May 03, 2007

What Pitching Problem?

Jim Baumbach at AM New York, writes about the Mets pitching staff and how they've defied critics:

Entering tonight's game in Arizona, here's where the Mets starters currently stand in comparison to the rest of their league in various categories:

• ERA: 3.40, best in NL
• Opponents' batting average: .228, best in NL
• Total bases allowed: 205, second best in NL
• Wins: 12, tied for second in NL
• WHIP: 1.25, third best in

Maine is 4-0 with a 1.35 ERA, but perhaps his most impressive stat is his 1.05 WHIP. Only the best pitchers in baseball allow about one baserunner per inning; Maine currently is sixth in the National League in that category.That also explains why opposing hitters have an OPS (on-base percentage plus slugging percentage) of only .497 against Maine. Only three NL pitchers have fared better than Maine there: San Francisco's Matt Cain (.411), Los Angeles' Mark Hendrickson (.430) and Atlanta's Tim Hudson (.482).

Perez, meanwhile, has rebounded rather impressively from that awful second start in which he walked seven in 2 2/3 innings. In 26 1/3 innings over his other four starts, he's walked only three. And all of those came in his strong start yesterday against the Marlins in which he struck out 10 in 5 2/3 innings.With the win, Perez improved to 3-2 with a 3.41 ERA and he has now struck out 36 in 29 innings. He's definitely showing some signs of the pitcher who baffled the National League in 2004 when he allowed just 145 hits in 196 innings and struck out 239 – while pitching for a lowly 72-win Pirates team.

The Mets know what Tom Glavine will give them, they have a pretty good idea of what El Duque is going to do (when he's healthy, of course) and anything rookie Mike Pelfrey gives them has to be considered a bonus. But if what Maine and Perez have done so far is a sign of things to come, the Mets certainly seem to paving the way for another dominant regular season.

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