Results tagged ‘ Jon Niese ’

The Mets Played Spoilers Last Night

It’s not a sentence that’s typed very often, so I’m going to type it again: the Mets played spoilers last night.

Sure, the Braves have already clinched a playoff berth and are trying to top the Nationals in the NL East, but I think Jon Niese wanted to win this one more than the Braves did.

For Niese, it meant ending the season on a high note, finishing with career highs in wins and innings pitched and a career low 3.40 ERA. Niese also struck out a career high 155 batters this season. After last night’s performance, Jon Niese can feel good about the way his season has gone.

For the Mets, it means ending their season on a high note. It means giving their fans something to talk about besides the annual second half collaspe. The Mets have nothing left to play for…except for ruining Chipper’s night.

Emotions were high last night; this weekend marks the beginning of Chipper Jones’ final homestand as an Atlanta Braves player. Yesterday, the Braves had a ceremony paying tribute to Jones’ career and what better opponent than the Mets? Over the course of his career, Jones is someone the Mets and their fans have loved to hate. Why not make one last dig and become the party crashers?

Earlier this month, the Mets paid tribute to Chipper in their own way, by presenting him with a painting of Shea Stadium, a place where he performed so well that he named his son Shea. Of course, fans attending that Sunday’s game were denied one last LARRRRRRRRYYYYYYYYY chant.

This weekend’s trip to Atlanta marks the last chance for the Mets to be spoilers; our final series against the Marlins is only a factor in that it’s not a factor. If the Mets can win two out of three or even sweep Atlanta, they certainly will have ruined the Braves’ divisional chances, after their elimination number fell to two.

Finishing in first has suddenly become more important than it was in the past, and the Mets intend to teach the Braves that lesson the hard way.

 

Looking Ahead: 2012 Pitching

For the past two seasons, Dan Warthen has done well making something out nothing. Pitching has become both our greatest asset and out biggest need. 2011 without Johan Santana was tough; watching Mike Pelfrey pich was tougher.

For 2012, the Mets are expecting Santana to be healthy and ready. Realistically, we can’t expect Santana to be what he was; I would take 80-85% (which is 100% if you’re Carlos Beltran). But Santana at 80% is better than our de facto ace, Mike Pelfrey.

With Santana locked in as our Opening Day starter (barring further injury), we still need rotation spots 2-5.

I would put R.A. Dickey in the two hole. The knuckleballer’s 8-13 record might not be the most accurate stat given his performance in 2011. This season, Dickey pitched 208 2/3 innings and posted a 3.28 ERA, 1.23 WHIP, and 134 K’s. He also ended the season with 14 consectutive quality starts. This is someone I want in my rotation. Dickey is also fun to follow on Twitter. His handle is @RADickey43.

Dillon Gee gets the benefit of the doubt for being a rookie. The first season is always the toughest for pitchers because they get fatigued by September. Despite this, Gee still posted a 13-6 record with a 4.43 ERA,  a 1.38 WHIP, and struck out 114 batters. Gee fits in the middle of the rotation because like Santana and Dickey, Gee still pitches to keep the team in the game. Santana-Dickey-Gee might be the best 1-2-3 punch we have, unless we sign a #2 starter. A improbable possibility would be C.J. Wilson.

We also have Chris Capuano and Jon Niese to consider. When they’re good, they’re good. When they’re bad, it’s not pretty. Capuano has the run support but not the ERA. Niese has the ERA but not the run support.  If the Mets wanted to keep their rotation younger, they would go with Niese, but for the past two seasons, I think Niese has shown himself to be an injury risk. Sure, Capuano had two Tommy John surgeries, but he stayed healthy all season, right? If we don’t sign a free agent, I’d take them both. If we do sign a free agent, then I’d go with Niese, solely based on my bias towards younger players.

Mike Pelfrey is my odd man out. I truly believe that Dan Warthen has done everything he can to help Pelfrey improve his game. But Pelfrey hasn’t done jack squat except for lick his hand, lick the ball, lick the Gatorade cooler in the dugout, etc. We should cut our losses and tell Pelfrey bye-bye.

Like I said, even if a team has pitching, except if you’re the Phillies, you’ll always need pitching. I’m really okay with the rotation we do have. Now the offense has to give Johan, R.A., Dillon, Chris, and Jon some run support. Especially Johan, he’s always been hard for luck with this team.

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