Outside of yesterday’s debacle, this week has been a series of well-pitched games for the Mets. Even yesterday started off great for Steven Matz until things unraveled for the bullpen in the late innings. The starting staff all performed exceptionally well this week, the late inning relievers have done their job, and Daniel Zamora has emerged as a pleasant surprise in the bullpen.
There’s a lot of good things to talk about in this week’s meters, so let’s get the bad news over with first. Yesterday’s game—yikes. It went from a close game to a blowout in a hurry. The bright spot though was Steven Matz’s performance, who after a clunker in his first start back from the disabled list put together back-to-back solid outings this week. After giving up two runs early on Tuesday, he settled down to throw five strong innings and kept the Mets in the game, which they would ultimately come back to win. He was even better yesterday, going seven innings and giving up just one run on five hits and striking out seven. Unfortunately, the Mets were shut out and the bullpen imploded and Matz was tagged with the tough-luck loss.
The trio of Paul Sewald, Tyler Bashlor, and Corey Oswalt were responsible for the damage yesterday. Sewald only managed to record one out and got pounded for five runs on three hits and two walks. He did, however, earn the save on Wednesday, getting the final two outs of the game. He also pitched 2⁄3 of an inning in Monday’s walk-off loss.
Tyler Bashlor took the loss on Monday, but the winning run scored on the infamous fielding error by Dominic Smith, so was not earned on Bashlor’s part. But he did collect some earned runs yesterday—three of them to be precise—in his 2⁄3 of an inning following Sewald. He gave up two home runs in the outing. However, he did pitch two scoreless innings in Monday’s 13-inning game. On Thursday, he gave up an insurance run to the Giants in the eighth inning of Thursday’s loss. So it’s been quite the up and down week for Bashlor with mostly negative highlights.
After Sewald and Bashlor put yesterday’s game well out of reach, the Nationals piled on against Corey Oswalt, who allowed another six runs in the ninth inning, which included a walk to force in a run and a grand slam to Mark Reynolds. This all came after Oswalt had such a promising start to his tenure in the Mets’ bullpen. He tossed three scoreless innings in relief of Steven Matz on Tuesday, giving up just one hit and earning the win.
Okay, now on to the good. Seth Lugo finished out Tuesday’s win with a scoreless ninth to kick off another strong week for him. He entered the game on Friday night with the Mets clinging to a skinny one-run lead and gave them two 1-2-3 innings with three strikeouts, keeping the shutout in tact and giving the Mets the opportunity to widen their lead. He earned his eighth hold of the season.
Jason Vargas started Friday night’s game and threw his best start in a Mets uniform. The magic of “Vargy” continued; he shut the Nationals out for six innings, giving up just three hits and striking out a season-high eight batters. Where has this Jason Vargas been all season long? Hopefully the magic doesn’t fade with the return of the standard uniform.
Robert Gsellman earned his eighth save of the season on Friday, which capped off an excellent week for him. He worked around an Anthony Rendon double that probably should have been caught anyway—the only hit he gave up all week—and struck out two batters. He earned his thirteenth hold of the season in Wednesday’s win, tossing a 1-2-3 eighth. He also pitched two scoreless innings in relief of Zack Wheeler on Monday, forcing the game into extras.
It was a shame Monday’s game ended in such a comically bad fashion because the Mets squandered a gem from Zack Wheeler. Wheeler fanned ten batters over seven innings of work, surrendering just one run. Wheeler would earn a win on Saturday, however, as he followed Vargas’ gem with a shutout of his own, going seven scoreless. He wasn’t quite as dominant as he was on Monday, striking out just four batters and working around traffic on the basepaths, but he executed when he needed to and was very deGrom-like, bearing down when it mattered most.
Daniel Zamora, Drew Smith, and Jerry Blevins combined to seal the deal on Saturday, capping off good weeks for all three pitchers. Zamora got the all-important out in Bryce Harper to lead off the eighth inning on Saturday, bearing down to retire him on a 3-2 pitch. Despite having reverse splits, Mickey Callaway seems to be using Zamora as a lefty specialist. But the results have been there thus far. Zamora got the first out of the ninth in Wednesday’s win and worked around a single to record the final out of top of the eleventh on Monday.
Drew Smith followed Zamora, retiring the final two batters in the eighth and recording the first out in the ninth. Smith also threw a 1-2-3 inning in Thursday’s loss. He gave up his only run of the week in Wednesday’s win when he gave up a leadoff home run to Austin Slater in the seventh. He struck out the next batter, but then hit a batter with the pitch. He bounced back to get the second out via a bunt pop up.
Jerry Blevins then came in to get the final out in what was then a one-run game with the tying run on base. He successfully induced a pop out to end the inning. Blevins also followed Smith on Saturday and recorded the final two outs in the ninth to seal the victory for the Mets. He also contributed a scoreless inning to Monday’s extra-inning loss.
Noah Syndergaard earned the win on Wednesday for his strong effort, tossing six innings and giving up two runs on five hits and walking just one batter. He struck out six batters in the outing.
Sadly, Jacob deGrom was very much deGrom’d this week, taking the loss for what was ultimately a very solid effort. deGrom clearly didn’t have his usual command. He struggled to hit his spots and walked four batters for the first time all season. Nonetheless he still struck out ten Giants and allowed just two runs, only one of which was earned thanks to a passed ball by Devin Mesoraco. As usual, he was let down by his defense and his team didn’t score for him. That said, Madison Bumgarner is no easy matchup. deGrom will continue his quest for the Cy Young tomorrow night as he matches up against Cole Hamels at Wrigley Field. He maintains his ERA lead, sitting at a 1.71 for the season.