Thursday, August 6, 2015

Eyebrow Raiser

The Mets finished off their sweep of the Marlins like they were supposed to do last night, although I can't say I was really encouraged by the way things finished out. For 8 and a half innings, everything was just fine. Matt Harvey laid the smackdown on Florida, like he's supposed to do, and bucked that annoying trend he'd had of having bad games in the Puke Green Hell Hole. Juan Uribe hit a 3-run Home Run, Cespedes and Duda continued to come up with big hits, and the Mets raced out to an 8-0 lead and everything was just hunky dory.

But then in the bottom of the 9th, everything just went completely haywire, and I find it a little more disturbing than I probably should. Eric O'Flaherty, who was picked up off the scrap heap prior to the game, made his Mets debut and finished out the 8th inning, but then in the 9th, he started getting dinged around a little bit, and then Hansel Robles came in and the Marlins dinged him some more, and then suddenly someone who wasn't Greg Dobbs but may as well have been hit a 3-run double, and 8-0 turned into 8-5 and now Jeurys Familia had to come in the game. And Familia hasn't exactly been his usual lockdown self of late, and Dee Gordon got a hit and this Elmer Cookie Miguel Rojas fellow scored with some Marlin shit-eating grin on his face, and now it's becoming What The Fuck Is Going On Time. It's ceased to be funny because against any other team, the Marlins would have probably done what they do best and just laid down and died. All we needed was Stanton to materialize and clock one off of the Mystery Machine in Center Field to turn this into a full blown catastrophe. Familia did himself no further favors by walking Derek Dietrich, but mercifully Christian Yelich pounded one right to Lucas Duda at 1st to end the game.

This is sort of where not having Jenrry Mejia is biting the Mets in the ass. Bobby Parnell wasn't himself to begin with and now he's struggling. O'Flaherty was brought in because Alex Torres proved himself incapable of providing any kind of positive contribution, but he also seems to be a shell of what he once was. So he's a crapshoot. Tyler Clippard has pitched well but he can't be called upon every night. Robles pitches like a rookie relief pitcher, probably because he's a rookie relief pitcher and for every good outing there will invariably be a stinker. And Familia might be suffering from overuse or underuse or general ennui, but whatever it is, he's got some things to work through. Add this all up and it's enough to temper whatever optimism this now 6-game winning streak has generated, primarily because everyone still has that 2008 Bullpen PTSD, only the Mets haven't contended in such a long time that it's never had a chance to manifest. Well, now it's manifesting. And when your bullpen allows 6 runs in the 9th inning to a team that has no business scoring 6 runs in a game period, it's troubling. I feel troubled even though the Mets won the Damn Game.

This, of course, is just the peril of bullpens in general. Bullpens are generally a horrendous mishmash of ragamuffin dreck thrown together in a stew because relief pitchers aren't quite good enough to be starters, but they're also not quite bad enough to not be Major League quality pitchers. So you just sort of have to hope you catch lightning in a bottle with these relievers and they all pitch well at once. It can happen to anyone, but don't be fooled, because a reliever that has a great year one year will more than likely have a horrible season the next year, because that's what it is to be a relief pitcher. We just have to hope that this is merely an occasional hiccup and not something that's going to snowball.

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