Rather quietly, Jacob deGrom is once again a top ten pitcher in baseball. And he had a start squandered this week by the Mets’ bullpen. So in a lot of ways, this is very much like a 2018 Mets Player Performance Meter. Injuries and ineffectiveness have forced more personnel changes this week. The rest of the starting staff did not particularly distinguish themselves this week, but a couple of new faces did.
We’ll start with the aforementioned deGrom start. He delivered a quality start against the Cubs on Sunday, tossing six innings and scattering eight hits, while surrendering just two runs. He struck out nine batters. He saw his efforts dashed by the bullpen, which continues to struggle to build the bridge between the starter and Edwin Diaz. However, deGrom did earn a win this week for his brilliant performance against the Braves on Tuesday, in which he struck out ten batters and gave up just two runs on five hits over 8 1⁄3 innings of work.
Seth Lugo, who had been the most consistent arm in the Mets bullpen all year long, gave up a go-ahead, three-run homer to Javy Baez on Sunday. To be fair to Lugo, he was pushed past his limit in his second inning of work on a day where he clearly did not have his best stuff, as the Mets continued to refuse to use Edwin Diaz in the ninth inning. The week started off much better for Lugo, who tossed two scoreless innings in Friday’s win, earning his eleventh hold of the season.
Speaking of Diaz, he had just one appearance this week, which came on Friday when he pitched a 1-2-3 ninth with two strikeouts to lock down the win and earn his sixteenth save of the season.
Jason Vargas started Friday’s game and bucked his budding trend of going deeper into games, lasting just 4 2⁄3 innings. He gave up four runs, but his defense let him down, as only two of them were earned. He struck out three and walked two in the outing.
Brooks Pounders earned his first win as a Met on Friday, taking care of the middle relief after Vargas’ early exit. He tossed 1 1⁄3 hitless innings. It capped off a very good week for Pounders, who recorded the final out of Monday’s lopsided loss to bail out Drew Gagnon and also finished out the third inning after Walker Lockett’s short outing on Thursday.
Walker Lockett was picked as the starter to fill in for Noah Syndergaard as he rehabs his hamstring strain and his first start as a Met did not go well. The Cubs pounded him to the tune of six runs on five hits in just 2 1⁄3 innings of work. He struck out two batters and walked one. He took another spot start in place of Syndergaard today, which will be included in next week’s meter.
Wilmer Font pitched admirably in relief of Lockett on Thursday, giving the Mets three scoreless innings of work in order to keep the game close. He gave up just one hit, walked three, and struck out five in the inning. That represented his only work for the week, as he settles into a long relief role in the bullpen.
Speaking of admirable in long relief, Chris Flexen had a bounce back week after his first appearance out of the bullpen for the Mets did not go so well. Flexen appeared in two games this week and pitched two innings in each without allowing a run. He did so in Wednesday’s loss against the Braves, striking out three batters and in Saturday’s lopsided win, finishing things out for Zack Wheeler.
Wheeler twirled seven innings of one-run ball against a good Cubs lineup on Saturday to finish his week on a high note after taking the loss in Monday’s blowout defeat. On Monday, he dealt with baserunners in nearly every inning, negotiating around ten Braves hits. He ultimately gave up five runs, only four of them earned. Wheeler was also a victim of the Mets’ poor defense, but was still smacked around pretty convincingly by the Braves lineup. But he struck out five and walked only one against the Cubs on Saturday, giving up just one run on five hits and earning his sixth win of the season.
After Wheeler exited the game on Monday, the bullpen poured gasoline on the fire. Jeurys Familia had another extremely poor appearance in which he was tagged with three runs on a hit and two walks. He recorded only one out in the outing. He was then placed on the injured list with a recurrence of the same shoulder issue that sidelined him earlier this season.
Familia was replaced in the game by Drew Gagnon and things only escalated from there. Gagnon was shelled and gave up an additional four runs on five hits, including two home runs. He also walked three batters. At the same time Familia was placed on the injured list, Gagnon was demoted to Triple-A Syracuse and those roster spots were filled with Stephen Nogosek and Daniel Zamora.
Zamora had just one appearance and recorded the final out of Wednesday’s loss against the Braves, giving up one hit in the process. He was sent back down to Triple-A when Walker Lockett was called up to the big leagues.
It was not a good first week as a Met for Stephen Nogosek, who is one of the many relievers Sandy Alderson acquired in his deadline deals at the end of his Mets tenure. Nogosek contributed to Wednesday’s lopsided loss, giving up two runs in 2⁄3 of an inning in relief of Steven Matz. He did, however, bounce back to pitch a scoreless ninth inning in Thursday’s loss.
Steven Matz had a poor outing against the Braves on Wednesday, giving up five runs on six hits over five innings of work. He gave up two home runs—one to Freddie Freeman and one to Josh Donaldson. He struck out only two batters and walked four in the outing.
It was a somewhat up-and-down week for Robert Gsellman, who has been used heavily of late by Mickey Callaway. His week started off on a high note, when he nailed down the victory for the Mets on Tuesday by recording the final two outs of the game in relief of deGrom, both via the strikeout. He gave up a solo home run to Javy Baez in the seventh inning against the Cubs in Thursday’s loss. He came in the game on Sunday after Lugo coughed up the lead and immediately got into trouble, giving up a double and a walk. But then he settled down to record the final two outs of the inning.