The Bridge to K-Rod is Not Structurally Sound
March 10, 2010
Finding a reliable eighth inning guy can be a tenuous process for any ball club. However, in today’s baseball, it is essential that you have someone reliable in this spot. The eighth inning involves extreme mental conditions that only some can handle. It does not produce the same pressure that a closer endures on a game to game basis because there is still that safety net warming up behind you. This point aside, the bridge to the closer does have its inherent pressures just the same.
The top teams usually have someone who is not only talented in this spot, but that same pitcher will also have some major league experience nine times out of ten.
This brings us to the list of candidates that the Mets have fighting for this spot. Of all of these players, none have more than what amounts to one full season of major league experience amongst them. It appears that the Mets have thrown their chips onto the table and are going for broke here.
Of all of the candidates, only Bobby Parnell and Fernando Nieve have any major league experience. Ryota Igarashi has never pitched against major league hitters. Jenrry Mejia, although currently looking extremely dominant, is still just twenty years of age. It is as if the Mets just threw some guys into a basket and decided to see what happens.
There is, however, one guy who I believe could handle this spot at least adequately. That guy is Pedro Feliciano. The Mets believe him to be their seventh inning guy as always, but beggars can not be choosers. Feliciano is the only pitcher on the roster who has actually pitched in the eighth inning, albeit on a fairly limited and intermittent basis. Most importantly, he has experienced prolonged success at the major league level, and he has shown that appearances certainly are not a factor for him thus far.
Unfortunately, I believe that the Mets will keep him in the seventh inning and in only certain situations (against the elite lefty hitters) in the eighth inning. This leaves the bridge to Francisco Rodriguez a shaky one at best.
Hey, you never know. One of the other inexperienced candidates could emerge and do well here. However, I like to play the odds as a gambling man, and these are odds that I would have to walk away from.