If you haven’t been paying close attention to the Mets this week, you may find yourself glancing at the names on this table and saying, “Who?” The Mets’ pitching staff has had quite the rotating cast of characters this week, with eight games having been played in the past seven days and injuries to Noah Syndergaard and briefly Steven Matz forcing the Mets to cobble together a starting rotation. However, cobbled together as it was, the starting rotation had quite a good week this week. The problem is that the bullpen did not and it certainly didn’t help that the back end of it was comprised of a lot of players that simply shouldn’t be on a major league roster.
It’s getting to the point where Jacob deGrom really does need his own symbol because he truly in a league of his own. He went seven innings in both of his two starts this week, giving up just one run in each of them. He struck out eight on Monday and tied his season best with thirteen strikeouts on Saturday. And, of course, the Mets lost both games he pitched. His 1.49 ERA on the year leads the league and he leads all of baseball in bWAR for pitchers with 3.6.
Quietly, Steven Matz continues to improve and is looking a lot like the #3 the Mets needed him to be lately. His start on Tuesday was cut short by some finger discomfort, but he had given up just one hit in the three innings he pitched prior to exiting the game. Lucky for the Mets, he was able to make his start yesterday and was excellent, giving up just two runs in seven innings, neither of which were the result of bad pitching. He was, however, the victim of his own inattentiveness, allowing Javier Baez to steal home.
Zack Wheeler, too, has improved and put together exactly the type of start the Mets would like to see out of him on Friday night. He took a scoreless game into the seventh before giving up back-to-back hits and leaving the game with his team in the lead. Both of those runners would go on to score and the Mets would go on to lose the game due to yet another bullpen implosion, but Wheeler did his job.
One of the two games the Mets won this week was the game Jason Vargas pitched. Vargas put forth probably his most impressive effort of the season, throwing five scoreless innings against the Braves on three days rest, forced into early service by the injury to Noah Syndergaard. Even though his overall numbers on the year are still horrid, it was enough for him to keep his rotation spot over Seth Lugo, who made his first start of the season on Thursday and threw four scoreless innings against the Cubs. However, this brilliant effort by Lugo was preceded by a less brilliant one in the first game of the double header on Monday, where he was tagged with the (walk-off) loss.
The only other Mets win this week came in the nightcap of the double header, which P.J. Conlon started and was knocked around for four runs and eight hits in just two innings of work. He has since been designated for assignment and picked up by the Dodgers, who assigned him to Triple-A.
The Mets won that game on the back of some great relief pitching, one of the only nights they would benefit from a good performance by the bullpen. Hansel Robles was the hero that night, tossing three scoreless innings in relief of Conlon. However, the home run ball bit Hansel again on Thursday, when he surrendered a two-run shot to Ben Zobrist in relief of Lugo. He was also one of the long line of Mets relievers to keep the Cubs at bay in extras on Saturday before they broke through for six runs in the fourteenth inning.
In the end, Buddy Baumann, fresh up from the minor leagues, was tagged with the loss in that fourteenth inning, giving up four runs in just a third of an inning. Gerson Bautista, another one of the Mets’ new faces, gave up an additional two runs before the inning mercifully came to a close. Baumann and Bautista each also gave up runs in Thursday’s game. Bautista, of course, also was responsible for the walk-off home run hit by Johan Camargo in Tuesday’s game.
However, two of the other new members of the Mets bullpen—Tim Peterson and Scott Copeland—had successful debuts this week. Peterson pitched a valiant two innings in the fourteen inning marathon against the Cubs, keeping them scoreless and giving up just three hits while striking out three. He gave up the only run in Wednesday’s win, but kept the Mets in the game by limiting the damage in two innings of work. He also tossed a third of an inning in Friday night’s game, giving up a hit.
Scott Copeland was also forced into emergency service this week and performed well, throwing 1 1⁄3 scoreless innings on Thursday. He was designated for assignment when the Mets recalled Jose Lobaton. However, he cleared waivers and was assigned to Double-A.
As for the regulars in the Mets bullpen, it’s been a mixed bag. Paul Sewald was roughed up quite a bit in his 5 2⁄3 innings of work this week. Most of that damage came on Friday night, when he was tagged with the loss after he appeared in relief of Zack Wheeler and allowed both of his inherited runners to score and then some. He also allowed a run on three hits in two innings on Tuesday when he entered the game after Steven Matz’s early exit. His best performance of the week was in yesterday’s game when he threw two scoreless innings, giving up only a walk with three strikeouts. His ERA for the week is an unsightly 7.94.
Jerry Blevins’ struggles continue as well, as he holds a 4.91 ERA this week over 3 2⁄3 innings. A combination of his ineffectiveness as a left-handed specialist and the sheer amount of innings the bullpen has had to throw this week has meant that Blevins’ workload per appearance has increased. He was one of many relievers to throw a scoreless inning on Saturday. However, he surrendered one run in each of his other appearances and played a part in the Braves’ comeback win against the Mets on Tuesday.
Even though Gerson Bautista gave up the decisive blow on Tuesday, Jacob Rhame was awful in that game, surrendering three runs over 1 1⁄3 innings of work. He did, however, play a part in the Mets’ win on Monday night, pitching a scoreless seventh inning and earning his second hold of the season.
This served as the bridge to Jeurys Familia, who secured the six out save to seal the victory on Monday night, his fourteenth save of the season. Familia has not had as many save opportunities of late, as the Mets have not found themselves ahead very often, but he had a good week nonetheless. He pitched in non-save situations on Friday and Saturday. He gave up his only run of the week on Friday against the Cubs in the ninth inning, an insurance run to stretch their lead to three. He did, however, pitch a scoreless ninth in Saturday’s game to send it into extra innings. He may have had a save in Wednesday’s win, but Mickey Callaway wisely opted to use him in the eighth inning instead against the Braves’ best hitters. He bent, but did not break, giving up two hits, but no runs.
Robert Gsellman instead earned his second save of the season to seal the victory on Wednesday. He also earned the win on Monday night, despite surrendering the the tying run in the sixth, as the Mets would go on to take the lead for good in the top of the seventh inning. Gsellman also pitched a scoreless eighth on Saturday night in relief of Jacob deGrom, striking out three batters.