Mar 31, 2014; New York, NY, USA; New York Mets relief pitcher Scott Rice (56) pitches against the Washington Nationals during the seventh inning of an opening day baseball game at Citi Field. Washington Nationals won 9-7. Mandatory Credit: Anthony Gruppuso-USA TODAY Sports

Scott Rice has struggled badly in 2014


Scott Rice, the only true lefty specialist in the Mets bullpen, has had a dreadful start to his 2014 campaign.

In 2.2 innings spanning five appearances, Rice has posted a 13.50 ERA to go with a WHIP of 3.00. He’s allowed five hits, walked three, and uncorked two wild pitches.

His appearance during Sunday’s blowout loss to the Angels was alarming. Rice entered a game that was already well out of hand and was all over the place.

After the game, manager Terry Collins intimated that Rice’s high workload in 2013 may be negatively impacting him so far in 2014:

The guy pitched in 73 games last year. And a lot of times the next year, when you pitch in that many games for the first time in your life, your arm doesn’t bounce back real fast. It takes a little time. I’ve seen it where, unfortunately, you’ve got to go through it. We’ve got to find the sinker. That’s the pitch that’s missing. He’s always been a guy that will miss down, but when the sinker is working, he gets outs.

Thoughts:

Rice was more than solid in 2013, and his struggles so far this season have come in a very small sample size.

Still, it’s concerning that the only lefty in the bullpen is struggling this badly.

The issue for the Mets, is that they don’t really have any other viable left-handed options should Rice continue to struggle.

Josh Edgin was one of the first cuts during spring training, Adam Kolarek has been so-so in the minors, and Jack Leathersich‘s splits suggest he’d be miscast as a lefty specialist.

If Rice isn’t able to right himself, the Mets may have to go outside the organization for a replacement.

 

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Tags: New York Mets Scott Rice Terry Collins