The Mets’ pitching staff continues to be ravaged by injury and as a result, the Mets used only eleven pitchers this week. Well timed days off (with a rainout mixed in) have allowed the Mets to get through the week with just one spot start from Wilmer Font, even with both Steven Matz and Jason Vargas on the injured list. Matz threw off a mound on Saturday with an eye toward pitching next weekend in Miami. Meanwhile, the Mets still don’t have a timetable for Vargas’ return. But the pitching has continued to muddle through, both because of herculean contributions from both Seth Lugo and Robert Gsellman in long relief and because of Jacob deGrom’s turnaround.
Font pitched pretty well in his Mets debut on Wednesday. He threw only four innings and gave up two runs—one of them on an Eric Hosmer homer—but he gave the Mets a chance to win the game and showed more in the outing than either Chris Flexen or Corey Oswalt had shown before him. With everyone in the rotation pushed back two days due to today’s off day and yesterday’s postponement, Font is slotted to pitch again on Wednesday against the Nationals.
Robert Gsellman contributed two scoreless innings in relief of Font on Wednesday, allowing just one hit and striking out three, keeping the game knotted at two apiece into the later innings. That was Gsellman’s only work for the week and he has made himself an integral part of this injury riddled bullpen.
It was Tyler Bashlor that took the loss on Wednesday, allowing a solo home run to Hunter Renfroe in the seventh inning that proved to be the difference in the game. Bashlor did, however, contribute a scoreless inning of relief in Friday’s lopsided win.
Drew Gagnon held the Padres scoreless in the eighth inning of Wednesday’s game to give the Mets a chance to come from behind in the ninth, but it was not to be. He didn’t allow a hit and struck out one batter in the outing, his only appearance of the week. Due to his ability to pitch multiple innings, Gagnon will likely stick around for awhile in the Mets bullpen, as he has elevated himself on the totem pole lately.
Daniel Zamora finished the game for the Mets on Friday, working around an infield hit that was initially called an out, but overturned on replay review. He also walked a batter, but did not allow a run, inducing the ground ball he needed to put the inning to rest. It was his only appearance of the week.
Zack Wheeler was the beneficiary of the ample run support on Friday and put together another solid start. He was even better than his line indicates, as many of the nine hits he surrendered were the result of soft contact. He was able to prevent the big inning and gave up just two runs on those nine hits. Although he ran up his pitch count early, he settled in and gave the Mets seven solid innings, striking out eleven and walking just one.
Meanwhile, Jacob deGrom logged two starts this week and has put together a run of starts where he looks a lot like Jacob deGrom. Monday’s game induced flashbacks to 2018, when deGrom was great, but the Mets were shut out and so deGrom took the loss. He gave up two runs on four hits over six innings of work, striking out seven and walking one. However, he was given sufficient run support to earn the win on Saturday, when he again went seven innings, this time giving up only one run—on a double to the opposing pitcher, no less—on five hits, striking out eight and again walking just one batter. deGrom got his revenge with the bat as well, though. He had a double of his own and also an RBI single. deGrom has now risen to first in the National League in strikeouts per nine innings among qualified starters, 13th in ERA and FIP, and 10th in fWAR.
Justin Wilson was activated from the injured list ahead of Monday’s game and gave up two runs on three hits in his one inning of work in relief of deGrom. The Mets then announced over the weekend that Wilson was heading back to the injured list, with “a recurrence of what he’d been dealing with,” according to Mickey Callaway. They called up Eric Hanhold to take Wilson’s roster spot. However, Jeurys Familia is due to be activated from the injured list ahead of the upcoming series against the Nationals, at which point Hanhold is likely to go back down to Triple-A without seeing any game action.
In Familia’s absence, Seth Lugo has been taking on the role as the setup man and has done so beautifully. He pitched a 1-2-3 eighth inning in relief of deGrom on Saturday, striking out a batter and setting things up for Edwin Diaz in the ninth. That effort earned him his sixth hold of the season. Lugo got the win for his two key scoreless innings of relief in Tuesday’s close game agains the Padres. It was his second win of the season. His ERA for the year now stands at an even 3.00 and his WHIP at an even 1.00.
Edwin Diaz notched two saves this week, following Lugo both on Tuesday and on Saturday. Diaz bent but did not break on Tuesday, giving up a run on a walk and two singles. But he came back to strike out Eric Hosmer on the seventh pitch of the at-bat and getting Hunter Renfroe to ground into a force out to end the game. He was not immaculate on Saturday either, but was given a three-run cushion to work with and did not surrender a run against the Marlins, working around a walk and a single and striking out a batter. That effort earned him his tenth save of the season.
Noah Syndergaard started Tuesday’s game and was bailed out by Pete Alonso and the bullpen to avoid the loss. After showing so much promise with a step in the right direction in the form of a complete game shoutout in his start last week, he was shaky on Tuesday, giving up five runs—four of them earned—on nine hits in six innings of work. He struck out five and allowed two home runs—one to Franmil Reyes and one to Ty France. Hopefully Syndergaard can right the ship again tomorrow against the Nationals.