Sunday, May 23, 2010

Manuel To Blame for Bullpen’s Lack of Late-Inning Success

I was very happy to hear that right-handed reliever Ryota Igarashi joined the team yesterday and most likely will be activated today. The Mets could use the help. Calling on closer Francisco Rodriguez last night to complete a five-out-save was an obvious indication that lefty Pedro Feliciano and righty Fernando Nieve are beginning to show wear and tear due to overuse.

Perpetual Pedro has appeared in 26 of the Mets 43 games. Looking at his last four outings, Feliciano’s earned run average has raised considerably from a respectable 1.53 to a serviceable 2.37. Plus, in 19 innings pitched this season he has struck out 16 batters…not bad. On the flipside though, he has walked twelve. If you recall, Feliciano was primarily used as a left-handed specialist brought in to retire one or two left-handed batters and that’s it. This season, he has been asked to start innings and finish them.

Nightly Nieve, believe it or not, has also appeared in 26 games. His 22 innings of work have produced 16 strikeouts to match 16 walks. More alarming though is Fernando’s last five outings in which the right-hander allowed 6 earned runs in just 3 innings pitched. Nieve’s earned run average for the season is currently at 5.32.

In defense of these two late-inning relievers, Jerry Manuel still has not solidified each reliever’s role coming out of the pen. If there’s one thing Manuel should be guilty of it’s how he manages his bullpen.

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