OK, so it looks like while I was gone, the Mets won some games and lost some games. R.A. Dickey and Johan Santana were awesome, the defense was bad and the bullpen was worse. So… status quo.
Josh Thole should return to the team in time for Friday’s game, which should provide a offensive upgrade over the combination of Mike Nickeas and Rob Johnson. When the Mets aren’t hitting for much power — as they didn’t until last week — guys like Thole with a knack for getting on base help maintain rallies, something that (obviously) becomes far more difficult to do when the lineup is freckled with out machines.
The Mets apparently have been hitting for some power, which is nice. They’ve got 11 home runs in their last seven games after hitting only 25 in their first 44. So that’s good. They don’t have a lot of home-run hitters in their regular lineup (especially if Ike Davis is struggling and/or not in the regular lineup), but it will be good when a few more guys start running into a few more. Since the Mets already get on base pretty well, an uptick in power would give the Mets one of the top offenses in the National League.
Elvin Ramirez will accompany Thole to New York and (presumably) join the team’s beleaguered bullpen. Ramirez has been straight-up dominant in Triple-A to the tune of 19 strikeouts, no earned runs, five hits and one walk in 14 2/3 innings. And calling on him now, given the struggles of the Mets’ bullpen, seems like a no-brainer.
But consider me something of an Elvin Ramirez skeptic, if there are such things: Outside of these last 14 2/3 innings, Ramirez has always walked too many guys at every level. Even in the early part of this season at Double-A, Ramirez walked seven batters in 13 frames. Maybe his improved control this year is something real — perhaps the product of a mechanical adjustment made while rehabbing the surgery that cost him all of 2011. Or maybe it’s something that has just happened over 14 2/3 innings, and… well, there’s a song about 14 2/3 innings.
In an ideal situation, the Mets’ bullpen would be pitching great and the club would have more time to figure out if this improved Ramirez is the real Ramirez. But Mets relievers have a 5.45 ERA and Ramirez had not allowed a run in 14 2/3 Triple-A innings.