By Mike Steffanos
Sitting just at the one-eighth pole of the season, the Mets pitching hasn't been quite the disaster it was supposed to be. Four of the five starters are pitching well, and the bullpen -- while still a work in progress -- has held it's own in the early going. After 181 innings of work, the staff has put up a gaudy 2.88 ERA. Here are the other relevant numbers for the entire staff:
|Mets Pitching Staff -- 20 Games|
The staff isn't giving up many hits, as reflected in the hits per nine innings and low opposing batting average. The walks have been a problem, reflected in the 100 point spread between AVG and OBP. While it's likely that the hits and opponent's average will go up, the Mets should be able to cut down on that walk total somewhat.
Let's break it down into starters and relievers:
|Mets Starters vs. Relievers -- 20 Games|
The Mets bullpen has had a couple of bad moments in the early going, but how many other teams would love to have numbers like the above from their bullpen? The problem with too many walks given up is shared by the starters and the bullpen. The homerun numbers for the starters is a little high, but 9 of the 14 bombs given up by Mets starters have been served up by Glavine and El Duque, who have been pitching very well otherwise. Maine has given up 2 in 4 games, an improvement from last year, though the Rockies hit a couple to the wall last time out. Oliver Perez has allowed one in 16 innings of work, and the embattled Mike Pelfrey has given up the other two.
Here are the individual numbers for the starting pitchers.
Interesting that John Maine is averaging almost a full walk per 9 innings higher than Oliver Perez. On the other hand, through 4 games opponents are slugging only .247 against Maine. Even more impressive is the stingy .167/.224/.167 (AVG/OBP/SLG) Maine has held right-handed batters to. Oliver Perez has been almost as tough against lefty batters: .176/.222/235 so far.
Here are the individual numbers for the bullpen:
While it's way too small of a sampling to read too much into these numbers, it's obvious that Schoeneweis, Feliciano and Burgos are leading the way in free passes issued.
Pedro Feliciano has been generous to both righties and lefties, walking 4 righties in 20 plate appearances while giving up 3 to southpaws in 16 PA.
Scott Schoeneweis has allowed 6 of his 7 walks to right-handers. The Mets feel he can get out both righties and lefties, but the early returns don't look good:
vs. LHB (11 AB): .182/.250/.182
Ambiorix Burgos has given up 5 of his 7 walks in 2 appearances: 3 in the eventful ninth inning agsint the Rockies in Monday's win, and 2 in that dismal 1/3 of an inning against the Braves in that Friday night game where Hudson was unhittable. In his other 8 appearances he has walked 2 in 10 innings of work. By the way, Burgos' splits show how tough he already is on righties, but how much he needs to improve against lefties.
vs. LHB (20 AB): .300/.417/.550
Joe Smith has dominated right-handers in the early going, and has also fared well in a small sampling against lefties:
vs. LHB (11 AB): .182/.182/.273
The issues at this point are the fifth starter and the early control problems of the bullpen's two southpaws. Still, 20 games in the pitching has been more than solid, and the numbers bear that out.