The Mets made a bullpen move on Tuesday, sending Hansel Robles down and recalling the left-handed Josh Smoker from Triple-A Las Vegas. The demotion of Robles is a bit surprising since the 26-year-old had been a mainstay in the Mets’ bullpen since the 2015 season, but he’s had a roller-coaster season so far, and seems to have hit a complete roadblock recently.
Robles’s ERA for the year was up to an unsightly 6.23, and backed by a 6.13 FIP. These numbers are mostly due to his last three outings, though, where he had been shellacked for 11 earned runs in 2.2 innings. This tailspin was capped off in Sunday’s blowout loss, where he allowed three runs in a mop-up inning. These struggles came after a very impressive stretch for Robles where he had made 12 consecutive appearances without allowing an earned run.
Robles was also struggling with his control more than he ever had, posting a walks-per-nine rate of 5.40 and a BB% of 13.1%, higher than any marks he’s ever put up. He was missing his spots, throwing a career-low 46% of pitches in the strike zone, and batters were chasing his pitches out of the zone less than they ever had. He was also falling victim to the home run ball quite a bit.
Smoker was demoted earlier this month after posting a 7.88 ERA in 16 innings, though he did have some strong outings, and posted good strikeout numbers as well. Smoker was starting for the Las Vegas 51s and made two starts with decent results. He might take on more of a long relief role this time around.