Mets have been Alex Torres as a LOOGY, but he’s not one

By Danny Abriano

When lefty reliever Jerry Blevins was lost three weeks ago with a fractured forearm, my concern was that Terry Collins would turn to Alex Torres as his primary LOOGY. He’s done just that.

While Collins has been turning to Torres to get lefties out, Sean Gilmartin – who should be getting a chance to be the lefty one out guy or lefty specialist (however you want to term it) in Blevins’ absence, has barely been used, appearing in just two games since April 30.

In 2014, Gilmartin held lefties to a triple slash of .201/.219/.235 while allowing no home runs, walking four and striking out 49

Meanwhile, Torres has been good against lefties over the course of his career, but he’s been better against righties, holding them to a .177/.278/.246 line. For his career, Torres has held lefties to a 212/.335/.270 line. However, he struggled mightily against lefties in 2014, allowing them to hit 247/.415/.322.

One of the main problems with Torres is his penchant for issuing walks, and his BB/9 rate currently stands at 5.91, even worse than the 5.50 mark he posted last season.

After a string of very good performances from late-April through early-May, Torres has struggled lately, and his last two performances have been unsightly.

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On Saturday, Torres walked the only two batters he faced, throwing eight of nine pitches for balls. Despite the fact that Torres couldn’t throw strikes on Saturday, and with Gilmartin available, Collins turned to Torres in a dicey situation on Sunday afternoon.

Brought in with a runner on second and one out and with the Mets leading 5-4, Torres walked lefty-hitting Ben Revere on four pitches and fell behind in the count to Freddy Galvis before getting him to fly out. Ahead in the count 1-2 to Chase Utley, Torres hit him to load the bases. Torres then escaped the inning when he induced a hard grounder to first from Ryan Howard.

There are two reasons why Torres shouldn’t have been used on Sunday, and the fact that he escaped the jam he created doesn’t excuse the poor process.

As is noted above, Torres isn’t a LOOGY. Bringing him in to face three lefties and Freddy Galvis made little sense. Second – and just as important – Torres struggled badly on Saturday, resulting in him being lifted in the middle of the inning due to the fact that he simply couldn’t find the plate.

I understand the idea of putting a pitcher right back out there after he struggles, but yesterday was not the time to test Torres’ mettle.

This has been mentioned before, but if Torres is able to get his walks under control, he can be a valuable crossover reliever. However, he’s not a LOOGY, and should not be the pitcher defaulted to in those situations while Sean Gilmartin is on the roster. Perhaps Terry Collins will eventually realize this.