Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Should Dan Warthen Be Held Accountable?

In the business world you have annual reviews. A time where you sit down and find out what you're doing well and what needs improving. You're given specific action items that you need to accomplish and the glaring holes in your performance are shared so that you have opportunity to improve them.

I have no idea how "reviews" work in the baseball world, but I wonder if someone is sitting down with Dan Warthen to talk about how his pitching staff is performing?

Let me start by saying that I'm not the person who blames managers for on field performance...unless your name is Willie Randolph. Dan Warthen has not thrown a single bad pitch this year. His pitchers are responsible for their own actions from game to game. But what Warthen should be held accountable for is the longer term growth or ineptitude of his pitchers. Bad games happen, but what you don't want to see is the same problems occurring over and over and over. A coach should be able to see the issues, bring them to the players attention, and make sure they can work to resolve it.

With that being said there is a glaring mental problem with Mets pitching. They have a habit of imploding in a single inning. The Mets are rarely beaten over the course of 9 innings. They tend to lose due to the fact that single inning accounted for the majority of the runs.

If you look at the Mets record this year, all but 7 losses have come because Mets pitching has given up 3+ runs in a single inning. 54 losses have come because Mets pitching can't get out of an inning and they allow a floodgate of runs to open.

We all know the BLOWpen issues, but this is occurring with starting pitching as well. No Mets starter is innocent of these charges. In fact all of them have given up 3+ runs before the 5th inning in one game or another. So in the first 4 innings of a game the Mets consistently find themselves in a ditch they have to crawl out of.

Why is this such an issue? It has to do with a combination of lack of mental strength and situation awareness. Mets pitching has to realize that it is imperative to stop the bleeding of runs ASAP because of the power shortage that is the Mets lineup. Efforts need to be made to hammer this home especially as the Mets continue to dig themselves deeper and deeper into a sub .500 hole.

Dan Warthen is not fully to blame, but when his "employees" consistently fall into the same trap over and over and over, 54 games worth,  you would think this is a vital area that a pitching coach needs to work on with his staff.

Maybe he is, but whatever he's doing is not working.


Robert Pinto said...

I think you hit on something widely overlooked during these past few years. I'm also not one to blame coaches for the performance of their staff. Managers are a bit different because I think the team will sometimes take on the personality (good or bad) of them. Think about a tempestuous skipper like Ozzie Guillen versus the composure of Davey Johnson. The Nats are benefitting from DJ's calm demeanor while the Marlins aren't buying into Ozzie's style (yet).
Getting back to Warthen, there's just something missing with him. Is it his personality or his philosophy? True, he does have a bunch of head cases on his staff (Bobby Parnell, anyone?). Nevertheless, Warthen hasn't appeared to have gotten through to his guys for them to avoid the pitfalls you detail in your op-ed. I'll go one step further and say what everyone's thinking: why don't these guy throw strikes?!?! How many leadoff walks have been given up? How many innings have we seen where our staff - especially the relief corps - tries so hard to avoid giving up one run that they ultimately give up three. This is more philosophical than psychological to me and that's where I believe an overall good guy like Dan Warthen has failed. Sory to say but it's time to find a new voice and a new approach.

David Marine said...

Thanks for the comment Robert and you absolutely hit the nail on the head about Mets pitchers not throwing strikes. It is a persistent issue for every single person coming out of the bullpen. I'm of the mindset that if the reliever walks the first batter he faces, he should be pulled from the game. It's simply unacceptable.

I think it's obvious that the Mets need a full overhaul of their pitching philosophy and I would assume that starts with Warthen.

Rob Dziadosz said...

I tend to agree, while pitching coaches don't throw the pitches, their job is to have their staff progress, the Mets staff has not progressed (unless you consider an injury progress because they aren't giving up runs anymore). That falls on the pitching coach and bullpen coach in my opinion. If the player regress, I would think it's because they are tuning out the coach or the system (or both)

David Marine said...

Rob Dziadosz - there is no progress with any of the Mets pitchers. Starters or relievers (save for maybe Niese). Excellent point. That blame falls solely on the coaching.

Crazy said...

Here's the thing: The vast majority of baseball games are won by the team that has the biggest single inning. So while your facts are right, blaming them on Warthen is wrong. That said, he sucks.