Thursday, March 25, 2004
Tyler Yates reminded Mets brass yesterday that this is more than a three horse race for the fifth starter job. While Grant Roberts imploded on the mound two nights ago against the Expos trying to "bump it up," Yates has no need to bump anything, throwing mid 90's heat with ease. Yates made quick work of an imposing Astros line-up, blanking them through five innings while scattering three hits, striking out three and walking none. Oh, and he beaned one batter for good measure. After the impressive display Art Howe said, "He just goes out and pounds the strike zone and he's not intimidated by Major League hitters. We knew he had a good arm but he's been very mature out there. He's got a good grasp of what he's trying to do." Of all the pitchers fighting for the last starting job on the Mets rotation, Yates as been as impressive or more so, posting a virtually unhittable ERA of 0.64 in 14 innings. The Hot Corner has made no secrete that Yates is my pick to get the fifth starter job. I don't have any fancy stats or complex theories backing him up but I just think a young, big, imposing, hard throwing right hander in the rotation brings a certain level of excitement. When you are parading out a staff of 1-4 pitchers lucky to brake 90 mph on the radar gun, it's a nice change of pace to send a fireballer out there every fifth day. And let's face it, this is no Rick "Wild Thing" Vaughn who can't get his heat over the plate - the guy throws strikes. With Cameron patrolling center and Shea Stadium's ability to blow potential home runs back to the field, it almost seems like a perfect fit. Give Erickson his walking papers, send Heilman to AAA to figure himself out or trade him, put Roberts in the pen and let Yates and Roberts carry their battle for the last spot in the rotation into the season. Done, done and done.