Kunz Gets the Call

Eddie Kunz kept getting stronger as the Double-A season progressed. After putting together his strongest month yet, he was promoted to the show to help alleviate the worn and injury depleted Mets pitching staff. The big right-hander spoke with Inside Pitch just before his promotion and discussed his feelings of what was to come.

Days before his promotion to the Mets from Double-A Binghamton, 22-year-old closer Eddie Kunz talked about what it would be like to be closing behind Billy Wagner at the end of the 2008 season, if he wasn't traded.

He had no idea that he'd be stepping into the injured Wagner's shoes less than a week later.

"It's crossed my mind a little bit," the 6-foot-5 right-hander said of potentially setting up Wagner. "I've seen a couple nights, everybody watches the Mets, they bounce back and forth with their bullpen. If you look at it, they have a really good bullpen between Smith and Sanchez and all those guys. If I do go up there and set up for Billy Wagner ... setting up for one of the best closers in Major League Baseball would definitely be a highlight for me."

Kunz, called up Sunday to technically replace John Maine's spot on the roster, last pitched for Binghamton Friday against the New Britain Rock Cats., earning the save in the B-Mets' 4-3 win. Kunz, who relies on a mid-90's two-seam sinker and a slider that's become much more effective for him this season, was 1-4 with a 2.79 ERA and 43 strikeouts in 48 1/3 innings at Binghamton. He did not allow an earned run in July.

Kunz was drafted just last June at 42nd overall out of Oregon State. His success, and more so the speed of his success, impressed B-Mets manager Mako Oliveras

"With every outing he is improving, improving, improving," Oliveras said. "We're talking about a kid that's been only two years in the pro's and I'm very pleased with his development ... I think Kunz has got all the makeup, all the ingredients to be a major league closer."

With 25 walks on the season but just two in his last 10 games, Kunz had some control problems earlier in the season, partly because of Binghamton's restrictive cold, spring weather, but more because of some mechanical problems that he ironed out with B-Mets pitching Ricky Bones. Bones has Kunz come to a more balanced position out of the set, instead of rocking back and forth.

"My legs, before I used to be kind of more uptight and straight," Kunz said. "Now they got me more from an athletic position, relaxed, bending my knees a little bit. I'm more in tune, more balanced with myself."

Kunz feels more confident in his slider now, being able to throw it hard when he wants to, and to slow it down when he just needs to get it over.

"We've been able to work in repetitions to try to improve his command," Bones said. "There's still some room for improvement, but he's been able to put in his time to learn and to get better."

Kunz takes a momentary pause behind the mound before pitching, exhaling and clearing his mind. He doesn't like to think of anything but throwing strikes on the mound. He had had heard of the potential trades involving him leading up to the deadline, but said he didn't worry about things he couldn't control.

Now that he is with the Mets, the biggest question surrounding Kunz is how he will be able to handle New York's late-inning pressure. But very few guys have more experience at such a young age. Kunz won two College World Series at Oregon State.

"Pitching in those types of games, where you have 30,000 people watching you, all the pressure on there, it's helped me out a lot in minor league ball, pitching in Brooklyn, pitching in Double-A," he said. "Someday, when I do go to Shea, I think it's going to help me out a lot because I have that experience already."

On the flip side, there are also closers who have trouble pitching in non-save situations. Kunz, who could be used in save situations but could also take a lesser role behind the likes of Smith and Sanchez, said that's not a problem for him either.

"In college I had a real problem with it, but then I developed," he said. "Either way, whether it's tied or a save situation or we're down by five, 10 runs, either way it doesn't matter. I go in with the same mentality."


