Mets

Coleman: Still 90 And Counting After Mets’ Bullpen Blows Opening Day

Mets reliever John Lannan reacts as Anthony Rendon of the Nationals rounds third in the 10th inning during Opening Day on March 31, 2014 at Citi Field. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)

Mets reliever John Lannan reacts as Anthony Rendon of the Nationals rounds third in the 10th inning during Opening Day on March 31, 2014 at Citi Field. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)

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By Ed Coleman
» More Columns

Well, it’s still 90 and counting.

And I picked this team to win 84 games. Who am I kidding? Probably myself. But there is no quicker way to sign your death warrant than to have your bullpen blow games. The Mets last season blew 18 save chances and had 31 bullpen losses. And they’re 1 for 1 in both categories thus far this year.

The bottom line is this: if your starter goes 6 2/3 innings, retiring 15 in a row at one point, and you hit three home runs, and you’re at home, you have to win that game. If you’re handed a one-run lead going to the ninth, you have to close out that game. If you don’t, you’re doomed to repeat the same kind of season you’ve been experiencing since 2009.

What does it say when Jose Valverde — a reclamation project — was far and away your best reliever on Opening Day? Valverde faced four batters and struck out three, including the tough Ryan Zimmerman with the bases loaded and the game tied in the seventh. But every situational reliever failed their task in the opener. Carlos Torres took over for starter Dillon Gee and walked Nate McLouth on four pitches to load the bases. Scott Rice came on to face lefty Denard Span and promptly walked him on four pitches to tie the game. Parnell blew the save in the ninth, giving up the game-tying double to Span. Jeurys Familia gave up two hits in the 10th, and after a passed ball by catcher Travis d’Arnaud, yielded a sacrifice fly to Ian Desmond. Lefty John Lannan was summoned to face lefty Adam Laroche and walked him, then gave up a three-run HR to Anthony Rendon.

Bullpen = F.

General manager Sandy Alderson spoke about his 90-win proclamation prior to the game, and started out with a geometry lesson.

Alderson got a little testy when pressed about setting such a high standard for a team that had won just 74 games last season.

And whenever I get confused, I always turn to the captain, David Wright, for a little clarity. So David, what does the 90-win statement mean to you?

It’s one game. It’s one day. But the bullpen bears watching, or close scrutiny. Alderson was asked about his comfort level with his current crop of relievers.

It looks like he may need those options and flexibility.

Here’s hoping that he won’t.

C U soon
Eddie C.

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