The pitching meter this week is somewhat misleading, as the two glaring poop emojis in the middle of the table make the overall picture look worse than it was. It’s true that Tuesday’s game was marked by another horrific meltdown by the Mets’ bullpen, but the poor performances were mostly contained to that game. Other than Robert Gsellman’s ghastly performance in that game, the core of the Mets’ pitching staff was all good or excellent this week. Every single start from the Mets’ rotation this week was a quality start. Given what the rotation has looked like at times this season, that is an incredible step forward and a large part of why the Mets went 4-2 this week.
I usually like to start with good news, but this week I’ll switch things up and get the worst out of the way. This week for the Mets started out looking like it would be a continuation of the same pattern from the pitching staff. The Mets had a one-run lead, the Giants tied it late, and then the Giants put a six spot on the Mets in the tenth inning to win the game. Five of those runs were charged to Robert Gsellman, who had an absolutely nightmarish outing. He only recorded one out before the Giants built a 6-3 lead. Gsellman did redeem himself with a scoreless inning on Friday, but things would only get worse for him after he was removed from the game on Tuesday.
Hector Santiago allowed both of his inherited runners to score on a bases-clearing double by Pablo Sandoval—both runs charged to Gsellman. He gave up an additional run after that before putting the inning to bed. He also bounced back with a scoreless inning on Friday, but gave up a run in the ninth in Sunday’s win. Luckily, that did not cost the Mets, as they had amassed a 6-0 lead.
The other blow-up outing from a Mets pitcher this week came from Drew Gagnon in Friday night’s game. He came into a close contest in the eighth inning and gave up two home runs that helped the Rockies cement a victory. He recorded two outs in the inning, representing his only work for the week. Wilmer Font came in to record the final out, which was Font’s only appearance for the week.
With that ugliness out of the way, it is pretty much good news from here. Gagnon’s implosion of course came at the expense of a good start from Jacob deGrom, over which he held a powerful Rockies team to two runs on six hits, while striking out ten and walking only one. deGrom is finally starting to put together a string of several good performances in a row.
The same can be said about Noah Syndergaard, who logged not just one quality start this week, but two. Unfortunately for him, one of them was on Tuesday and that was squandered by the bullpen. He allowed three runs on five hits over 6 2⁄3 innings, but he labored somewhat. He walked almost as many batters as he struck out—three walks against four strikeouts—which is very uncharacteristic, even when Syndergaard struggles. That said, he delivered a nearly spotless performance yesterday, holding the formidable Rockies lineup to just one hit over seven innings of work. He walked two and struck out seven, earning his fourth win of the season to even his record at 4-4.
Mickey Callaway made the controversial decision to take Syndergaard out of the game and turn to Seth Lugo for the final out of the seventh inning on Tuesday. The normally reliable Lugo had a rare misstep, allowing two hits to score his inherited runner, tying the game. Lugo did pitch a scoreless eighth inning to hold the Giants there and give the Mets a chance before the aforementioned meltdown in the tenth. Lugo’s other two appearances this week were much better. On Thursday, he earned his third win of the season, tossing a 1-2-3 eighth before the Mets took the lead in the bottom of the frame. He logged two hitless innings on Saturday to notch his eighth hold of the season.
Those two innings were in relief of Steven Matz, who struck out a season-high ten batters to help secure his fifth win of the season. He was pushed to 120 pitches, but was effective, giving up three runs—only two of them earned—over six innings. He walked two batters in the outing.
Lugo then bridged the gap to Edwin Diaz, who notched his 14th save of the season with a scoreless ninth, working around a hit and striking out two. After the previous week marked the worst outing of his career, he rebounded with a clean slate this week. His only other appearance besides Saturday’s save came on Tuesday, when he came into a tie game in the ninth after Lugo allowed the tying run to score. He pushed the game to extra innings with a scoreless frame, giving up one hit and striking out three batters.
Speaking of being pushed past 100 pitches, out of all the solid starting pitching performances this week, Jason Vargas of all people stole the show. He earns the fireball for his complete game shutout performance against the Giants on Wednesday. The day after Tuesday’s implosion, Vargas threw 117 pitches over nine innings and gave the bullpen a full day off. Like Matz, Vargas also recorded a season high in strikeouts with eight punch-outs. He scattered five hits and walked just one batter. He now holds a 1.85 ERA since April 19th heading into his biggest test yet against the Yankees at Yankee Stadium.
Zack Wheeler may not have earned the win for his outing on Thursday, but he still pitched a very solid game. Two home runs—one two-run shot by Brandon Belt and a solo homer by Pablo Sandoval—accounted for all of the damage against Wheeler. He walked one and struck out six batters through seven innings. He was also pushed past 100 pitches, throwing 107 pitches in the outing. But this allowed the Mets to use Lugo with the game tied and Jeurys Familia after taking the lead, keeping Diaz fresh.
It was a clean scoresheet for Familia this week, who secured Thursday’s victory with a 1-2-3 ninth inning after the Mets took the lead in the eighth. He also tossed a hitless eighth in yesterday’s victory in relief of Syndergaard. He struck out three batters in total over the two appearances and didn’t walk any batters.