It was deja vu all over again for the Poor Man’s Tom Glavine.
At the tail end of 2009, with the Mets’ pitching staff ravaged by injuries, Misch came up from AAA to admirably fill in a spot at the back end of the rotation – including tossing a complete-game shutout in Game 156.
His strong work down the stretch wasn’t enough to earn him a rotation spot in 2010, however – not with future All-Stars such as John Maine and Oliver Perez on the roster – and so it was back to Buffalo for the soft-tossing lefty.
Fast-forward to September 2010, and once again Pat Misch was promoted to make spot starts in a rotation that was beset by injuries. While Misch didn’t pitch quite as well as he did 12 months previous – nor as regularly – he did pitch about as well as one could expect from a back-end starter.
Misch started 6 games in 2010, going 0-4 with a 4.28 ERA and 1.28 WHIP, striking out 21 and walking only 4 in 33 innings. His best outing came against the Nationals in Game 160, when he allowed 3 hits and one run in 8 innings, striking out 10 in a no-decision. He’s not the most exciting or dominating pitcher, and he doesn’t miss a lot of bats, but he does throw a ton of strikes – his strategy is the currently unfashionable “pitch to contact” (which worked well for a few starters up in Minnesota).
As he did in 2009, manager Jerry Manuel felt compelled to use Pat Misch occasionally as a “matchup” guy out of the bullpen in lefty-lefty situations – despite the fact that Misch has been significantly worse against left-handed batters.
As with last year’s evaluation, it’s hard to believe that Misch’s September performance was enough to earn a guaranteed MLB contract in 2011 – but, again, I think it behooves the Mets to try to re-sign him to a AAA deal. I don’t believe he’ll turn into the next Glavine or Jamie Moyer, but you have to like his strike-throwing ability – which holds more value in a cavernous pitcher’s park such as Citi Field. While he won’t ever win a Cy Young, it’s plausible that he could fill a back-end spot over an extended period and not embarrass himself. The Mets need all the pitching depth they can find, and Misch’s presence in Buffalo won’t stunt the development of any rising prospects.