Looper has that rare ability to make every appearance in a game an interesting one. He keeps fans on their seats and giving them the most for their dollar routinely. He has a live arm and good stuff, and while he gets the job done and has put up solid stats in his Met career, he his far from a dominator. Not being a dominator is OK though. In reality, there are only a few closers that I would classify as a dominator and they are not easy to come by. As for Looper, he falls into the category right below them will be a desirable commodity should his option not be picked up by the Mets a reliable and rather cost effective closer.
As far as closers go, there has been much debate as to whether they are overrated and what is the best way to use them. I personally think closers are not overrated and are an invaluable part of the bullpen. However, they are just as invaluable as a solid middle reliever. High leverage situations happen in every inning and as far as the bullpen goes, the Mets two, maybe three best relievers are middle relievers so they can work the tough situations and let Looper have the saves which are generally easier spots which are coming into the game with no one on, a lead, and only needing to get three outs.
When Looper is handed that lead with three outs, you know he is going to step up despite making it interesting and unless the Mets can get a Wagner or BJ Ryan, I see no issues with bringing him back in '06. Anyone buying this? I'm not. The fact is, I officially hate Looper. I would never fathom ripping Randolph for using Looper because right now, he is their closer and has not pitched bad enough to be removed in reality. I may not agree with all of his bullpen usage, but let's face it, it is either Looper in the 7th, 8th, or 9th. Give me the skill when we need to get batters out and bail the starters out of jams and let Looper have the none on situations.
However, it is clear that even that is not good enough if the Mets want to move to the next level. Looper needs two runs minimum for anyone to not want to rip their eyes out watching the game. The Mets were in dire need of win and he was handed the lead not once, but twice! He managed to evaporate that lead in both the 9th and 10th innings and Shingo Takatsu did his best to get out of a no out, bases loaded jam. Looper has lefties batting .327 against him with righties hitting .203 against him. His spots should be chosen from here on out because with thin leads and lefties owning a .979 OPS against him, that is recipe for disaster. Finally, can he please strike someone out? Strikeouts do not make a great closer, but it sure does not hurt. For a guy who throws that hard, he is entirely too hittable. Looper has a K/BB of 1.30 and he drove me to edge last night in a deflating loss. His numbers do not look that bad, but you have to look beyond the numbers if Mets plan to compete, they need to upgrade their closer amongst adding offense.
- Toledo has taken game one against the Tides 6-5 behind AAAA player extraordinaire Marcus Thames and his homerun and three RBIs. Angel Pagan had a big game one for the Tides and went 3 for 4 with a run scored, a double, an RBI, and a walk. Anderson Hernandez went 1 for 3, Eric Valent went 1 for 4 with an RBI and a walk, Chris Basak went 2 for 3 with a run scored and a walk, and Joe Hieptas went 1 for 4 with a run scored, a double, and two RBIs. Eric Junge started the game and went 6.1 innings giving up nine hits, four earned runs, one walk, one homer, and struck out seven. Royce Ring threw two shut out innings in relief allowing one hit and striking out two.
- Delmarva beat up on Hagerstown 13-3. Jose Coronado went 2 for 3, Jesus Flores went 1 for 3 with a run scored and a walk, and Russ Triplett went 1 for 3 with a run scored, a triple, and an RBI. Jose Sanchez started the game and went two innings giving up six hits, five runs, two earned runs, and two walks and took the loss. Matt Durkin came in to pitch the next two innings and the good news he only walked one. The bad news is that he gave up five runs, four earned runs, and four hits and the Suns gave up six unearned runs in total.
- New Jersey beat Brooklyn 4-2. Matthew Anderson went 2 for 4 with a double, Daniel Cummins went 2 for 4, and Caleb Stewart went 0 for 2 with a run scored, an RBI, and two walks. Robert Parnell started the game and got the no decision while pitching yet another good game. He went five innings giving up one hit, no earned runs, two walks, and struck out three. Kevin Tomasiewicz took the loss and gave up three earned runs, four hits, one walk, and one homer in one inning pitched.
- Team USA keeps on rolling and beat Puerto Rico 12-6. Lastings Milledge went 2 for 6 with two runs scored, two strikeouts, and his second double on the season. USA improved to 4-0.
Lastings sporting some dreads for Team USA.
Mientkiewicz looked, in Wright's words, "OK, but he's really not a very good looking man."
"He's just not a very good looking person," Wright said. "It can only turn out so great. It doesn't matter what kind of hair cut he has. It isn't going to make him look any better."
SPLIT ERA W L IP H ER HR BB SO BAAWhat is more remarkable about this turnaround to his season is that he has been a notoriously bad finisher the last few years and he has looked great lately and finally brought down his BAA in August to something respectable.
April 5.67 1 3 27 33 17 3 16 17 .308
May 4.58 2 2 35.1 45 18 2 13 14 .317
June 4.66 2 2 29 41 15 2 7 12 .333
July 3.44 2 2 36.2 43 14 1 11 13 .303
August 2.50 3 2 36 37 10 3 2 15 .266
September 2.57 0 1 7 3 2 0 4 6 .130
Pre-All Star 4.94 6 7 102 137 56 7 41 46 .325
Post-All Star 2.61 4 5 69 65 20 4 12 31 .255
"He's a guy, overall, that gives us more assets in that spot," manager Willie Randolph said before last night's game. "Miguel played well for us early in the year, and he can always go out there and grind and claw and do certain things. But he did come here to be backup guy. If Kaz can finish up strong, the way he's swinging right now, it would be nice for us."