathersich though. I've always seen him as their closer of the future. He has a lot of Craig Kimbrel in him. He strikes out guys like hell and if put into the closer roll he might shine.

eric88
eric88

Familia Always chokes when he gets a chance and the games count. Big arm though whom other clubs would like but I would include in a trade for a Franklin or similar.

Don't know why the money spent this offseason was budgeted and spent as foolishly as it was. Aside from Granderson I think the Colon and Chris Young signings were foolish money. Colon for 10mill per for 2 years when the Mets one and only strength is a flush of young pitching. Start the clock on a Montero or Thor because the money is tight this year anyway and they both might be better short and definitely long term than Colon. Spend the money instead on repairing the identified weaknesses. As per the GM, SS and Relief pitching as well as backup catcher. None of which were addressed. Drew is still available, so is Kevin Gregg and Hanrahan. Lets say Drew was 2 years 18million or even 20million (the identical money spent on 40 year old Colon). At least the weakness has been identified and fixed. I think either Gregg or Hanrahan could be had for something in the 3.5-4 per year range and a backup like Olivo went for I think 5 mil. Point is with these players for the same money spent the overall team would be better off. Not to mention that Nelson Cruz got almost the same money as Chris Young and Justin Turner would have still been a nice fit.


adam
adam

The bullpen also is lacking talent Baron!!!!! Parnell is a middle of the road closer, at best. Last year was an exception to an otherwise mediocre career. The reason this loss is so huge is because we have no viable replacements. Don't give me VALVERDE he's a ticking time bomb waiting to throw BP to the opposing team. Torres, Rice, Black, blah blah blah. They stink. Good thing we didn't resign Hawkins!!!!??????   

Kevin Joseph Patrick
Kevin Joseph Patrick

The loss of Bobby Parnell is huge; it's a lot bigger than I think many people realize. Before he got injured, Parnell saved 22 games out of 26 chances. He had an ERA below 2.25 & a WHIP of 1.00. He solidified himself as the anchor of this bullpen & if he undergoes TJ surgery & is gone for a year-plus, it just adds another hole on this team & puts contending in 2015 even more unrealistic than it already is. There is no bullpen depth on this team & for that I blame Alderson & Alderson alone. His first job when he came here was to solidify the bullpen & he has failed each year. Each year since Alderson's arrival, the Mets bullpen has been towards the bottom of the league & there isn't anyone down on the farm we can look forward to. Vic Black? Didn't look too good this spring. Leathersitch? I've heard a lot, but haven't seen much. The answer is NOT to bring up Montero & put him in the bullpen, nor is it to switch Mejia to a reliever & put Dice-K back in the rotation. The Cards have been successful with using young starters as relievers, but that is the minority. The Mets tried it with Mejia a couple years back & I truly believe that their messing with him between starter & reliever was the primary reason he dealt with elbow issues in recent years. Montero has the ability to be a stud starting pitcher on this team for years to come. I value starting pitching much more than bullpen pitching. 200-plus innings of Montero is a lot more helpful to this team than 65-75 innings in relief. The answer to building a bullpen is signing & acquiring hard-throwers who are borderline starters, then convert them to relievers. It's the way the Sox have gone & it's the way the Yankees have gone for a long time. For all the banter we engage in over SS & 1B, if we don't have even a decent bullpen we won't contend for anything but a protected draft pick.

Shawn R. Babcock
Shawn R. Babcock

It couldn't have anything to do with the home plate ump, could it?

His strikezone for Mets pitchers was pretty small.

That punch out of Lagares on that curve 6 inches inside really set me off. Very bad balls and strikes day.

tigerinblu
tigerinblu

we need to go outside the organization for a late inning reliever who can throw strikes consistently


OR


bring up Montero.  We need someone in the BP who can thrown freggin strikes. Yea, I know he's a starter, but I respect what the Cardinals do with their young pitchers. Put Montero in the pen and let him develop there

hrvwlzthor
hrvwlzthor

You know not for nothing but at least our starter looked good and we did score some runs. The stankees and fatso are totally getting embarrassed by the worst team in BB, WOW. CC topping out at 90, yikes, not good

Joe Blanco
Joe Blanco

Hopefully, we really suck for about 4 weeks.One hot night at Citi Field, fans get sick from eating at the "Shake Shack" become infected by a deadly virus, by the 7th inning the fans turn into Zombies and start eating the other fans brains. Eventually, all the fans become Zombies they eat Mr. Met, the reporters at the press box and Sandy is seen running for his life along with Fred and Jeff right behind him. Finally that week, the Wilpons decide to sell the team to Mark Cuban.....Lol

Nick Congello
Nick Congello

Eduardo Nunez DFA'ed mets should pick him up

crafalko17
crafalko17

Familia looked fine, Lannan looked like he wasn't ready to pitch, same with Rice and Torres. The problem is the depth with Parnell out and the fact that he obviously wasn't healthy yet.

eric88
eric88

The Mets Medical staff has got to be consistently the worst Med staff in sports.

