This week has been one of the best weeks of the season for the Mets pitching staff, who outside of a poor and rain-shortened outing from Jason Vargas that led to a lopsided loss, had quite a stellar week. As a staff, the Mets pitched to a 3.09 ERA this week, the 5th best mark in the majors, which includes the Vargas outing. They also accrued 1.4 fWAR, 4th best in the majors. As Jacob deGrom continues his Cy Young caliber season, Zack Wheeler continues to have the best season of his career, and Noah Syndergaard continues to put up strong starts, the Mets now boast a 1-2-3 top of the rotation that rivals any team in the league. In fact, the Mets’ 1-2-3 starters rank third in baseball in fWAR. Steven Matz’s return to the rotation on Thursday should improve things further.
Corey Oswalt has been one of the unexpected feel good stories of this season. He keeps pitching himself into the conversation for a more permanent rotation spot, as Jason Vargas continues to falter. On Saturday, he gave the Mets another quality start, going six innings and giving up three runs on six hits, with one walk and three strikeouts. Unfortunately, the Mets lost the game in extra innings and Oswalt walked away with a no decision. However, it seems that the plan is—at least for now—to have a six man rotation with Oswalt remaining in the big leagues.
Jacob Rhame got the loss on Saturday, surrendering the winning run in the eleventh inning. It capped off a mediocre week for Rhame, who also gave up a run in two innings in Tuesday’s loss. It’s been a string of bad appearances for Rhame, who was demoted to Las Vegas in favor of Tim Peterson yesterday.
Jason Vargas started on Tuesday, but was only able to retire one batter before the rains came, delaying the game long enough that he could not return to the mound. In that time he also gave up three runs on three hits. I could have given him a poop emoji, but I was feeling generous this week and decided that maybe, just maybe, he would have settled down had he remained in the game and 1⁄3 of an inning was an unfair sample size to judge him on this week. However, the fact remains that Vargas continues to be dreadful and yet his rotation spot remains safe for the time being, despite Oswalt’s string of success.
With the Mets already down 3-0 and the starting pitcher out of the game, they had to cobble together a bullpen game on Tuesday. Surprisingly, this mostly went well. Aside from the aforementioned insurance run surrendered by Rhame late in the game, the only other member of the bullpen to have a poor outing on Tuesday was Bobby Wahl, whose early success in the big leagues seems to have worn off a bit. He gave up two additional runs in his one inning of work. He also walked Joey Votto to force in a run in the seventh inning on Monday before getting a strikeout for the second out. However, he did throw a scoreless inning in relief of Oswalt on Saturday, keeping the game tied at three.
Tyler Bashlor and Paul Sewald both did some heavy lifting in the Mets’ losses this week, an unfortunately thankless task, despite their success. Sewald came in after the rain delay on Tuesday and delivered 1 2⁄3 scoreless innings, giving up one hit and striking out three. Sewald also threw a scoreless eighth inning on Saturday, working out of a self-inflicted bases loaded jam to keep the score tied.
Bashlor followed Wahl on Tuesday, tossing two scoreless innings. He also threw scoreless ninth and tenth innings on Saturday before the Mets lost in the eleventh. He carries an impressive 0.75 WHIP for the week.
Drew Smith also pitched two scoreless innings on Tuesday, giving up just one hit. He also played a key role in Friday’s win, coming in to pitch the ninth after Jerry Blevins hit a batter to lead off the inning. Smith promptly induced a double play grounder to erase Blevins’ baserunner and worked around a walk to seal the victory for the Mets.
Despite the hit batsman on Friday, Jerry Blevins had a good week otherwise. He got the save in Monday’s win, tossing a scoreless ninth. He also pitched a scoreless frame in Wednesday’s win with two strikeouts. It’s the second good week in a row for Blevins, who has a 0.00 ERA in 6 1⁄3 innings in the second half.
Zack Wheeler started Friday night’s game, earning his fifth win in a row with another great outing. He cruised through six scoreless innings before giving up a two-run homer with two outs in the seventh inning, meaning his final line didn’t truly reflect how well he pitched. Nonetheless, he still earned the win and struck out eight batters.
Seth Lugo pitched a 1-2-3 eighth inning in relief of Wheeler on Friday. He pitched a scoreless seventh in relief of deGrom in Wednesday’s win, as well. He also worked around two hits in yesterday’s win to earn his first save of the season.
That save came in relief of Noah Syndergaard, who has a 4.73 ERA in two starts this week, but still won both games to improve his record to 8-2 on the season. Yesterday, Syndergaard gave up three runs on seven hits and two walks in seven innings of work, striking out seven. Syndergaard had been cruising through six innings of work on Monday, but things unraveled a bit for him in the seventh. With one out, he hit two straight batters and then gave up two straight singles to plate the Reds’ first run and chase him from the game. Ultimately, all of those runners would come around to score thanks to shaking bullpen outings from Wahl and Robert Gsellman, meaning Syndergaard was tagged for four earned runs. But having been given a six-run cushion to work with, it ultimately did not completely spoil Syndergaard’s night.
After Wahl recorded the second out of the inning with the score 6-2 after the walk to Votto, Gsellman entered the game. He surrendered a single to Eugenio Suarez to plate two more runs, both charged to Syndergaard, before striking out Mason Williams to end the threat. Gsellman did bounce back to pitch a 1-2-3 eighth. He also pitched a scoreless ninth in relief of deGrom in Wednesday’s win and a scoreless eighth yesterday, notching his twelfth hold of the season. So all told, despite the mistake to Suarez (which, to be honest, was a well-placed bloop hit), it was a good week for Gsellman, who has put together a nice run of success lately after a poor stretch.
I saved biggest news of all this week for last: Jacob deGrom got some run support! And a win! He shut out the Reds over six innings of work on Wednesday, surrendering just four hits. He struck out ten batters and walked just one—you know, just typical deGrom things. He lowered his ERA to 1.77 on the season.