Lost among the discussions of how bad the Mets have been—and yes, the results have not been great, mostly due to the inability to score runs—has been the fact that the pitching has indeed improved of late.
Steven Matz and Zack Wheeler especially have taken steps forward. Matz had his second good start in a row this week. He wasn’t quite as effective as he was at Citi Field against the Rockies in his previous start, but he was able to limit the damage and work out of trouble against the Phillies, only allowing a solo home run to Odubel Herrera.
Zack Wheeler had his best start since his first start against the Marlins fresh up from Triple-A. He threw six inning, surrendering just one run on four hits and walking three while striking out seven. If Matz and Wheeler can continue to be effective, that is a huge boost to the starting rotation.
Jason Vargas, however, continues to be ineffective. He was slightly less bad in his most recent start on Tuesday, giving up four runs in four innings, but that’s not saying much. Given that the Mets have the benefit of multiple off days this week, they will skip his start this turn through the rotation in hopes he can work things out.
Due to yesterday’s rainout, Noah Syndergaard did not pitch this week. Because he warmed up before the game was finally postponed, he will pitch the first game of the Blue Jays series tomorrow.
After the decision was finally made by the Mets to place Jacob deGrom on the 10-day disabled list and have him skip a start, P.J. Conlon was promoted to start on Monday in deGrom’s stead. While his overall stat line looks pretty mediocre, he threw the ball well in his major league debut, to the delight of his family members in the stands. Conlon breezed through the order the first time around, retiring seven of his first eight batters. Things fell apart for Conlon somewhat the second time through the order and he exited after 3 2⁄3 innings, allowing three runs in total. Conlon was optioned to Triple-A Las Vegas after his start and replaced on the roster with Corey Oswalt, who did not make an appearance this week.
Jacob deGrom returned from the disabled list yesterday and lasted just one inning, throwing 45 pitches to make it through the inning after he surrendered three walks in a row. But he ended up escaping unscathed and out of an abundance of caution, Mickey Callaway decided not to push him further in his return from the DL. If anything else, he gets an “incomplete” for the week.
Due to the early exit from deGrom, the short outing from the rookie P.J. Conlon, and Jason Vargas’ continued ineffectiveness, the bullpen—particularly the multi-inning guys—has had to shoulder a heavy workload this week. Robert Gsellman has thrown 7 2⁄3 innings—more than any of the starting pitchers—and has pitched fantastically this week, to the tune of a 1.17 ERA and 0.78 WHIP over that span. He threw three scoreless innings in relief of deGrom in yesterday’s game and two scoreless innings in relief of Zack Wheeler in Wednesday’s extra-inning loss. He gave up a solo home run in the eighth inning to Scooter Gennett in Monday’s win, but the official scorer granted him the win for his 2 2⁄3 innings of relief of P.J. Conlon, who did not last long enough to earn the victory.
Paul Sewald, who seems to have gone from the forgotten man to one of the workhorses of the pen, has pitched in four games this week—the most on the staff. His results this week were a mixed bag with two good appearances and two bad ones. He allowed two runs in 1 2⁄3 innings in Monday’s win agains the Reds. He then bounced back and threw 1 1⁄3 hitless innings the very next day and followed that up with another scoreless inning of work on Friday night with two strikeouts. His appearance in yesterday’s game started strong, but ended poorly when he was left in to face the lefty Nick Williams, who tagged him for a three-run homer.
Seth Lugo had himself another strong week, throwing three scoreless innings of relief and surrendering just one hit and not walking a single batter while striking out four over his three appearances.
The only member of the bullpen to have a truly bad week was Hansel Robles, who gave up three hits, two runs (on a two-run homer by Scooter Gennett), and a walk while retiring just one batter in his appearance against the Reds on Tuesday before injuring his knee and leaving the game. He has been placed on the 10-day disabled list.
Jerry Blevins faced just one batter this week—also in Tuesday’s game—and got the job done, retiring Joey Votto with a man on and no one out before being removed for Robles. Blevins was warm and ready to face Nick Williams in yesterday’s game, but Mickey Callaway chose to stick with Sewald and Blevins seemed none to pleased with the decision. He is due to go on the paternity list any day now for the birth of his child. Buddy Baumann is waiting in the wings to replace him on the roster temporarily.
A.J. Ramos and Jeurys Familia both had mixed results this week. A.J. Ramos was tagged with the loss on Wednesday when he gave up a walk-off solo home run to Adam Duvall in the tenth inning. The rest of his week went more smoothly, as he earned the win in Friday night’s game for his scoreless inning of work in the eighth and also pitched a scoreless inning in yesterday’s game. He struck out one batter in each of the latter two appearances and didn’t walk a batter of his three total innings of work.
Jeurys Familia’s week played out in the opposite direction, starting on a high note and ending on a low note. Familia followed Ramos on Friday, earning the save with a scoreless ninth. He also earned the save in Monday’s victory. However, he allowed a solo home run in the eighth inning of yesterday’s game to Carlos Santana. Overall, he collected four strikeouts and walked one over his three innings of work.