The top of the Mets’ rotation in Jacob deGrom, Steven Matz, and Zack Wheeler continues to shine. However, given Noah Syndergaard’s continued absence and Seth Lugo’s move back to the bullpen, the Mets have had to cobble together a back end of the rotation and it has not gone terribly well. Meanwhile, this week also featured two very poor performances from the bullpen, one of which resulted in blowing a five run lead.
The main culprit in Tuesday’s loss to the Blue Jays was Anthony Swarzak, who faced four batters in the seventh inning and allowed a double and two walks. He threw just 11 of his 21 pitches for strikes. He has yet to strand an inherited runner since coming off the disabled list. He also surrendered a tack-on run to the Rays in the ninth inning of Saturday’s loss. He holds an unsightly 27.00 ERA for the week.
Mickey Callaway turned to Robert Gsellman to try to get through the seventh inning on Tuesday with the Mets’ lead still in tact after Swarzak failed to get the job done. Unfortunately, Gsellman’s poor streak continued and he gave up a game-tying three-run homer. Only one of those three runs was charged to Gsellman’s ledger, as the other two baserunners belonged to Swarzak, but Gsellman continues to look lost on the mound, perhaps a product of overuse. Gsellman retired the only batter he was tasked with on Wednesday, but surrendered an insurance run in the eighth inning of Saturday’s loss. He has a 7.71 ERA and an 8.26 FIP on the week and his ERA for the season is steadily climbing.
To cap off Tuesday’s gut punch, Tim Peterson—who had been very solid out of the pen until this point—gave up the go-ahead two-run homer in the eighth inning. Peterson redeemed himself with a scoreless ninth in yesterday’s game. However, the game was long out of reach by then, as Peterson was just about the only pitcher to go unscathed in yesterday’s blowout loss.
Tuesday’s bullpen meltdown squandered a strong performance from Zack Wheeler, who gave up two runs on three hits in 6 1⁄3 innings of work, striking out five. His stock continues to rise, as his name gets brought up in trade rumors.
The Mets’ bullpen fared far better on Independence Day against the Jays, as Seth Lugo gave the Mets three quality innings of relief, giving up just one run. That represented Lugo’s work for the week, as he continues to be the most consistent member of the Mets’ bullpen, so much so that the Mets are willing to start lesser pitchers for him to remain there.
Lugo replaced Corey Oswalt, who took a step forward with his start on Wednesday, giving up two runs on five hits over four innings of work.
Jerry Blevins followed Lugo, recording two of the three outs in the eighth inning, giving up a hit, but no runs. That was his only outing of the week, as he was placed on the bereavement list and is set to return sometime this coming week.
Jeurys Familia notched his sixteenth save of the season, pitching a perfect ninth to secure Wednesday’s win. Familia also earned the win on Friday night, pitching a scoreless top of the ninth to keep the game tied at one run apiece prior to Jose Bautista’s walk-off grand slam in the bottom of the frame.
Jacob deGrom took care of the other eight innings on Friday night. After a couple of solid, but not quite deGrom-like starts, the newly minted All-Star is back to being elite and earning fireballs. He gave up just one run—a solo home run—and four hits over those eight innings of work, striking out eight. His ERA for the year is down to a skinny 1.79.
Steven Matz was also excellent in his start this week, giving up just one run on five hits in 6 1⁄3 innings of work in Saturday’s game. He powered through, despite not having his best stuff and did well stranding runners on base, something he has struggled with in the past. Unfortunately, that one earned run was enough to tag him with the loss, as the Met offense gave him the deGrom treatment.
Chris Flexen was recalled from Triple-A to start yesterday’s game and it did not go well. On a day where the Mets really needed some length from Flexen, given today’s double-header and full week without an off day, Flexen was only able to manage three innings. He gave up a three-run homer in the first inning and five runs total on five hits. It is clear that Flexen is out of his element in the big leagues.
The bullpen also got shellacked yesterday. Other than Peterson, the only reliever to throw a scoreless inning was Tyler Bashlor, who pitched a scoreless seventh inning, representing his only work for the week. Bashlor’s solid work so far has been enough to remain with the club over Drew Smith, who was optioned to Triple-A Las Vegas when Flexen was recalled.
Chris Beck pitched three innings in relief of Flexen yesterday and surrendered two additional runs, along with walking the first two batters he faced in back-to-back innings. While his outing was less than stellar, at least he was able to eat some innings in an already lopsided game.
Paul Sewald, also recently back up from Triple-A, did not distinguish himself yesterday either, giving up yet another two runs in the eighth inning, including a solo homer to Joey Wendle, a hitter not known for his power.