By Mike Steffanos
With apologies to those who feel that I spend too much time on Steve Trachsel in this space, I'm becoming more and more convinced that Trachsel's pitching has become an issue for this team that needs to be addressed. He has a winning record and seems to motivate the offense to score a lot of runs for him -- but I can't help but feel that they score a lot of runs because they know they will need them. Run support and a gaudy 10-5 record are masking the season-long ineffectiveness of the man that is often referred to as the Mets third starter.
Trachsel's ERA for the season is 5.12. Some have written that this is reflective of a poor start. That's not true. Steve's ERA was 4.73 in April, 5.46 in May, 4.30 in June, 6.15 in July and 4.76 in one game in August. In contrast, Orlando Hernandez has pitched to a 4.19 ERA since coming over from Arizona. After struggling with a 4.81 ERA in June, Hernandez had a 3.04 ERA in July -- this despite being bombed out of the Cubs game in the second inning in his first start after the break. He's pitched well in big games. He has age concerns, but if you compare his starts to Trachsel's there is no comparison -- right now, Hernandez would be the clear choice to start the third playoff game, not Trachsel.
Then you have the issue of going deep into games. Steve has made 21 starts this season and has thrown 116 innings. That's an average of just over 5.5 innings per start. Month by month, he averaged 5.3 innings in April, 5.6 in May, 5.9 in June, 5.3 in July and he went 5-2/3 in his first August start. You could argue for a time in June that Trachsel was getting better, but his numbers in both ERA and innings per start have fallen again, and that's not a good sign.
I mentioned yesterday that I felt like I'd like to see John Maine prove that he's a better option for fourth starter than Steve Trachsel. I simply believe that Maine has much better stuff than Trachsel, and if he can grow enough mentally between now and the playoffs -- a big "if", admittedly -- he gives the Mets a far better chance of winning a playoff game.
Please understand, if I've written a lot about Steve Trachsel in this space, it's not because I dislike him or don't root for him as hard as I do for any Met. For the longest time I hoped that he would prove me wrong. I believe there is more to baseball than bare stats, but sometimes numbers do tell a story, and I don't like what they're telling me about Trachsel. If he was really going to turn his season around, he would have done it already. Now he's just a guy that turns a lot of run support into some wins -- but at the expense of draining more out of a bullpen that's already been hurt by Duaner Sanchez' late night cab ride. With due respect to Trachsel, I'd like to see a younger pitcher push him aside. I believe that would pay dividends both this year and down the road.
And the true "idiot of the month" is...
A couple of blogging colleagues weighed in on the Gothamist web site declaring Duaner Sanchez their Idiot of the Month. The post was in truly poor taste and certainly flirted with racism, although that probably wasn't the author's intention. I hope that in the future Tien Mao will wait until the next day to write something after she returns home from a night of heavy drinking.
Mets Grrl (Mets Grrl ):
Yes, Gothamist's sports coverage is puerile at best. But this has got to be the most dumb-ass article I have seen, since the one that complained that Patti Smith hogged the Bowery Ballroom every New Year's Eve, depriving indieflavorbandofthemonth from that venue, and couldn't she just die already?
A Friend of Mr. Glass' (Yankees 2000: Promote the Curse):
... It pains me to write this post because I really like Gothamist as a website, but the idiocy of the author, Tien Mao, is truly staggering here.
In addition to criticizing Duaner for being in a taxi cab so late at night and chastising the Mets for not having a curfew on the nights before off-days, Tien goes on to suggest the following to Duaner's Dominican compadres:
"Note to Jose Reyes and Pedro Martinez: if you have cravings like your fellow Dominican, please don't go on a futile late-night search in a city you don't live in. Thank you."
I'm not sure that this sentence is racist necessarily (as some on the comment board have claimed), but it's certainly in bad taste, and it's unquestionably stupid and unfunny.
Mets Guy in Michigan: The "POLR"
Dave has a funny story about his own "Billy Wagner moment". Stay loose, Dave -- if Wagner continues to struggle your bullpen phone might ring ...
Hot Foot: Matt Lindstrom
Hot Foot passes along some good news about the Mets farmhand.
Metstradamus: It smells like victory...
Metstradamus offers up a new product launch not to be missed.