Wednesday, April 27, 2011
Quick hits on the Mets bullpen
By Mark Simon
There's been some buzz around the blogosphere regarding the recent performance of the Mets bullpen, so we figured we'd chime in with a few quick-hit nuggets.
Perhaps the most encouraging stat on Mets relievers during the team's five-game winning streak is the bullpen's strikeout-to-walk rate.
In their last 13 1/3 innings, Mets relievers have whiffed 14 and walked two, a significant improvement in their performance. Prior to the streak, the Mets bullpen was averaging four walks per nine innings.
Francisco Rodriguez, who earned another save Tuesday, is off to an encouraging start in one area. Rodriguez has successfully recorded outs against 12 of the 14 lefties against whom he's gotten to a two-strike count. He retired Danny Espinosa and Roger Bernadina in such a manner Tuesday night.
Video review indicates Rodriguez is throwing his changeup in such situations more than half the time (57 percent), which in the early going is about twice as frequently as he had thrown it in two-strike situations against lefties last season.
After some control issues at the start of the season, Taylor Buchholz has had 6 1/3 straight walk-free innings. Buchholz's curveball has come as advertised. He's gotten 16 outs with the pitch this season, yielding one base hit.
Jason Isringhausen, for the most part, has avoided the sort of contact that causes trouble. Rick Ankiel's single Tuesday night is the only line drive he has allowed in his 6 2/3 innings.
Lastly, there figures to soon be a clamoring for Pedro Beato to be used in more meaningful situations. Seven of Beato's eight entrances have come with the Mets trailing, although Terry Collins now appears leaning toward a common progression with a narrow lead of Beato to Isringhausen to K-Rod.
Within a VERY small sample, Beato has shown good swing-and-miss ability with his fastball. In his last three appearances, opponents have swung at 18 fastballs, missing eight. So far, hitters have swung and missed at it 27 percent of the time, a rate that is nearly double the major league average.