By Mike Steffanos
The Mets are now exactly one game past a third of the way through the season. With 33% of the games and just under 500 innings in the book, I think it's fair to say the staff has debunked the extravagant predictions for their failure in 2007:
|Mets Pitching Staff -- 55 Games|
Only the Padres and A's have a better team ERA than the Mets, while their .223 AVG against is the best in baseball. The 7.3 hits per innings the Mets staff has given up is more than .5 hits per inning better than the second ranked Padres. Let's break it down into starters and relievers:
|Mets Starters vs. Relievers -- 55 Games|
Despite the struggles of Mike Pelfrey and ineffective single starts from Jason Vargas and the departed Chan Ho Park, the Mets starters are averaging over 6 innings per start. Remember, this was supposed to be the Achilles heel that would sink the Mets in 2007. Mets starters are third best statistically in all of baseball in ERA, and second behind Oakland in OPS against.
Here are the individual numbers for the starting pitchers.
|Chan Ho Park||1||4.0||15.75||13.5||9.0||4.5||4.5||.333||.400||.722|
Of the five current Mets starters, all have an ERA under 3.5, and three of them under 3.0. I was fairly optimistic coming into the season, but this exceeds my expectations this far into the season. While I wouldn't expect them all to pitch this well over the final 107 games of 2007, I don't think there will be any collapse. Should any starter falter or get hurt, Philip Humber is pitching well in New Orleans and Mike Pelfrey has been better. Veteran Brian Lawrence also provides insurance for the rotation.
After enduring the struggles with control of key members like Pedro Feliciano, the Mets bullpen has been more than solid:
Wagner has been great -- all that anyone can ask for. The late inning drama has been greatly diminished this year, which makes me very happy. Aaron Heilman has been spotty as the bridge, and the jury is still out on Guillermo Mota, but Joe Smith and Pedro Feliciano have been fabulous.
Joe Smith, who had great success against righties and lefties early on, has come down to earth somewhat against southpaws. The numbers are still very good, however, for a righty specialist:
vs. LHB (31 PA): .280/.400/.400
Pedro Feliciano has overcome control issues in the early going to pick up where he left off last season. For all of the ink that Joe Smith has (rightfully) earned, Feliciano has actually outperformed him:
vs. LHB (33 PA): .087/.313/.087
As bad as Scott Schoeneweis has been, his numbers against lefties are respectable. It's the righties who have killed him:
vs. LHB (37 AB): .133/.297/.133
Aaron Heilman's struggles continue to be related to an inability to repeat his earlier success against lefties.
vs. LHB (39 AB): .242/.316/.424
Omar Minaya and the Mets brain trust took a beating this winter when they insisted that they liked the pitching they already had. Funny how that clamor has died down. This pitching staff has been terrific.