Reese Kaplan -- 1 Run More Important Than 9 Others?


Some players draw the ire of the fans upon themselves for what they do.  Others draw fan hostility for what they players sacrificed to obtain them do in contrast.  Then there are others who seemingly generate an unwarranted level of hostility for their performance while others who do worse get barely a whisper of criticism.

I come here not to bury Paul Sewald nor to praise him.  What I do want, however, is a somewhat more moderate evaluation of the man this year.  For the month of August does anyone care to venture a guess how he fared as a member of the NY Mets?  Would it surprise anyone to hear he sported a 1.23 ERA across 6 games encompassing 7.1 IP ?  Not me…I was watching him pitch and watching those games.  He was used in low leverage situations and did quite well when called to take the mound. 

Then September rolled around and things got ugly.  REAL ugly.  First came that multi-pitcher meltdown in which he was charged with 4 earned runs.   Yes, it was a low leverage situation by definition of there having been a 6-run lead at the time but it was also the 9th inning of a game the Mets needed to win.  Some men are up to the mental challenge of big games.  Some are not. 

Let's forget for a moment the first over multiple brain farts by skipper Mickey Callaway that led to lifting Syndergaard after just 78 pitches when his bullpen has been both taxed and awful to bring up a guy in whom most of us have less confidence wielding the bat than Thor -- Todd Frazier.  In a bases loaded pressure situation the ToddFather did what he does best -- absolutely nothing -- and struck out.  He is kind of the batting equivalent of Paul Sewald.  He only contributes positively when it doesn't matter.

In came Sewald who pitched 1/3 of an inning and was charged with 1 run and 1 hit during that stint on a double his the succeeding pitcher allowed to come in to score.  He got the loss (which adds to his record setting pace of 0-14 for his career.  At the time it allowed to the Phillies to go up by the margin of 5-4.  He was put into a high leverage situation and pitched like, well, Paul Sewald.  That he did not execute is on him.  That the manager selected him as the man of the hour in a tied must-win game, that’s squarely on his shoulders.

At age 29 he’s clearly not the pitcher folks hoped he’d be when he dominated the minors to the tune of a career 23-11, 2.35 pace with a 4.5 to 1 strikeout to walk ratio and a WHIP just a tick over 1.00.  He’s not likely going to get any better and clearly has demonstrated he’s not well suited to the pressures of the big leagues.  If he gets dropped from the 40-man roster this winter, no one outside the Sewald family will likely shed a tear. 

My question today, however, is why did Luis Avilan and Justin Wilson and Tyler Bashlor get a free pass when they took over the game to protect a 1 run lead and turned it into a six-run lead? Fair is fair.  Blame the one run Sewald gave up on Sewald…he deserves it.  But the four runs prior to him entering the game and the five runs subsequent to him entering the game had a lot more to do with the loss than did his negative contribution today.  Let’s keep things in perspective.  It was the pitching on the whole (and the bullpen in particular) who let the team down today.

Furthermore, two of the most rightfully villainized members of that kerosene-spraying group of firemen – Edwin Diaz and Jeurys Familia – both pitched an inning and both were excellent.  Diaz struck out two of the three batters he faced and Familia notched 1 K in his inning of work.  If the club is going to have any kind of miracle run in them to the wildcard spot in the playoffs, focus your attention where it matters on these guys and the failure of starter Noah Syndergaard who, for the 2nd time in the past 3 starts, did not look like an All-Star caliber pitcher.  Don’t put it on the 15th man in the bullpen.  Put it on the guy who chooses when to use him as well. 


Mack Ade said...


Thor is going to start, Familia and Diaz are going to pitch goose eggs in the 8th and 9th, and we are going to score 7 runs.

Piece of cake.

Dave Schulps said...

7 runs, yes, but 14 runners left on base. The pitching is obviously not the only problem.

Mack's Mets © 2012