When the Mets left Florida in early April, many experts felt their starting rotation would hold them back but after 13 games of the regular season, the starters, aside from John Maine, are holding up their end of the bargain. Johan Santana (3.00 ERA), Mike Pelfrey (1.29 ERA), Oliver Perez (3.75 ERA) and Jonathan Niese (4.32 ERA) have all pitched very well all things considered.
“Our starting pitching has been great”, said Met shortstop Jose Reyes, “and now it is up to us to get the bats rolling.” And you have to figure players like Reyes and Jason Bay will begin to hit in the manner in which we are accustomed to see in short order. Reyes is suffering from the rust of having missed 10 months of baseball while Bay is experiencing the slow start that so many high-priced free agents encounter in New York.
Everybody is well aware that 5-8 is not where the Mets wanted to be after 13 games but being around this club, you certainly get the sense they are unfazed by the slow start and are actually encouraged by the fact that pitchers like Pelfrey, Niese, and Perez seemed to have found answers to their inconsistencies. To me, Pelfrey’s mental makeover has given him a toughness that big-time pitchers possess and demanding the ball in the 20th inning AFTER he already threw his 70 pitch side session proves how far he has come in re-inventing himself.
Niese has added a cutter to his arsenal making him a more complete pitcher and all Oliver Perez did his last time out was frustrate Albert Pujols so much he was caught on TV muttering to himself walking back to the dugout after facing him on Friday night. The prevailing notion is that the Met pitchers have not gotten the job done but when you look at the early season numbers, you can see that has not been the case. But in New York, never let the facts get in the way of a good story.
You know how many teams in the National League have better team ERA’s than the Mets this year. The answer is 4 and none of those 4 staffs, reside in the NL East. But to hear people tell it, you’d think this staff, aside from Johan Santana, is a bunch of unserviceable pitchers. “We know what we can do when we are healthy and together as a group but talk is cheap. So, we just have to show people and that’s what we intend to do,” said Pelfrey.
So far, they have done just that and if the hitting begins to pull their load, the Mets might be on their way to making the summer of 2010 mighty interesting at CitiField.