When you look at New York Mets starter Jonathon Niese‘s overall numbers it’s easy to see he’s enjoying a fine season. Last night the coin ended up on heads as Niese came out and threw eight fantastic innings of 1-run ball against the Braves to help the Mets fend off a sweep. Sitting at 9-6 with a 3.67 ERA it’s hard to find fault with the 25-year-old lefty’s 2012 campaign, but when he comes out and throws a game like last night, it’s hard not to wonder how high his ceiling truly is and what fans should expect night in and night out.
Photo by Michael G. Baron
With Niese, consistency is something that has escaped him for the better part of his young career. Don’t get me wrong, he’s going to go out there and give you innings (last night marked the 13th straight start he’s tossed at least six frames), but after giving him a 5-year/$25.5 million contract extension the Mets are looking for him to become more than just the next Mike Pelfrey. I’m happy with the progress Niese has made this season, which has been more up than down, but it can be frustrating to watch guys who dominate like he often does go out and struggle so mightily from time to time.
In fact, in his last four outings Niese has given up 6 ER, 1 ER, 4 ER, and 1 ER respectively. Those types of ups and downs have sort of defined the young left-hander’s year.
It’s hard to say what Niese really needs to do to obtain the consistency most young pitchers strive for, but it likely comes down to pitch selection and location because the ‘filthiness’ is there. After the game last night, Niese had the following to say about his season to date.
I might have had a rough game here and there,” Niese explained about his performance this season. “But for the most part I feel like I’ve been working on the things I need to work on and executing when I need to execute. You can’t do it every time, obviously, but for the most part I feel like I’ve been able to do that this year.”