Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Why the Mets Pitching is so Important

I love the long ball. I appreciate a good hit and run. And I jump off my couch like any fan when I see a shot hit to the gap in right center with runners on base. But winning baseball is all about pitching.

The Mets are living proof of this point. It may shock you to hear this, but the Mets last year were a pretty good offensive team statistically. Yes, I didn't believe it either. The Mets in 2009 were actually tied with the Dodgers for the best team batting average in the NL at .270. They also were ranked #2 for average with runners in scoring position.at .276. That means the Mets actually hit better with runners in scoring position.

On top of that the Mets led the league in stolen bases and were one of the top seven teams in runs scored. Now that resume would make you believe that was at least a .500 ball club if not in contention for the division.

But we know that's not the case. Why? Because the Mets pitching is awful.

This year's success is contingent on solid starting pitching. Bullpens will have their problems and I truly believe the K-Rod is a more than adequate closer to sure up the last inning. The 2009 Mets team ERA was 4.45 with an almost league worst WHIP of 1.45.

Any improvement in the starting rotation will yield at least 10 more wins than last season. While many of us, myself included at times, have been focused on improving the lineup's power the real key is improving the Mets' ability to get opponents out.

To me spring training doesn't give us a good sign of what's to come. In the spring pitchers are focused on control, learning new pitches and just getting in shape for the season. We have no idea what to expect from Maine, Pelfrey or Perez, but I'm no longer worried about what we'll get from Bay, Wright or Reyes this year.

If a lineup that included Cora, Pagan, Tatis and Santos for most of 2009 can be in the top portion of batting stats last year, it goes to show that in the National League pitching is all the difference.

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