Friday, April 25, 2014

Random Solutions

Admittedly, I had already made a crack yesterday about the Mets basically running out a "Closer du Jour," basically because the closer for the Mets is whoever in the bullpen happens to be the most reliable. Since Bobby Parnell is lost for the season with the Big Boy Surgery, everyone else in the bullpen has been on the hot seat to find some consistency. But finding the most consistent relief pitcher is a slippery slope. It's probably Kyle Farnsworth at the moment, after a few weeks of it being Jose Valverde. But Valverde melted down in Anaheim and hasn't quite come back from that trip, so the role was handed over to Farnsworth, whom you might have seen starting for the Chicago Cubs in an oft-aired Mets Classic game from 2000 (you know, the game in Japan where Benny Agbayani hit his legendary grand slam). But Farnsworth is older now and can't pitch as often as Terry Collins might like him to. So, other options are bandied about. Gonzalez Germen might be the most likely candidate to close, but then you have games like last Friday when he comes in a 1-0 game and leaves a 5-0 game. Yesterday, Collins decided to throw Daisuke Matsuzaka out there to finish things out, and why not? Matsuzaka responded by retiring the wonderful Cardinals in order to finish off a 4-1 win and a resounding 3-1 series victory.

Matsuzaka makes sense as closer for a few reasons. For one, he throws strikes, for the most part. In Sunday's game, he came in in the 11th inning and managed to strike out 5 in his 3 innings of work. He's slow on the mound, but he at least comes after the hitter instead of pussyfooting around. He's managed to make the adjustment from being a starter to being a reliever admirably well. So, why not? He's as good as anyone else out there to take the role. I know that it will probably take Farnsworth yakking up a couple of Save opportunities for Collins to pull the trigger, and perhaps he'll try someone else like Scott Rice or Carlos Torres first, but perhaps the best solution to this revolving door is right under his nose. 

Of course, once he's exhausted his options, then the Mets can try the innovative Cardinals method of closers and bring up guys like Rafael Montero or Jacob deGrom, starters who likely can't crack the rotation right now. Particularly when you have games like yesterday afternoon's, when Bartolo Colon goes out and throws 7 innings of 1-run baseball, to follow up the other solid outings the starting rotation has put up of late. It's not quite as surprising to see Colon do well, since his career has had a renaissance over the past few years. What I guess is so surprising to everyone is that he continues to perform well in spite of the fact that he looks completely ill-suited to be a Major League pitcher. But this seems to work for him.

It seems somewhat haphazard that these are the kind of players that have been doing it for the Mets in the early going this season. But sometimes, that's what a team needs in order to stay afloat.

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