Written By Kenneth Teape (@teapester725)
The New York Mets started the 2014 season with the same problem they ended 2013 with; a leaky bullpen.
The Mets bullpen blew the lead they had built behind starting pitcher Dillon Gee, and then imploded again in the 10th inning. Gee deserved a better outcome than he received on opening day, as he retired 15 straight Washington Nationals after allowing a two-run homer to Adam LaRoche.
The first pitcher to really struggle was Bobby Parnell. Parnell blew the save in the ninth inning, as Denard Span roped a double and knocked in Ian Desmond. Parnell would surrender two hits, one walk in his inning of work.
The worst news for Parnell and the Mets came after the game, when it was announced that Parnell has a partially torn ligament in his elbow. Parnell complained of forearm tightness after the game, and tests revealed the tear. He received a platelet-rich plasma injection in his elbow and will be sidelined for about two-weeks before getting re-evaluated. The re-evaluation is where it will be determined if Parnell needs to undergo surgery or not.
The 10th inning was rough for the Mets as well, as Jeurys Familia and John Lannan further exasperated the problems, giving up four runs. The big blow came off the bat of Anthony Rendon, who hit a three-run homerun to put the Nationals up four. Rendon had a big day at the plate for
finishing the game 2-5 with four RBI.
There was one saving grace for the Mets’ bullpen in the form of Jose Valverde. Valverde has struggled more than he has succeeded the past two seasons with the Detroit Tigers, but for at least one day he shined for the Mets.
Carlos Torres and Scott Rice were brought on to get one out to finish the seventh, and both ended up walking each batter they faced. Valverde was able to come in and hold things down, finishing the seventh and then the eighth inning without any blemishes, striking out three Washington Nationals in the process.
Valverde will presumably be given the first opportunity to close with Parnell being sidelined. Kyle Farnsworth was called up from Triple-A Las Vegas to replace Parnell on the roster. Farnsworth will step right into a prominent role, as the Mets showed the bullpen will again be a weakness this season. Another option in the minors for the Mets to call-up is hard throwing righty Vic Black. Black was acquired from the Pittsburgh Pirates in the Marlon Byrd trade last season, but struggled this spring and was sent to the minors to start the season.