MIAMI -- Left-handed specialist Tim Byrdak entered Sunday's play with 20 appearances in the Mets' first 33 games, two more than any other pitcher in baseball. He had pitched in six straight games and was on pace for 98 appearances, which would shatter Pedro Feliciano's franchise record of 92 and rank second in Major League history.
Manager Terry Collins attributed Byrdak's frequency of use to his improved ability to prepare for outings, though even Collins acknowledged that "there's probably a limit."
Still, it is tempting for the manager to use his only left-handed reliever on a daily basis. Outside of the grand slam he served up to Todd Helton in Colorado last month, Byrdak has been nearly untouchable, posting a 3.48 ERA and holding left-handed batters to a .143 average.
"He's got nerves of steel," Collins said. "He's done it long enough now that he knows what his role is. There are times when we'll call down and he's already gotten himself ready to face who we think he's going to have to face before the game starts. He knows there's somebody in that lineup who he's going to get out. He prepares himself very, very well."