Not many professional pitchers have the first name Jacob. The Mets have one of them. Jacob Ruckle, whom the Mets drafted in 2004 in the 41st Round, pitched six innings last night for St. Lucie. Though he gave up nine hits, he only gave up one earned run.
An interesting thing about the 21 year old is that he pitches better in away games than in home games. Away, his ERA's 3.02; home, it's 5.23.
And if it weren't for May, Ruckle would have a much better record.
In April he was 1-0 with a 0.82 ERA.
In May he was 1-3 with a 7.36 ERA.
In June he was 2-2 with a 2.86 ERA.
In July he's 0-1 with a 2.70 ERA.
The most interesting statistic is how he performs when runners are on base. With runners on base, his ERA is 7.55. When they're in scoring position (on second or third, or both), his ERA jumps to 15.15. However, when the bases are empty his ERA drops to 0.67. Something seems to happen to him when a runner gets on base.
The challenge for the Mets coaching staff is to get Ruckle to not let baserunners affect his pitching. They might have succeeded last night. In addition to the nine runners who reached base by hitting safely, one reached base on a walk and one on an error. That's 11 baserunners. Yet Ruckle yielded just one earned run.
The game, by the way, was at Vero Beach.