Niese Good Under Pressure?
Over the past seven years, Jon Niese hasn’t become the pitcher we all thought he could be. The main reason is that he’s his own worst enemy. Whenever something went wrong, he would get angry and fall apart. It would lead to big innings. It made me believe he might not be good under pressure.
It turns out I might be wrong. So far this postseason, when things are the most pressure packed, Niese has been good. The issue all along might not have been the pressure but his anger. So far this postseason, he’s already got two big outs.
In Game Two of the NLDS, he came in with a runner in scoring position to face Andre Ethier (Justin Ruggiano pinch hit for him). In that horrendous inning, Niese was the only one who could get the big out to keep the Mets within striking distance. In an inning where everything went wrong, Niese was the one who kept his composure.
In Game Two of the NLCS, he came in during another pressure packed situation. Niese came on for Noah Syndergaard in the sixth inning. Anthony Rizzo stepped up to the plate. Niese struck him out on a full count preserving the 4-1 lead. For the second time in the postseason, Niese came into a pressure situation and came up big:
At least for the playoffs, Niese may be the LOOGY the Mets have sought all year. I give Niese credit for asking for the role. He’s going to be needed with Rizzo and Kyle Schwarber in this series. Rizzo is now only 2-18 with one huge strikeout against him. Schwarber is hitting .143/.213/.268 against lefties.
The Mets need Niese. They need him against lefties. They need him more now that he’s good under pressure.