May 15th, 2012
In the NFL, the most popular guy with the fans when a team is struggling is the backup QB. In Major League Baseball, the most popular guy with fans after a closer has a couple of meltdowns is the eighth inning setup guy.
The most popular guy in Queens right now (outside of my dad of course) is Jon Rauch. Rauch is the most popular guy because current New York Met closer Frank Francisco had a couple of big time meltdowns in Miami this past weekend. Francisco now has an 8.56 ERA on the season and is walking an unacceptable 4.6 batters per nine innings.
After Francisco’s meltdowns, Met fans were calling for manager Terry Collins to replace Francisco with Rauch. That might be great in theory, but do they think the results are going to be any different with Rauch in the ninth?
Rauch only strikes out 4.1 batters per nine and is more of a pitch to contact type pitcher. Those type of relievers usually have their fare share of meltdowns at some point. Rauch is hot now, but the law of averages isn’t on his side. Rauch’s xFIP, which is usually a great indicator of a pitcher’s future ERA is 4.43. Coincidentally, Francisco’s xFIP is 4.42. The odds are Francisco is going to get better throughout the year, while Rauch is due to get worse.
If that scenario plays out, then the Mets will be at the same spot they are now two months from now — trying to figure out who their closer is.
*Please note stats were accumulated prior to last night’s game
You can follow The Baseball Index on Twitter @ baseballindex