The New York Mets are currently sitting at 8-7 and two games behind first place in the NL East. The team has a good group of young pitchers working their way to become superstar starting pitchers. Once the starters and middle relievers do their jobs, then the Mets reluctantly turn to their closer – Jose Valverde.
Once a prominent closer, Valverde seems to be slipping and struggling on the mound in 2014. He’s pitched in six games so far and has racked up a 6.14 ERA and nine hits in just 7.1 innings. Most of Valverde’s struggles come in non-save situations. On April 16, in a game where the Mets were leading 5-1 in the ninth inning, Valverde gave up back-to-back home runs. Four days before, the Mets were leading 6-3 and Valverde came in to close the game. He gave up a three-run home run to Raul Ibanez.
The Mets need to make a change to their closer sooner rather than later. Opponents are hitting .281 against Valverde. If he continues to give up hits and runs, the Mets will quickly fall out of the division race.
The team has a couple of relief pitchers ready to take over as the closer. Some people have been throwing Kyle Farnsworth‘s name in the hat. While he does have some closer experience, his ERA is too high to be relied on his clutch moments. The other pitcher who deserves a shot is Gonzalez Germen.
On April 15, Germen was called in for relief and pitched three shutout innings, allowing just one hit. In 10.1 innings, German has struck out 10 batters with just one earned run. With a 0.87 ERA and 0.88 opponent batting average, German should be the closer for the Mets. He has great command and works well late in games.