After the thrilling win last night that saw Jordany Valdespin take Jonathan Papelbon deep in the ninth, the Mets once again have the upper hand against the Phillies as they move into game two of this series. Despite the injury to Josh Thole in the bottom of the eighth, the mood is very positive in the clubhouse moving into today’s match-up against Joe Blanton. He’s coming off his first shutout since 2007, but his name doesn’t make me shiver like Roy Halladay did last night or Cliff Lee will tomorrow night. So, who are we sending to the mound to clinch another series victory against the Phils? Yup, our favorite pitcher: Miguel Batista.
The 41-year-old impressed in 2011 during his nine appearances with the team, compiling a 2-0 record, 2.64 ERA, and 1.17 WHIP, but 2012 has been a whole different story. Batista hasn’t been able to put consecutive effective appearances together this season, and got a
spot start against the Giants, a start in which he looked terrible, walking everyone and their mother. In 13 innings this year, he’s 0-1 with a 6.92 ERA, a horrendous 2.23 WHIP, and a BB/9 ratio (9.0) that would even make Oliver Perez giggle a little bit.
Once the Chris Schwinden experiment was finished after two poor starts, Terry Collins is turning to Batista to take Mike Pelfrey‘s spot in the rotation for the time being, in an effort to stabilize the back end of the rotation. Mets fans have already lost patience with Batista and his partner in crime, Manny Acosta. So, it’s important for Batista to put together a quality start tonight for the Amazins. He knows he won’t be in the rotation very long; Chris Young just started his trek through the minor leagues, hoping to be ready for Major League competition by the beginning of June. He’s a placeholder until Young has built up his arm strength to make his official return to the Mets.
If Batista wants to keep his job, he needs to find some of that magic last year he had with the Mets and the Cardinals. Sandy Alderson wanted to fix one of the worst bullpens in the Majors over this past winter. Outside of newcomers Frank Francisco and Ramon Ramirez, Acosta and Batista have been the biggest disappointments, as they’re supposed to serve as the bridge to Parnell, Rauch, and Francisco.
So, in the view of the fans, this is your last chance, Miguel. We all want and need you to be productive in your new role before Chris Young returns. After so much bad luck with injuries of late, maybe the Baseball Gods will be kind enough to smile down on Mr. Batista for at least the next month.