Year after year they give poor diagnosis

And terrible procedural advise. It's a nightmare

Albert E Lewis
Albert E Lewis

Its only 1 game but after about 80 games  if we are 38 wins-42 losses...then what?

Albert E Lewis
Albert E Lewis

Looks like we need a 1st baseman,Shortstop and a closer.

rico
rico

Let's all think of all the horrible things we can say about the mets every one of em, their coaches, their management, ownership.  Let's praise everyone who is not a Met, 


now type it here….OH WE DID! 

dannym28
dannym28

Damn The Yankees are losing 6-0 to the Astros. Guys We complained to losing to the nats. This team that just spent almost half a billion dollars are losing to the worst team in baseball. We lost to the nats guys, lets not flip out

sylow59
sylow59

"Carlos Torres – who walked only 27 batters in 86 innings last year "

That is 2.9 BB/9.  MLB average last year was 3.0 BB/9.  It's not like this was OD 2011 and it was Cliff Lee

Rich Gregg
Rich Gregg

The Yankees look like the bad news bears right now, so we got that going for us

ponzies86
ponzies86

Micheal Kay is worst then Francesa SMH the guy is a big time Mets hater

green24
green24

@adam  Parnell has never had a lack of talent. There are very few relievers in the game with the raw stuff that Parnell possesses. He was far better than an average closer last year. He has grown as a pitcher from earlier in his career. The tuteledge of Dan Warthen and the introduction of the knucklecurve helped make him one of the top few closers in the NL during the four months of 2013 that he was healthy. 

bleck319
bleck319

The sad thing is, while Parnell had a decent year in 2013, even he isn't that great. His career save % is 67! That sucks. Valverde's since 2010 is over 90%. Most good closers are in the high 80s.

Kenneth Meltsner
Kenneth Meltsner

@Joe Blanco A bigger question might be how any remaining Met fans have any brains at all. Met Mr., on the other hand, can feed a veritable horde of zombies for a week. But if they're expecting brains from Sandy, his unholy management team and the Wilpons, they're really gonna go hungry.

metstastic
metstastic

How can you sell it Cuban when he can't even own a team. They have repeatedly denied his request time and time again.

green24
green24

@Nick Congello  Absolutely not. He is the worst player in all of baseball and the worst defensive SS in my lifetime and perhaps the history of the game.

rico
rico

@dreamer3kx  He's still Yankee property, it means he's in the minors not a FA, and exactly WHY do you want him? Simply because you hate the guy we have, who by the way had one very good season and one bad season. 



crafalko17
crafalko17

@sylow59 I agree that overall that isn't a great number, but that counts his spot-starts as well. Out of the bullpen his walk numbers were under 2 BB/9. He just doesn't know how to research or site meaningful statistics.

rico
rico

@ponzies86  Gosh I've hated Kay since he was a beat writer.  He should be in another market not NY.  

rico
rico

@Mickey Jennifer Wind  Mickey the Mets have been ping-ponging Meijia from starter to reliever for years, he's struggled through many injuries, finally the mets committed and promised him at shot at being a starter and they wouldn't put him in the pen.  If I were they mets I'd let that stand. 


We have not seen enough of DeGrom to make that call. Montero maybe but I think they like him as a starter too or as trade bait in a package for a slugger



RockMarz
RockMarz

And flat.raw n flat.raw is nice but don't put him in the upper echelon of relievers.

green24
green24

@bleck319  overrated stat, especially when used out of context. 


Also, off the top of my head, Parnell had at least one blown save last year that came as a result of unearned runs. Last year was Parnell's first as a full-time closer and he was spectacular.

Albert E Lewis
Albert E Lewis

@Mike Dell Italia Not trying to blame Sandy for everything but don't you think we should show some improvement in the win column this year? our wins since Sandy was hired here..2011-77...2012-74...2013-74.

bleck319
bleck319

Parnell's save percentage last year was still slightly below average at 85% and he was not able to last a full season. When he took over closer duties the two years prior temporarily, he converted 13 of 24 saves.

If you think save percentage is an overrated stat you are in denial.

Parnell is almost 30. How many times has he pitched a full season and closed 35-40 games? The answer of course is zero.

He's no Billy Wagner, K Rod, or even Benitez.

He's a homegrown player who is mediocre and has been propped up by management because ownership is cheap and there are no better options.

green24
green24

@dreamer3kx @rico  Tejada would be better than Nunez defensively if he decided to play without a mitt and with a blindfold on.