The Mets lost in brutal fashion last night...just as they were up 5 runs in the 8th, and about to put the silver stake in the Nats' vampire heart and kill the sucker, the pen collapsed, reminiscent to me of the Mets' pen collapses in the last decade while trying to fend off Ryan Howard's Phils. 
Jake deGrom was brilliant, but once again unrewarded.
AJ Ramos was a chief culprit, getting a big K for out number 2 in the 8th, but then walking in a run by issuing a four-straight-ball pass to the highly feared Matt Reynolds, who always strikes fear in my heart like having to face Barry Bonds, what do you think?  Or is it like facing Ruben Tejada -  I can never keep these guys straight, you know? 
But hey, if it was me, I'd pitch around Reynolds with the bags full and give him a pass too, wouldn't you? 
We got Ramos last year after moving the reliable Addison Reed on his merry way.  So what has Ramos done for the Mets since that trade? (No, rooming in NYC with Giancarlo Stanton does not count, sorry).
Twelve earned runs in 25.2 IP - not so good.
29 strikeouts in those 25.2 IP - respectable.
NINETEEN walks in those 25.2 IP - utterly disgraceful. 
Although Steve Blass is certainly impressed.
Ramos did somehow save 27 of 30 last year, despite 34 walks and 2 hit batsmen in his 58.2 IP between the Mets and Marlins.  Maybe his off-the-field hobby is tightrope walking.
Sure, Jeurys Familia was brutal last night, too, but he has been excellent before then -  he just decided to have his "Armando Benitez big-game, let's-choke" moment, but I want to keep my focus in this article on Ramos.
ANY reliable reliever cannot walk 41 guys in 65 innings (5.7 per 9 IP), as Ramos has this year and last.
I am not suggesting a drastic move now, but any team that really wants and expects to win can't have a key guy in the pen walking 41 guys in 65 IP.  He is, admittedly, a conundrum, with 99 saves in 119 major league chances. 
But the man's control (never good) seems to clearly be worsening.  Live and die with this guy, and the "die" part may become more commonplace.  If this flammable walk rate persists, more than Rolaids will be needed. 
Are there alternatives?
Tim Peterson, perhaps.  Not yet, but he is entering my radar screen, at least. 
He had one bad outing when called up to Vegas last year.  Take that out of the equation, and he had a stellar 1.14 ERA in AA last year in 55 innings. 
This year, in ugly-for-pitchers Vegas, his has thrown 6 scoreless innings and fanned 14.  So far, so great.
Over those 61 innings, he has walked 13 (just 1.9/9 IP).
If Peterson continues to excel and Ramos continues to give guys free passes (which, as a reliever, is like pouring gas on a fire), some sort of move might be worth considering. 
Maybe not - we don't know how Peterson's stuff would play out in a big league pen, but if he keeps up his incredible pace, he deserves a chance to find out.
Like I said, not yet - but Ramos' proclivity to walking people is hazardous to Mets' winning.
Maybe when Jason Vargas returns, Matt Harvey goes to the pen and Ramos is just used in blow outs.  Darned if I know.  He does have that contract for $9 million running through this season - at his current rate, that could be $100,000 per walk - what a bargain.
Anyway, is it time to put Anthony Swarzak face next to Elsie the Cow's mugshot on a Borden's milk carton?  This very key pen piece has been missing an AWFULLY LONG TIME. 
Will he be back by the All Star break, and if so, will it be All Star Break 2018 or 2019?  In Metsville, you never know. 
Oblique injuries are, oh, bleak.
There are few short injuries in Metsville, it seems. 
David Wright certainly agrees.  He last was cleared for baseball activities just when the War of 1812 was ending, so he understands.  He can still load a musket, at least.


That Adam Smith said...

Ramos, at this point, is the guy I trust least in he pen. Peterson is one option, but The Binghamton bullpen is loaded, and at least a couple of those guys should be capable of skipping Vegas (nothing good comes of pitching in Vegas) and contributing up here by mid-year. How the FO handles this situation - assuming that Ramos and his $9mm contract continues to depress, rather than impress - will say a lot about whether the club has learned from past mistakes, and has learned the meaning of the term “sunk cost”. It’s not in their DNA to value performance over contract status. But we can hope.

Mack Ade said...

I expect things to change when Vargas and Swarzak returns.

Tom Brennan said...

Sewald before Ramos. I like strikes

Reese Kaplan said...

Spoken like a union organizer :)

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