Amazin Clubhouse Top Stories

\r\n \r\n\r\nDays before his promotion to the Mets from Double-A Binghamton, 22-year-old closer Eddie Kunz talked about what it would be like to be closing behind Billy Wagner at the end of the 2008 season, if he wasn't traded.
\r\n
\r\nHe had no idea that he'd be stepping into the injured Wagner's shoes less than a week later.
\r\n
\r\n\"It's crossed my mind a little bit,\" the 6-foot-5 right-hander said of potentially setting up Wagner. \"I've seen a couple nights, everybody watches the Mets, they bounce back and forth with their bullpen. If you look at it, they have a really good bullpen between Smith and Sanchez and all those guys. If I do go up there and set up for Billy Wagner ... setting up for one of the best closers in Major League Baseball would definitely be a highlight for me.\"
\r\n
\r\nKunz, called up Sunday to technically replace John Maine's spot on the roster, last pitched for Binghamton Friday against the New Britain Rock Cats., earning the save in the B-Mets' 4-3 win. Kunz, who relies on a mid-90's two-seam sinker and a slider that's become much more effective for him this season, was 1-4 with a 2.79 ERA and 43 strikeouts in 48 1/3 innings at Binghamton. He did not allow an earned run in July.
\r\n
\r\nKunz was drafted just last June at 42nd overall out of Oregon State. His success, and more so the speed of his success, impressed B-Mets manager Mako Oliveras
\r\n
\r\n\"With every outing he is improving, improving, improving,\" Oliveras said. \"We're talking about a kid that's been only two years in the pro's and I'm very pleased with his development ... I think Kunz has got all the makeup, all the ingredients to be a major league closer.\"
\r\n
\r\nWith 25 walks on the season but just two in his last 10 games, Kunz had some control problems earlier in the season, partly because of Binghamton's restrictive cold, spring weather, but more because of some mechanical problems that he ironed out with B-Mets pitching Ricky Bones. Bones has Kunz come to a more balanced position out of the set, instead of rocking back and forth.
\r\n
\r\n\"My legs, before I used to be kind of more uptight and straight,\" Kunz said. \r\n\"Now they got me more from an athletic position, relaxed, bending my knees a little bit. I'm more in tune, more balanced with myself.\"
\r\n
\r\nKunz feels more confident in his slider now, being able to throw it hard when he wants to, and to slow it down when he just needs to get it over.
\r\n
\r\n\"We've been able to work in repetitions to try to improve his command,\" Bones said. \"There's still some room for improvement, but he's been able to put in his time to learn and to get better.\"
\r\n
\r\nKunz takes a momentary pause behind the mound before pitching, exhaling and clearing his mind. He doesn't like to think of anything but throwing strikes on the mound. He had had heard of the potential trades involving him leading up to the deadline, but said he didn't worry about things he couldn't control.
\r\n
\r\nNow that he is with the Mets, the biggest question surrounding Kunz is how he will be able to handle New York's late-inning pressure. But very few guys have more experience at such a young age. Kunz won two College World Series at Oregon State.
\r\n
\r\n\"Pitching in those types of games, where you have 30,000 people watching you, all the pressure on there, it's helped me out a lot in minor league ball, pitching in Brooklyn, pitching in Double-A,\" he said. \"Someday, when I do go to Shea, I think it's going to help me out a lot because I have that experience already.\"
\r\n
\r\nOn the flip side, there are also closers who have trouble pitching in non-save situations. Kunz, who could be used in save situations but could also take a lesser role behind the likes of Smith and Sanchez, said that's not a problem for him either.
\r\n
\r\n\"In college I had a real problem with it, but then I developed,\" he said. \"Either way, whether it's tied or a save situation or we're down by five, 10 runs, either way it doesn't matter. I go in with the same mentality.\"
\r\n
\r\n\r\n","mobileBody":" \r\nDays before his promotion to the Mets from Double-A Binghamton, 22-year-old closer Eddie Kunz talked about what it would be like to be closing behind Billy Wagner at the end of the 2008 season, if he wasn't traded.
\r\n
\r\nHe had no idea that he'd be stepping into the injured Wagner's shoes less than a week later.
\r\n
\r\n\"It's crossed my mind a little bit,\" the 6-foot-5 right-hander said of potentially setting up Wagner. \"I've seen a couple nights, everybody watches the Mets, they bounce back and forth with their bullpen. If you look at it, they have a really good bullpen between Smith and Sanchez and all those guys. If I do go up there and set up for Billy Wagner ... setting up for one of the best closers in Major League Baseball would definitely be a highlight for me.\"
\r\n
\r\nKunz, called up Sunday to technically replace John Maine's spot on the roster, last pitched for Binghamton Friday against the New Britain Rock Cats., earning the save in the B-Mets' 4-3 win. Kunz, who relies on a mid-90's two-seam sinker and a slider that's become much more effective for him this season, was 1-4 with a 2.79 ERA and 43 strikeouts in 48 1/3 innings at Binghamton. He did not allow an earned run in July.
\r\n
\r\nKunz was drafted just last June at 42nd overall out of Oregon State. His success, and more so the speed of his success, impressed B-Mets manager Mako Oliveras
\r\n
\r\n\"With every outing he is improving, improving, improving,\" Oliveras said. \"We're talking about a kid that's been only two years in the pro's and I'm very pleased with his development ... I think Kunz has got all the makeup, all the ingredients to be a major league closer.\"
\r\n
\r\nWith 25 walks on the season but just two in his last 10 games, Kunz had some control problems earlier in the season, partly because of Binghamton's restrictive cold, spring weather, but more because of some mechanical problems that he ironed out with B-Mets pitching Ricky Bones. Bones has Kunz come to a more balanced position out of the set, instead of rocking back and forth.
\r\n
\r\n\"My legs, before I used to be kind of more uptight and straight,\" Kunz said. \r\n\"Now they got me more from an athletic position, relaxed, bending my knees a little bit. I'm more in tune, more balanced with myself.\"
\r\n
\r\nKunz feels more confident in his slider now, being able to throw it hard when he wants to, and to slow it down when he just needs to get it over.
\r\n
\r\n\"We've been able to work in repetitions to try to improve his command,\" Bones said. \"There's still some room for improvement, but he's been able to put in his time to learn and to get better.\"
\r\n
\r\nKunz takes a momentary pause behind the mound before pitching, exhaling and clearing his mind. He doesn't like to think of anything but throwing strikes on the mound. He had had heard of the potential trades involving him leading up to the deadline, but said he didn't worry about things he couldn't control.
\r\n
\r\nNow that he is with the Mets, the biggest question surrounding Kunz is how he will be able to handle New York's late-inning pressure. But very few guys have more experience at such a young age. Kunz won two College World Series at Oregon State.
\r\n
\r\n\"Pitching in those types of games, where you have 30,000 people watching you, all the pressure on there, it's helped me out a lot in minor league ball, pitching in Brooklyn, pitching in Double-A,\" he said. \"Someday, when I do go to Shea, I think it's going to help me out a lot because I have that experience already.\"
\r\n
\r\nOn the flip side, there are also closers who have trouble pitching in non-save situations. Kunz, who could be used in save situations but could also take a lesser role behind the likes of Smith and Sanchez, said that's not a problem for him either.
\r\n
\r\n\"In college I had a real problem with it, but then I developed,\" he said. \"Either way, whether it's tied or a save situation or we're down by five, 10 runs, either way it doesn't matter. I go in with the same mentality.\"
\r\n
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