Tag Archives: nlcs

Can Mets Pitch Like 2006

12 Mar

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By Jim Walters

Entering the 2010 season, besides issues of health, the biggest concern for the New York Mets is their pitching staff.

Many baseball analysts already declared this as a major problem for New York, questioning what they can get out of the starting rotation. While Johan Santana is expected to have a strong year, although he is overcoming elbow surgery, the rest of the rotation is a mixed bag of question marks.

Back in 2006, New York ran away with the National League Eastern division, winning 97 games. They did it with a high-powered offense but the pitching wasn’t very solid.

Tom Glavine led the way that year, going 15-7, finally earning his contract. Steve Trachsel will always be remembered for his embarrassing performance in October, but he did go 15-8 as the Mets number two starter, pitching to a high era of 4.97.  Pedro Martinez went 9-8, Orlando Hernandez went 9-7 and John Maine was 6-5. Not very impressive.

The reason why this team was so successful, besides their high-powered offense, was their great bullpen.  Billy Wagner had a superb year with 40 saves, pitching to a record of 3-2.  Duaner Sanchez, 5-2, and Pedro Feliciano, 7-2, carried the Mets bullpen and kept games close for the offense. Darren Oliver, 4-1, stepped in many games that year when the starters failed. The bullpen also included Aaron Heilman, 4-5, and Chad Bradford, 4-2.

While the rotation was shaky, the bullpen was phenomenal. Yet as good as it was, it was certainly overworked, pitching 150 more innings in 2006 than it did in 2005. This workload hurt New York in the NLCS as the bullpen showed its wear and tear from a starting rotation that could not go deep into games.

It also didn’t help that in the closing weeks of the season, Martinez and Hernandez went down. Maine and Oliver Perez were asked to fill the void and they did, but it only added stress on to the pen.

Going into 2010, Santana needs to have a big year. The question that follows is this: can any other pitcher get to double-digits in wins? With a bullpen that has its own questions, the only promise that the Mets can give their fans going into the season is that this isn’t going to be easy.

What Could’ve Been

11 Mar

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By Jim Walters

Take yourself back to that fateful Thursday October night in 2006 when Flushing was the center of the baseball world. Shea Stadium was filled to capacity and the New York Mets and St. Louis Cardinals battled in the seventh and final game of the National League Championship Series.

We know about the Endy Chavez catch, the Yadier Molina home run and the Carlos Beltran strike out. We even remember Willie Randolph tapping Cliff Floyd to pinch hit and not sacrifice as well as the strong performance of an unknown starter named Oliver Perez.

What we sometimes forget is what happened in the bottom of the sixth inning when all the momentum in the world favored the home team after Chavez’ amazing catch. New York loaded the bases with the help of a Scott Rolen error, giving Jose Valentin the opportunity to come to the plate with the bases loaded and one out.

What would’ve happened to this franchise if Valentin drove in that run or if Chavez, who followed, was able to get a two-out hit. The Mets could’ve went on to win the World Series and maybe all of the September collapses that followed could’ve been different. We will never know.

On the day we heard Jose Reyes would be away from the game for as many as eight weeks, adding further panic to a beaten fan base that is still shell shocked from a snake-bitten 2009, I find myself thinking back to that October night when 55,000 fans believed there was no way that the Mets weren’t on their way to the World Series.

The Mets were on top of the world following the catch and the go ahead run was only 90 feet away with Valentin at the plate.

It’s been all down hill ever since.