Seeing your pitcher give up walks is no fun.  But neither is constantly pitching behind in the count, forcing your hurlers to come in with a hittable pitch to avoid a walk.  Here I break down how important throwing strikes is by examining the Mets pitchers in Saturday’s game against the Phillies.

Good things happen when you throw strikes.  And nowhere was there a better indication of this adage then in Saturday’s Mets-Phillies game.  Let’s look at how each of the six pitchers did in this game.

Oliver Perez – He did not make it out of the third inning, never a good thing for a starting pitcher.  He threw 77 pitches and only 36 were strikes.  That is a dismal 47 percent strike ratio.  The final line for Perez was 2.1 IP, 5 H, 4 ER, 6 BB, 2 SO.  And the Phillies are a team against which Perez usually does well.  There is no way the Mets can let him take his next scheduled turn.  I think the minors is too drastic but a trip to the bullpen is in order.

Ken Takahashi – The Blue Jays brought Takahashi over from Japan but cut him before the start of the season.  The Mets picked him up and assigned him to Triple-A.  He got the call when the Mets sent down Casey Fossum.  Takahashi pitched 2.2 innings and only needed 38 pitches.  That is because he threw 26 strikes, which works out to a 68 percent strike ratio.  His final line was 2.2 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 1 K.  If this is any indication of the type of pitcher Takahashi is, I definitely want to see more of the 40-year-old rookie.

Pedro Feliciano – With Scott Schoeneweis no longer on the team, Feliciano needs to step up against lefty-heavy teams like the Phillies.  He struck out Ryan Howard but gave up a HR to lefty Raul Ibanez.  Overall, Feliciano threw 15 pitches and 10 were strikes.  He finished with a 67 percent strike ratio.  His final line was 1 IP, 1 H, 1 ER, 0 BB, 1 SO.  Sometimes the lefty batter beats your lefty specialist.  The key here was that there was no one on base when Ibanez unloaded.

Robert Parnell – Another day, another good outing from Parnell.  He threw nine of his 14 pitches for strikes, a 64 percent ratio.  His final line was 1 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 0 SO.  Overall he is allowing some baserunners but is keeping the ball in the park.  Parnell has been fantastic but we are going to have to watch how he fares versus lefties going forward.  Somehow, despite all his pitching so far, he has only 12 ABs versus lefties but they have six hits against him.

J.J. Putz – He hit 94.5 with his fastball, which made his splitter very effective.  Putz threw 17 pitches and 11 of them were strikes, for a 65 percent strike ratio.  He finished with 2 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 SO.  This was the first time this year Putz pitched more than an inning.  The things you can do when you throw strikes and keep your pitch count down.

Sean Green – And here it gets ugly again.  Green threw 21 pitches and only eight went for strikes.  That’s a 38 percent strike ratio.  Green took the loss after he walked in the winning run in the 10th inning.  His final line was 0.2 IP, 1 H, 1 ER, 2 BB, 0 SO.  Jerry Manuel was running out of options but if it is a key spot in the game, we need to see Brian Stokes before we see Green.  Basically, if the game is within two runs, I do not want to see Green on the mound.


The Mets used six pitchers and four of them had a strike percentage over 60 while the other two had rates under 50.  The combined lines for these two groups of pitchers:

Over 60 – 6.2 IP, 3 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 4 SO

Under 50 – 3.0 IP, 6 H, 5 ER, 8 BB, 0 SO

It is not just Perez who needs to throw more strikes.  John Maine and Mike Pelfrey need to go deeper into games and give the bullpen some time off.  For all of his faults, Livan Hernandez can serve as a guide for those two.  Without near the stuff of Maine or Perez, Hernandez still manages to throw strikes.  In his four games, he has thrown 61 percent of his pitches for strikes.