Miami’s Bullpen Continues to Struggle in Late Innings; Mets Surging

Apr 26, 2014

Over the last eleven games, New York pitchers have garnered an impressive 1.81 ERA (14 earned runs in 69 2/3-innings pitched), and I expect that success to continue with right-hander Jenrry Mejia toeing the rubber. Mejia has always possessed an elite skill set, but he has been riddled with injuries throughout his career.

Mejia’s Minor League Career Numbers:

  • 20-17 with a 2.87 ERA and 1.21 WHIP in 398 innings pitched
  • 352/161 K/BB ratio; 8.9 K/9; .222 batting average against

Mejia flashed his elite skills during spring training where he posted a 2.70 ERA and 1.35 WHIP in 13.1 innings of work (13/6 K/BB rate). That success has carried over to the regular season where Mejia is a perfect 3-0 with a 1.99 ERA and 1.32 WHIP (25 Ks in 22.7 IP). Mejia should improve upon those numbers against an anemic Miami offense that is batting a woeful .219 with a .286 on base percentage on the road (2.5 runs per game), .235 with a .299 on base percentage versus division opponents (3.2 runs per game) and .240 with a .313 on base percentage over the last seven contests (3.9 runs per game).

I also like the fact that Mejia is supported by an underrated New York bullpen that owns a 3.59 ERA and 1.30 WHIP at night and a 1.99 ERA and 1.28 WHIP over the last seven games. In contrast, Miami enters tonight’s game with a struggling bullpen that owns a 7.09 ERA and 1.80 WHIP on the road and a 7.12 ERA and 1.77 WHIP versus division opponents. New York rallied to score two runs in the ninth inning last night against Miami closer Steve Cishek, which ended his team record of 33 consecutive saves. From the seventh inning on, the Marlins’ team ERA is 4.45, which ranks 12th in the 15-team National league. Miami relievers have also allowed nine home runs in the late stages, which is the fourth most in the National league.

In situations considered late and close, the Marlins have given up six home runs. According to STATS Pass, late and close is defined as innings seventh or later, and the batting team being ahead by one run, tied or with the tying run on base, at bat or on deck. In such situations, only the Phillies and Pirates — each with seven — are ahead of Miami. Miami relievers have also struggled with inherited runners – nine being allowed to score – which is the third most in the National League (only the Cubs and Diamondbacks have allowed more inherited runners to score).

The good news for New York investors in the fact that Miami starter Kevin Slowey opened the season as a long reliever and will be on a strict pitch count tonight. From a technical standpoint, Miami is a money-burning 34-77 (-28.2 units) on the road following a loss, 44-83 (-25.4 units) versus right-handed starters and 9-34 (-24.0 units) in the road after allowing four runs or less in three consecutive games. Take New York and invest with confidence.