It's Never Too Late to Find Good Pitching - NBC New York

It's Never Too Late to Find Good Pitching

Another day, another shutout of the Phillies



    It's Never Too Late to Find Good Pitching
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    Only the Mets could combine a four-game winning streak against last year's World Series participants with a realization that the organization really has no idea what it is doing.

    Outside of a small group of people who worked for the Mets, there wasn't a human being who thought that John Maine or Oliver Perez were going to prove to be smart choices for the team's rotation. Two years of injuries and brutally bad body language on the mound make Maine the kind of guy worth the risk of a fifth starter job, nothing more, but the Mets had to count on him for more than that because they had the loathsome lefty known as Perez. 

    It took 16 starts but the message finally got through and the Mets are deservedly being rewarded for finally coming around to a belief in better late than never. Hisanori Takahashi threw six more shutout innings on Wednesday night, the Mets beat the Phillies again and they're back over .500 less than a week after it seemed like the team was destined for nothing but turmoil. 

    See what happens, Mets, when you make smart decisions about important positions on your team? 

    The team seems hellbent on continuing their new role as people who respect good pitching. They need a starter on Saturday in Milwaukee and have mentioned all sorts of people -- Fernando Nieve, Raul Valdes, maybe even Ron Darling comes down from the booth -- but not once has Perez been under consideration. Spots earned and lost based on production is a practice popular in many corners of the baseball world, it's nice to see the guys in Queens giving it a try. 

    Now comes the million dollar question, however. How long can the Mets ride this makeshift bunch? 

    Takahashi's variety of pitches and wildly varying velocities make him a decent bet for continued success. R.A. Dickey, on the other hand, has allowed 19 baserunners in two games but just two runs. It's awfully hard to keep up a 90 percent strand rate over the long haul, which means that the Mets shouldn't pull themselves out of the market for acquiring a pitcher to round out the rotation.

    That pitcher doesn't have to be Cliff Lee or Roy Oswalt, though either one would look good at Citi Field. It could be Pedro Martinez, who wouldn't cost a single prospect, and proved with the Phillies last year that he's still got enough left in the tank to find wins in the National League.

    There are other possibilities, too, and all are worth considering so long as their names aren't Maine or Perez.

    Josh Alper is a writer living in New York City and is a contributor to and in addition to his duties for You can follow him on Twitter.