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Their Walks Are Off

Jose Reyes isn't the only one with a walking problem. Mets pitchers have it too.

After 48 games last season, Mets pitchers had a 3.38 ERA
After 48 games in 2008, Mets pitchers have a 4.08 ERA

One of the reasons for this: Met pitchers are walking batters at an alarming rate, 4 per game. They are on pace to set franchise records for walks issued, both total, and unintentional. The previous mark was held by the 1999 team, but that squad didn't have the defensive issues that this one did (another subject for another time).

Disregarding intentional walks, because those are strategic in nature, Mets pitchers are on pace to unintentionally walk 608 batters this season. That's a significant increase from earlier in Willie Randolph's tenure.

Unintentional Walks Issued
Previous 3 seasons

2007 530
2006 488
2005 448
>> 2008 Mets on pace for 608 unintentional walks

Now, 608 unintentional walks would be a bad tally by itself, but combine that with this: Mets pitchers are on pace to hit 88 batters with pitches this season. That would break the team record (set in 1968) by 20.

Too many free baserunners create a lot of problems, especially when you're a team that is as deficient in what I'm calling inch-efficency (the ability to make plays decided by minute amounts) as the 2008 Mets.

Besides the obvious game-situation issues, lots of walks mean lots of pitches, which means more fatigue, which means potential struggles as the season wears on. It has also become very painful to watch the likes of Maine, Perez, and Pelfrey struggle to find the strike zone, even more reason for fans to express their impatience towards this team. The problem is not only with the starting rotation. Last season, Aaron Heilman walked 2.1 batters per 9 innings. This season, he's walking 4.8.

So while there's all this talk about Willie Randolph's job security, or lack thereof, that doesn't address this issue in any way. Perhaps Rick Peterson needs to consider a change of approach for his staff, lest he soon be walking off the job unvoluntarily as well.

True Metwalks know...Oliver Perez enters Monday leading the NL with 37 walks. Three Mets have led the NL in walks for a season: Mike Torrez (113, 1983), Ron Darling (114, 1985), and David Cone (82, 1992)

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