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New York Mets Pitching Hex?

The Mets are known for being quite inconsistent, but in the past 10 years, there has been one consistent factor of the Mets that seems to occur every year. The key component of the Mets lack of success in the past 10 years has been one thing. Pitching. The Mets never seem to have the right pitching staff to lead them to the playoffs. In the 2006 season, the Mets were one of the top 10 ten teams in the Major League in runs scored. In 2008, the Mets averaged 6.6 runs a game. In 2010 the Mets have so far averaged 5 runs a game. The Mets made the playoffs in 2006, but their demise was their bullpen. They made the NLCS for the first time since 2000, but they could not advance to the World Series, because their Bullpen was not up to par with the powerful St Louis Cardinals Bats. The series went to a 7th game and even on their home field; the Mets could not hold a late game tie. Aaron Heilman came into the game in the top of the 9th with the game tied at 1 and later gave up the game winning home run which led to the heartbreaking end to the Mets miracle season. Ever since that moment, Aaron Heliman had never recovered in his tenure with the Mets as Heilman was also a key part of the Mets failure to make the playoffs for the next two years. In 2007, the New York Mets had a 7 ½ game lead with 10 games remaining in the season. The Mets bullpen continuously blew saves for their starters as they lost 9 out of the last 10 games of the season. The Mets vowed to return the next season with a vengeance, but the bullpen could not retaliate. The Mets bullpen appeared to be in even worse shape than it was in 2007. In the first half of the season, the Mets bullpen led the league in blown saves, but the team was still in first place in the National League. The Mets would remain in 1st place into September until the Philadelphia Phillies would make it a tight playoff race. By the middle of September, the bullpen had blown 8 games for Johan Santana alone and tied the franchise record for most blown saves in a season with 29. The Mets failed to make the playoffs for the 2nd straight season, and made some drastic changes to their bullpen during the offseason. Aaron Heilman, Scott Schoeinweis, Brian Stokes, Luis Ayala, Duaner Sanchez, and Joe Smith were the pitchers who were released and/or traded because of their lackluster performance through the two previous years. Although the trifecta of Mets Bullpen collapses is highlighted in history, this was not the only Mets pitching disaster ever.

On December 16 2004, The New York Mets made what thought was the biggest signing in their team’s history. They signed Pedro Martinez to a 4 year- 53 million dollar contract. Pedro was previously on the Boston Red Sox who had won the 2004 World Series. In the mind of Omar Minaya and in the minds of the rest of the Mets fans around the country ran the thoughts of a 2005 World Championship. Everybody believed that this would be the coo of coos for the Mets. While Pedro Martinez did have a fairly good season with 15 wins, the Mets failed to make the playoffs. The next year the Mets acquired another big name starter Orlando “El Duque” Hernandez. He was also acquired from a World Series championship team. The 2005 Chicago White Sox. He was also thought to be a danger for opposing teams and the playoff hopes of Mets fans began to become more realistic. While Pedro had a very good start of 5-1 through the middle of May, it would all come to a crash and burst into flames. During a game in Florida, the umpires made Pedro change his undershirt, and on his way down the stairs to the clubhouse, he slipped and fell injuring his hip. He would be out for the rest of the season. But even though their star pitcher is injured, they’ve still got El Duque right? Orlando was the Mets star pitcher along with Tom Glavine as the Mets made the playoffs for the first time since 2001. El Duque was the starter of Game 1 of the NLDS and led the Mets to victory. The next day Orlando was running sprints around the field, and tore a muscle in his calf and was removed from the playoff lineup. The Mets would defeat the Los Angeles Dodgers in the NLDS, but would fall to the St Louis Cardinals in Game 7 of the NLCS. Pedro would return for the Mets in 2008, but was not the same Pedro Martinez. Ever since his injury, Pedro has only won 13 games over 3 seasons and has torn his rotator cuff. Orlando Hernandez has been in the minor leagues since the 2007 season; and since then there have been other pitchers who were destined to save the Mets, but have not been performing to their full potential.

In 2009 after two straight years of September collapses, the Mets decided to make some additions to their bullpen which was the main problem of theirs in the past two years. Mets General Manager Omar Minaya signed two of the league’s best closers. J.J. Putz and Francisco Rodriguez. Since both of these right handers were closers, the pitching coordinator decided to make K-Rod the closer, Putz an 8th inning man; and Billy Wagner who was the previous closer a 7th inning man pending his return from his injury. Putz would last about 3 weeks before he would suffer from a season ending elbow injury. He would not return to the Mets for the 2010 season. Francisco Rodriguez would stay healthy and rack up 35 saves. His 2010 season has not begun so well. Through the first half of the season he has blown 5 saves and has given up 10 home runs. Even though these are fairly good stats, this is not what the Mets wanted to pay 35 million dollars for in 2009. The previous season, K-Rod racked up 62 saves and only 6 blown saves with the Anaheim Angels. So why could he not do the same in 2009 and 2010? It seems that the New York Mets do not know how to keep a pitcher healthy or substantiate. Could this possibly be the curse of Pedro?

1 comment:

  1. I dig it, the curse of Pedro. Pedro is actually a guy I could see causing a curse as well. Really though this needs to be a priority in the organization, clearly it is but we swung and missed again on the FA signings.