The Mets’ pitching staff continues to roll in the second half. Outside of one rough outing from Steven Matz, the rotation was solid to excellent this week and there were several members of the relief corps who did not allow a run all week.
One such reliever was Seth Lugo, who was named the National League Reliever of the Month for July. He tossed 1 2⁄3 scoreless innings over two outings this week. The first came on Tuesday when he finished out the eighth inning for Noah Syndergaard after Justin Wilson failed to get his man. He also pitched a scoreless inning in Saturday’s victory complete with a strikeout, earning his eighteenth hold of the season.
It was all hands on deck for the bullpen on Saturday, as Marcus Stroman did not give the Mets as much length as he probably would have hoped for in his Mets debut. However, he kept the Mets in the game thanks in part to a sparkling defensive play. In all, he gave up three runs on seven hits in 4 1⁄3 innings, striking out three and walking two.
Jacob Rhame contributed 1 1⁄3 scoreless innings to Saturday’s win. He didn’t surrender any hits or walks and struck out a batter. Rhame was then put on the injured list yesterday with right elbow discomfort. He was replaced on the roster by Donnie Hart, the former Baltimore Oriole who was let go by the Brewers. The Mets claimed him off waivers and he made his Mets debut on Sunday, pitching a scoreless inning in relief of Syndergaard.
Syndergaard pitched not just one great game this week, but two, earning him the fireball for his performance. On Tuesday, he went 7 1⁄3 innings and gave up one run on five hits. He struck out eleven batters and walked just one. Sadly, he did not earn the win for his efforts, but the Mets rallied to take the game in extras. He did earn his eighth win of the season on Sunday, when the Mets gave him ample run support to work with. He gave up just one run on three hits, striking out three batters and walking one.
After Hart’s scoreless eighth on Sunday, Jeurys Familia pitched the ninth as part of a continued effort to allow him to get comfortable via pitching in lower leverage situations. He gave up a solo homer, but it hardly mattered as the Mets had built up a sizable lead at that point. He struck out two batters in the frame to finish off the victory. Familia also contributed the last two outs in the ninth in Thursday’s win, one of those outs coming via the strikeout. He pitched a scoreless ninth in Friday’s loss. He loaded the bases but was able to escape his own jam without giving up a run.
The Mets’ only loss of the week began with a poor performance from Steven Matz, who faced off against the same team he had pitched a shutout against the last time he faced them. This time things did not go nearly as well for Matz. He lasted just 3 2⁄3 innings and gave up five runs on six hits, striking out four and walking one.
Robert Gsellman entered the game after Matz’s early hook and pitched 2 1⁄3 great innings in relief, striking out a batter and walking two. He did not give up any hits. Gsellman earned the win on Tuesday for pitching scoreless tenth and eleventh innings before the Mets walked it off in the bottom of the eleventh.
Tuesday’s game ended up tied because of a blown save by Edwin Diaz, who continues to be inconsistent. On Tuesday, it was his control that was the problem. He put two men on via a walk and a hit by pitch. A wild pitch advanced the runners and then a sacrifice fly scored the tying run. Diaz was able to get through the inning without the White Sox taking the lead, but it was precarious to say the least. However, the very next day he earned his 24th save of the season in relief of Jacob deGrom on Wednesday. He gave up a juiced ball aided home run but struck out the other three batters he faced. But he was tagged with two runs on Saturday when he gave up a home run to Starling Marte. However, the Mets had a big enough lead at that point that the home run did not influence the outcome.
Meanwhile deGrom was his deGrom-like self. Like Syndergaard the day before, he struck out eleven batters over his seven innings of work. He gave up just one run on five hits and walked two batters, Unfortunately, the Mets did not give him enough run support for him to earn the victory; he left the game when it was tied at one.
It was Justin Wilson that got the win on Wednesday, as he continues to be a pivotal piece out of the bullpen in the second half after dealing with so many injury woes in the first half. Although he did not retire the hitter he was tasked with on Tuesday, he worked around a walk and two hits to pitch a scoreless eighth inning on Wednesday. He earned his third win of the season for his scoreless inning of work in Saturday’s game. He gave up one hit, one walk, and struck out a batter in the outing.
Luis Avilan came in the game after Stroman’s somewhat early exit and recorded the second out in the fifth inning, but then walked a hitter and hit a batter with a pitch, which necessitated Rhame coming in the game to bail him out. Avilan tossed 1 1⁄3 hitless innings in relief of Zack Wheeler on Thursday, working around a walk.
Wheeler blanked the Pirates over seven innings of work, earning his eight win of the season. He gave up just four hits and struck out seven. Wheeler has held opponents to a .191 average since the All-Star break and has made the Mets’ decision not to trade him at the deadline look awfully good so far.
Although Gsellman kept the Mets close on Friday night, much like Matz, Tyler Bashlor had an inning get away from him that put the game out of reach. Bashlor gave up three runs on three hits—including a home run. He also walked a batter. When the Mets recalled Jacob Rhame from Triple-A, Bashlor was optioned back to Syracuse.