You figured Matt Harvey would have a rough start here or there as he adjusts to life in the big leagues where unlike Triple A mistakes end up over an outfield fence. But Harvey, who is seen as a bit of a pitching savant, should be able to make the adjustments, if the mixed messages he hears don’t make him crazy.
For some strange reason Dan Warthen and Terry Collins love the breaking ball which is ok unless you forget all pitchers are not alike. Bobby Ojeda on the pre-game show on SNY yesterday seemed to send a cryptic message that Warthen’ approach is not the best for Harvey. Ojeda repeated that manta that Harvey is a power pitcher and he should stay working as a power pitcher and not worry about throwing off speed and breaking pitches so much. Ojeda seemed to hint that the Harvey is a bit of a revelation as a good old fashion hard throwing starting pitcher.
My big concern with Harvey is that Dan Warthen is going to try to make him something he isn’t, a finesse pitcher. It’s the biggest knock on Warthen, he has made this Mets staff into a bunch of nibblers instead of going with a more aggressive approach. When was the last time a Mets pitcher threw up an in on a hitter? That approach is fine if you have a stable of Glavine-Maddox-esque pitchers but the Mets have some very hard throwers who should have better results than they do, especially in the bullpen.
Parnell hits 100 mph on the radar gun and sits at a consistent 95 mph. Josh Edgin hits 95 as does Frank Frank and Manny Acosta.sSo with electric arms such as these why is the Mets bullpen so bad? Could it be the approach taught by Dan Warthen? I think so. The Mets bullpen has a 4.26 BB/9IP rate which is only second to worst to the Cubs who have a close to 5 walks per 9IP rate. Why with a pen of hard throwers do Mets relievers have such a high walk rate, I’d have to say it’s the approach set by Warthen of nibble, nibble, nibble instead of attack, attack, attack.
Pitching is deception trying to keep the batter off balance. I don’t think Warthen’s approach to pitching is effective in doing that. When was the last time we’ve seen a Mets pitcher go up the ladder on a hitter? How many times have you screamed at your TV set when the 7-8-9 batters reach base on a walk on off speed and breaking pitches that miss the outside of the plate when challenging the batter should be the plan?
Terry Collins has been a loyal supporter of Dan Warthen and his teachings but I know I’m not alone wondering how Warthen was kept on staff after the purge of personnel of the Minaya era. With the ineffectiveness of the bullpen and the very valuable arms coming through the Mets farm system, it is paramount of Sandy Alderson to find a pitching coach who not only can relate and help the growth of these young arms but he also needs a pitching coach to change the mindset of many on this staff to pitch aggressively. The approach that is in play now is not working and needs to be eradicated.