The Rotation After Two Turns
Posted by JD on April 17, 2010
Raise your hand if you thought Oliver Perez would have a better start than Johan Santana.
The Untouchable: Yes, it was his second-worst start as a Met (if you’re anything like me, you’ve obliterated this disaster from your memory), but this Johan Santana we’re talking about. I’m not about to let one bad start knock the rose-colored glasses off my face. He’s still rounding into shape coming off of surgery, so I’ll give him a pass. But it would be nice to see him go more than six innings today, especially coming off of last night’s loss.
Trending Up: Mike Pelfrey had a great start in Colorado, building off his debut against the Nationals (pictured above). No penalty laps around the parking lot this trip: Pelfrey became the first Met starter to pitch into the seventh inning on Thursday. While he did balk, he also struck out six without issuing a single walk. It’s early and I don’t want to get carried away, but there’s a lot to like about Pelfrey’s start so far.
Positive Vibes: Speaking of not getting carried away: Oliver Perez, everyone! He threw 6 and 1/3 shutout innings against the Cardinals before getting lifted (he got tagged with a run thanks to the combined efforts of Fernando Nieve and Raul Valdes). It’s strange to say, but I think he got pulled early. Still, there’s plenty to build on here.
The same could be be said for Jon Niese. He got touched up a bit in his last start, but it was his first appearance in Colorado’s thin air. I’m willing to give him a mulligan, and I’d bet that he rebounds a bit on Monday against the Cubs.
Negative Energy: John Maine absolutely imploded on Tuesday. His line? 8 runs allowed (7 earned) on 7 hits and 3 walks over just three innings (75 pitches, just 47 for strikes). He struck out four, but balanced that by giving up a home run to CF Seth Smith right after allowing an RBI double to starting pitcher Greg Smith.
It’s not looking good for Maine. He’s guaranteed to start against the Cardinals tomorrow night, but all bets are off after that. A poor performance could cost him his spot in the rotation, but who would that spot go to? Internal options include Pat Misch, Tobi Stoner, and Dillon Gee. Misch has major league experience but choosing him would leave Mike Pelfrey as the only righty in the rotation. Gee and Stoner have talent and upside but are completely unproven: would they really be an upgrade over Maine, especially in a rotation that already has so many question marks? External answers include free agents Pedro Martinez or Jarrod Washburn, but neither is ready to start right now, which is what the Mets need the most.
My vote? Call-up Dillon Gee to take Maine’s place in the rotation and Bobby Parnell to take Jenrry Mejia’s spot in the bullpen, add Jenrry Mejia to Binghamton’s rotation, and let Maine take Gee’s spot in Buffalo. The Parnell/Mejia move might seem gratuitous, but Mejia needs to get back to starting as soon as possible. If they don’t do it now, they better do it when Sean Green is ready to play again. But I digress…
What’s Next: Santana (today) and Maine (tomorrow) vs. the Cardinals, and Niese, Pelfrey, and Perez vs. the Cubs on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday at Citi Field.