Welcome to the first edition of player meters for the second half! This time around, we have 9 games worth of stats to work with, as the (rain-shortened) Yankees series is being lumped in with this week’s meters.
Thus far, the second half has seen sparkling performances from Jacob deGrom and Zack Wheeler, as well as different members of the bullpen attempting to fill the void left by Jeurys Familia.
This week left yet more “Jacob deGrom pitches brilliantly and loses” headlines in its wake. deGrom pitched two great games and lost both of them, putting his record at 5-6 on the season. In San Diego one week ago, deGrom threw eight innings and gave up two runs, scattering five hits and two walks. He struck out ten batters. The Mets lost 3-2. On Saturday, he was slightly less brilliant but still great, giving up three runs in seven innings, striking out five. The Mets didn’t score any runs and lost 5-0. deGrom still owns the only ERA under 2 for the year in Major League Baseball and boasts Cy Young worthy numbers. But the Mets may very well be costing him that honor with their inability to provide him with any run support.
Zack Wheeler, meanwhile, has also been excellent, but has benefitted from more run support than deGrom has gotten, on the whole. He has won his last three starts. On Tuesday, he gave up just two runs on four hits and walked one over seven innings of work and the Mets won 6-3. Wheeler got the deGrom treatment in yesterday’s game, but was up to the task, blanking the Pirates through six innings and striking out seven. The Mets won 1-0 and Wheeler helped his own cause by driving in the Mets’ only run. Wheeler has been so valuable to the Mets lately that their inclination to trade him has all but disappeared absent a can’t miss package.
Anthony Swarzak got the save in yesterday’s 1-0 victory by helping to protect the Mets’ skinny lead and pitching a scoreless ninth. With Familia now an Oakland A, Swarzak will stand to see a lot more high leverage innings, something he has not been successful with as a Met thus far. But he has had a strong second half so far and here’s hoping he has turned a corner. Swarzak also earned the save for two scoreless innings in Wednesday’s win and recorded a key third out in the eighth inning of a tie game on Friday. The only blemish on Swarzak’s record in the second half so far came against the Yankees on July 21st, when he gave up a run on two hits in the ninth inning. At the time, the Mets were already behind in the game, but that run would end up being the difference in a game the Mets went on to lose 7-6.
Seth Lugo is the another reliever who stands to see more opportunities in the late innings for the remainder of the season. He’s been lights out from the bullpen most of the season, but has run into a bit of a skid of late. In his first appearance after the All-Star break, Lugo gave up two runs, four hits, and walked two over his two innings of work on July 20th against the Yankees. He also gave up a run in each of his subsequent appearances on Tuesday and Friday. But he bounced back with two scoreless innings yesterday, allowing Swarzak to close the door and secure the victory for the Mets. Lugo holds a 5.40 ERA in the second half thus far.
Along with Swarzak, Robert Gsellman seems to be the other reliever getting save opportunities so far in the second half. Like Lugo, Gsellman has had a bit of an up and down second half. In the first game after the All-Star break, Gsellman gave up two runs in relief of Noah Syndergaard, but both runs were unearned due to a fielding error by Amed Rosario and the Mets would go on to win the game, with Gsellman earning the save and finishing the game with a scoreless ninth. Gsellman followed deGrom’s eight innings last Monday with a scoreless ninth, but the Mets were unable to come back for the win. He also recorded 2⁄3 of an inning of scoreless relief en route to Wednesday’s win. However, he was dinged for two runs on Saturday, putting the game further out of reach for the Mets. He carries a 3.36 second half ERA.
Steven Matz did not have a particularly strong week. He was tagged for five runs on nine hits in 5+ innings against an admittedly formidable lineup in last Saturday’s loss to the Yankees. His start in Pittsburgh on Thursday was better; he allowed four runs in six innings. Lucky for Matz, the Mets offense unloaded for 12 runs and he earned the win for that effort.
Corey Oswalt put forth a solid effort in his final start before being optioned to Triple-A Las Vegas upon Jason Vargas’ return. Oswalt earned his first career victory on Wednesday, giving up two runs in five innings against the Padres. There had been talk that he might remain in the rotation, but the Mets chose to stick with Vargas.
Vargas had a somewhat mediocre return from the disabled list on Friday. He lasted just 4 1⁄3 innings and gave up three runs on three hits, walking three and striking out three. However, he did leave with a lead, giving the Mets a chance to win the game. Unfortunately, they were walked off in the ninth inning.
Surrendering the winning run on Friday was part of a rough week for Tim Peterson. He also gave up two runs in relief of Oswalt on Wednesday, but the Mets held on to win. He gave up a solo home run to Aaron Judge last Saturday, but nothing else over his two innings of work—he is far from the first person to give up a home run to Judge. That said, he holds an unsightly 10.80 ERA in a small sample size in the second half.
Before Peterson gave up the winning run, several other Mets relievers held the fort to keep the game tied on Friday. Tyler Bashlor did most of the heavy lifting, pitching two scoreless innings. He got himself out of a bases loaded, one out jam by inducing a double play groundout in the first of the two innings he pitched.
Jacob Rhame got a key first out in the eighth inning on Friday, but also gave up a hit. That represents his only work in the second half thus far.
Jerry Blevins followed Rhame on Friday, retiring the only batter he faced. He also pitched a scoreless inning in Thursday’s lopsided win.
Paul Sewald and Drew Smith each also put in an inning of work on Thursday. Each of them gave up one run on two hits. If Mickey Callaway is serious about spreading the innings around the bullpen more, then guys like Bashlor, Blevins, Rhame, Sewald, and Smith will be seeing more work as the second half goes on.
Noah Syndergaard was the starter in the first game after the All-Star break, his second start since returning from the disabled list. He was in trouble repeatedly, but managed to pitch his way out of it, giving up just one run despite surrendering eight hits. He earned the win for his effort. Of note was the drop in velocity toward the end of the start, leading to his early exit. Of course, we later learned this was due to the effects of hand, foot, and mouth disease, which would sideline him for a start. He is slated to return Wednesday against the Nationals.