Monday, May 17, 2010
Mets down to two starting pitchers
Oliver Perez has finally been exiled to the bullpen, but what's next for the Mets, who suddenly need to replace Perez and Jonathan Niese? David Walstein on filling one of those holes:
[Hisanori] Takahashi seems to be a good choice for several reasons, not the least of which is that he has been effective. Coming into Saturday, he had a 3-1 record and a 2.74 earned run average. And the Mets could exchange him with Perez and not have to make a roster move.
The two leading minor league candidates are Pat Misch and R. A. Dickey. Misch played Saturday for Class AAA Buffalo and threw 91 pitches, which almost certainly eliminates him for consideration because he would have to come back on short rest. Dickey throws a knuckleball, and it may not be practical to ask catchers Rod Barajas or Henry Blanco to catch a knuckleball pitcher without recent practice.
If the Mets can get through the next few games without using Takahashi in long relief -- an inning Saturday or Sunday would not be a problem -- he will be in a good position to start.
But of course it's the Mets, so Takahashi pitched three innings Sunday after Jonathan Niese aggravated an old (and serious) hamstring problem in the third inning. Which apparently leaves the Mets looking at Dickey, or perhaps reliever Raul Valdes.
I hesitate to say it just doesn't matter, because: 1) the Mets aren't officially dead yet; and 2) if they do come back to life (in the postseason chase), they'll need almost every win they can possibly get. I don't believe in punting games in May as long as there's a shred of hope for September.
But we're approaching Miracle Territory now.
Hey, I like Ike and I get Carter. Bay and Jose and Frenchy might actually start hitting, one of these months. I believe the Mets will finish the season in the upper half of the National League, scoring-wise. But you can't win 90 games without three or four reliably effective starting pitchers. Right now the Mets have two, with little real hope for more.