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The Daily Stache

Is LaTroy Hawkins The Mets Biggest Surprise in 2013?

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Anthony DiComo, the Mets beat writer for MLB.com, wrote an article on Tuesday night about how LaTroy Hawkins has gone from thinking about retiring at seasons end to preparing to pitch in his 20th big league season next year.

Two months ago, LaTroy Hawkins was convinced he was going to retire at season's end.

“I don't recover like I used to,” he said at the time. “It's just one of those things that you know when it's time.”

But Hawkins' recent rejuvenation has completely changed his mind. He entered Tuesday's play with a 0.75 ERA and zero walks since the All-Star break, recently recording three saves as injured closer Bobby Parnell's primary — albeit reluctant — ninth-inning substitute. No team has scored on Hawkins since July 26.

More important to the 40-year-old veteran of 19 big league seasons is the fact that his wife and 11-year-old daughter have warmed to the idea of extending his career. Much of the reason why Hawkins planned to retire in the first place was to spend more time with “the ladies in my life.”

“Those girls, they tell me what to do,” Hawkins said, laughing. “My daughter, she loves baseball. She told me the other day, 'Dad, you've got gas again.' She didn't like when I was throwing 88-91.

The 2013 Mets season has been one of the more interesting seasons I have seen, maybe ever, in all my years of watching baseball.

What I mean is that for a team that is currently 54-63 and has no shot at making the playoffs what so ever, they have still been fun to watch.

One of the reasons has been the stunning success that LaTroy Hawkins has had coming out of the bullpen for the Mets this season.

Early in the season, Hawkins and the rest of the bullpen was not good at all. But slowly but surely they have become quite reliable and now are a strength of this team, especially since the break.

The man with a career ERA of 4.39 (Numbers that were damaged early in his career because he was a starter early on, making 98 career starts with an ERA of 6.11!) has pitched to a 2.75 ERA this season and as Anthony DiComo points out above, has been great in the second half.

The other good thing is that he loves pitching at Citi Field as he sports a 1.53 ERA this season at the pitcher friendly park. Plus he has shown the ability to get lefties out as they are only hitting .244 against him this season.

His best stretch goes back to June 8th. After giving up 3 runs to the Marlins in one inning of an 11-6 loss on June 2nd he got 6 days off and took full advantage of that time to recuperate.

In the 29 games he has appeared in since, the Mets are 19-10, he has three saves, nine holds and a 2-2 record to go along with a 1.29 ERA in 28 innings. He has walked only five and has a batting average against of .229 as well during that span.

Not too bad for a guy who was thinking of retiring, at the end of the year, earlier in the season.

At the end of the day, LaTroy Hawkins has been one the many pleasant surprises we have seen this season from the Mets.

Sure the record we have says we should not be happy. But, it is stories like the one Hawkins has had this year that puts a silver lining on the dark cloud that is our record.

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– Mets Tickets