April 04, 2007

Heilman: The Situational Reliever?

Marty Noble at Mets.com, writes about Aaron Heilman and what seems to be his new role in the Mets bullpen:

If nothing else, Randolph's use of Aaron Heilman in the first two games suggests not a revision of roles, but an adjustment.

In the Mets' victories against the Cardinals on Sunday and Tuesday nights, Heilman was summoned in mid-inning after danger was in place. He entered Sunday's game in the eighth inning with thenbases loaded, one out and with ScottRolen due to bat. The Mets led by four runs at the time.

Heilman thought it was likely he would face fewer batters in 2007, if only because of the changed composition of the bullpen. With two, rather than one, left-handed setup men and sub-sidearm rookie Joe Smith in the bullpen, Randolph is more able to match up -- and perhaps more likely to match up. So unlike last season and 2005, when Heilman made his own trouble, he is more likely this year to inherit that of others.

In both appearances so far this season, sure enough, Heilman has been summoned in mid-inning. Last season, he started an inning in 65 of his 74 appearances and 21 of his final 22.

In two games, Heilman has faced only two batters. He retired Rolen on a hot ground ball that Jose Valentin turned into two outs and, after challenging Pujols with a fastball, he retired him on an innocuous fly ball.

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