It’s already become a bit of a cliché: “If you had told me the Mets would be contending with Seth Lugo and Robert Gsellman in their starting rotation in September, I would have thought you were crazy.” And, hey, fair enough. Lugo, famously drafted in the 34th round by the Mets back in 2011, had a 6.50 ERA in fourteen starts and seven relief appearances in the pitcher’s hell that is Las Vegas this year before joining the Mets. Since then, he’s made nine relief appearances and four starts for the Mets, and he has a 2.38 ERA.
Whether or not that’s sustainable, it sure is an impressive way to begin a major league career. Last night, he threw seven innings against the Nationals, and gave up just one run on six hits. He struck out four, a relatively modest number compared to some of his peers, but he didn’t walk anyone. And that’s been Lugo as a major league pitcher so far, a pitcher with a below-average strikeout rate, better-than-average walk rate, and a knack for limiting home runs.
Of course, last night, the only run Lugo allowed was on a home run, a no-doubter hit by Danny Espinosa in the top of the second inning. That was only the second one that Lugo has allowed in 41.2 innings. And last night, it only tied the game, as Curtis Granderson had hit a sac fly to plate a run in the first inning, the only run the Mets scored after getting runners to second and third base with no outs.
But in the third, after Yoenis Cespedes singled, Granderson hit a no-doubt home run of his own off the face of the second deck in right field to put the Mets back on top. And in the sixth, Jay Bruce—who had inexplicably been thrown out at third base on a single by Lugo to end the bottom of the second—hit a two-run home run of his own to give the Mets some breathing room.
With that lead, Terry Collins took no chances. He turned to Addison Reed in the eighth, and he allowed two singles but no runs against the heart of the Nationals’ order. Jeurys Familia followed him in the ninth, of course, and gave up a two-out double but nothing else in a scoreless inning.
The win left the Mets one game back of the second Wild Card spot in the National League and just two-and-a-half back of the first one.
SB Nation GameThreads
Win Probability Added
Big winners: Curtis Granderson, +23.7% WPA, Seth Lugo, +20.8% WPA, Jay Bruce, +10.6% WPA
Big losers: none
Teh aw3s0mest play: Curtis Granderson hits a two-run home run in the third, +24.0% WPA
Teh sux0rest play: Danny Espinosa hits a solo home run to tie the game in the second, -12.0% WPA
Total pitcher WPA: +23.6% WPA
Total batter WPA: +26.4% WPA
GWRBI!: Curtis Granderson