Among pundits looking for a chink in the Mets armor and pessimistic Mets fans looking to preempt disappointment with cynicism there is a popular assumption dominant the last few days that the Mets could lose both games in LA because Trachsel and Oliver Perez are pitching. Trachsel is simply not expected to get the job done, he couldn’t possibly win the big clincher.
And why? Because Trachsel is not a “winner.” He is a career 134-143 pitcher, whose records as a Met coming into this year were 11-13, 11-11, 16-10, 12-13, 1-4. So, despite the fact that the “win” as a stat for pitchers is the stupidest statistic in baseball, Trachsel just gets no respect. He’s a “.500 pitcher”—-which in New York doesn’t even indicate mediocrity but apparently for many “trashbagness” as one of his unearned abusive nicknames proclaims.
So, despite the fact that as a Met he has had consistently good, significantly above average ERA’s coming into this season (4.46 in 2001, that was much lower the second half of the season after he accepted humbly a trip to the minors to straighten himself out for the good of the team, 3.37 in 2002, 3.78 in 2003, 4.00 in 2004, and 4.14 in 2005) all for extremely modest salary in the age of $11 million/year deals for the likes of A.J Burnett, Trachsel is widely derided and dismissed by Mets fans and Dodger cheerleaders alike.
And then, ironically, this year, this longest tenured, least appreciated, most reliable fixture in the Mets rotation of the last 6 years chalks up a 15 “win” season delivering those precious deceptive W-L numbers that he has been derided for not producing in previous seasons. And what happens? He’s dismissed for his unusually high 4.97 ERA. Suddenly, wins don’t matter but ERA does. So essentially, even when Trachsel “wins”—-he can’t win.
So, tonight, I figure a 4.97 ERA guy on average gives up 3.31 earned runs per 6 innings. If Trachsel has a good performance for him we can expect a solid 3 runs and no more outing tonight. Hand that over to a bullpen that gives up only a run every three innings on rough average (assuming the bullpen’s ERA is around 3, and I presume it’s even lower), we can expect to give up just 4 runs tonight.
And we have the firepower to score more than 4 runs. So, yeah, I’m predicting a Mets win behind Steve Trachsel tonight—regardless of whether he gets the “win” or whether the Mets take the lead only when the great Greg Maddux tires in the 7th. Steve will have still kept us in the game and that’s all pitchers do. They never win games, they keep the other team from winning games and give their offense the chance to score the runs that win the games. That’s what Trachsel will do tonight.