Every Game Counts
In the first 25 games, we have all seen a division that is probably going to be a dog fight the entire season. The NL East crown could conceivably be had with 86 to 88 wins. I see a division that is as evenly matched as there is from top to bottom. The Marlins entered into Sunday's action with a 2.28 ERA and they will eventually hit a bad stretch and they will come back down to Earth and fall back into the division. When all is said and done, this division will be won in the last two weeks of September.
That brings Willie and Omar to their quandary. The Mets cannot afford to not put their best foot forward day after day. There is going to be a small margin for error for any team in the NL East. That means making some tough decisions with Ishii and Benson making their way back to the rotation. Heading into the season, with Trachsel, Zambrano, Benson, Glavine, and Martinez, the Mets seemingly had one of the best and deepest rotations in the National League. A few injuries and a head case later, things are not looking quite as rosy as they did heading into the season.
Tom Glavine and Victor Zambrano's combined numbers:
GS W L IP H HR K/9 BB/9 K/BB WHIP ERAAdd in Kaz Ishii and see what we get:
10 2 6 53.1 68 6 6.75 5.57 1.21 1.89 5.74
GS W L IP H HR K/9 BB/9 K/BB WHIP ERANow lets add in all starting pitchers not named Pedro Martinez:
13 2 8 72 78 8 6.75 5.75 1.17 1.72 5.50
GS W L IP H HR K/9 BB/9 K/BB WHIP ERA
20 5 11 114 113 14 6.55 4.50 1.46 1.49 5.05
Not pretty. What's clear to me right now is that the Mets looked deep heading into the season and now are looking like they just have a stockpile of end of the rotation starters that are completely inconsistent. Victor Zambrano has hit rock bottom with his absolute inability to find the plate with his 5.81 BB/9 and his newfound lost ability to miss bats which made him such an attractive target for the Mets to acquire. The Mets were well aware of his control issues, but he has seemingly regressed.
What to do with Victor is another issue in itself. At this point, it makes no sense to run him out game after game so he can get shelled and not keep the Mets in the game. The Mets basically have two options. Send him to the bullpen or send him to the minors to work on his starting game or work on being a bullpen arm. Such a public admission of failure with the Victor Zambrano project would be a media disaster, but the fact is, it was not Omar's move. Omar took this team over and has to work what he's given and win ballgames. As of now, Victor Zambrano will not be one of the best five pitchers the Mets have once everyone comes back healthy. Zambrano will have about three more starts to show some life before his job will officially be in jeopardy.
In 2001, Steve Trachsel was sent down to the minors after hitting rock bottom himself. Looking quite useless with a 1-6 record and a 8.24 ERA, he clearly needed some work. While there, he pitched a no hitter for the Tides, regained some confidence and some feel on how to pitch. He finished out the year on a solid note and since 2001, he is 39 - 34 with a 3.73 ERA. Would it work for Zambrano? Who knows, but it sure cannot hurt. The Mets had less invested in Trachsel and he was a free agent signing as opposed to Zambrano who has come here under different circumstances. Will the Mets do what needs to be done? The hardest thing about making a mistake is admitting you made one. The Mets public admission that it was a mistake would be demoting Zambrano to the pen or to minors, but that might be best for Zambrano at this point instead of sending him to the wolves every five days while he just does not have what it takes to get the job done right now. Luckily, or unluckily for him, he will get a few more chances to prove himself, but when Ishii and Benson come back, Zambrano should be the odd man out. If Heilman gives another couple of solild starts, Omar needs to make the difficult decision.
And can everyone finally stop saying Cashman has any skill as a GM? They have a bullpen that costs more than the entire Brewer and Devil Ray team and yet, they need relief help. What a joke the Yankees are so this year.