Why, it was just last week that the Mets appeared to have no chance of holding a lead ever again. Francisco Rodriguez was struggling. Taylor Buchholz, a bright spot early on, hit the Disabled List. Bobby Parnell had trouble with command, Pedro Beato couldn’t get anyone out, D.J. Carrasco was a starter in Triple-A. And Jason Isringhausen appeared to be wearing down, thanks to overuse.
But what choice did Terry Collins have?
Now, a week later, K-Rod is back to normal. Parnell is throwing his slider effectively, which makes him the team’s best eighth-inning option by far. Carrasco is back, and effective, as his track record suggests he should be. (A 3-4 mile per hour jump in velocity didn’t hurt- thanks once again, minor league pitching coach Ricky Bones!)
Beato, in this scenario, can continue his on-the-job training in less vital spots. Isringhausen can be a weapon deployed more sparingly, and therefore effectively. The returning Tim Byrdak is a perfectly competent lefty specialist. Ideally, Buchholz would return and offer plus innings instead of Manny Acosta Acosta-like innings, but the group is far better than it appeared a short time ago.
That’s the fickle nature of bullpens, of course, so all of this is subject to change. But between the current success of the relievers, and the more stable success of the starting rotation, the bar is a lot lower for the Met offense right now- a good thing, since Justin Turner and Ruben Tejada are returning to earth. Big if, but if the bullpen can stabilize, the return of Ike Davis and David Wright should make this a formidable team.
Alas, we said the same last year about Carlos Beltran and Jason Bay. If you’ve ever seen Waiting for Godot, you know the play doesn’t end with Godot coming off the Disabled List and leading Vladimir and Estragon to the pennant.
Nevertheless, the Mets are plenty entertaining lately, and here’s a chance to win some free tickets to see them, courtesy of the outstanding Subway Squawkers blog.
Also, a reminder: come at 7 PM tonight to the Tappan Free Library to hear a tribute reading for Dana Brand.