Other than Noah Syndergaard’s poor start on Friday night, the Mets’ starting rotation had a phenomenal week. Zack Wheeler and Jacob deGrom twirled two gems each, Marcus Stroman had his best start as a Met, and Steven Matz tossed six shutout innings in his start. In the Mets’ only other loss of the week on Sunday, it was the usually reliable members of the bullpen that let them down, albeit against a very formidable Dodgers lineup.
Jacob deGrom and Zack Wheeler each made two starts this week and they were both brilliant in each of them. deGrom earned his ninth win of the season on Monday when he tossed seven fantastic innings. He gave up just three hits and the only run came as a result of a Wilmer Flores solo home run in his return to Citi Field. He struck out eleven Diamondbacks and walked just one. deGrom went toe-to-toe with fellow Cy Young Award hopeful Hyun-Jin Ryu and matched zeros with him for seven innings on Saturday. Again, he surrendered just three hits. He struck out eight Dodgers and walked none. To shut out a lineup as formidable as the Dodgers’ over seven innings is certainly a feather in his cap as he tries to go back-to-back for the Cy Young. The Mets could not get him the win in that start, but they did ultimately win the game thanks to Rajai Davis’ clutch pinch-hit double in the eighth.
Zack Wheeler was every bit deGrom’s equal this week. On Tuesday, he limited the Diamondbacks to just one run over seven innings, just like deGrom did the day before. He did give up seven hits, but he scattered them effectively and limited the damage while keeping his pitch count low enough to go deep into the game. He struck out seven and walked two, earning his eleventh win of the season. Yesterday, Wheeler once again followed deGrom’s brilliant performance with a great one of his own. He gave up just one run on six hits, getting the strikeouts in big spots when he needed them. He fanned nine Dodgers and walked none over seven innings of work.
Unfortunately, for the first time in quite some time, the combination of Justin Wilson and Seth Lugo could not close it out yesterday. After having yet another great week until that point, both pitchers faltered yesterday. Justin Wilson gave up the tying run in the eighth in somewhat bizarre fashion. He walked the leadoff hitter Jedd Gyorko and then slipped on the mound for a balk, which advanced Gyorko into scoring position. Shaken, Wilson then threw a wild pitch, which put the tying run 90 feet away. He struck out Max Muncy but then gave up a double to Chris Taylor to tie the game. He recorded the second out of the inning via the strikeout before being removed in favor of Lugo. Earlier in the week, Wilson earned two saves in two of the Mets’ victories. He earned his second save of the season in relief of Wheeler on Tuesday with 1 1⁄3 scoreless innings of work. It was not without incident, as he allowed two hits in the ninth, but he worked around it to secure the win for the Mets. Saturday’s outing was far less eventful. He tossed a 1-2-3 ninth with a strikeout in relief of deGrom to notch his third save of the season.
After Wilson gave up the tying run yesterday, Seth Lugo came in the game with the go-ahead run in scoring position and was able to escape the inning with the game still tied, recording the final out via a fly out. However, Lugo stayed in the game for the ninth and gave up the go-ahead run on a double by Enrique Hernandez and an RBI single by none other than Gyorko. Much like Wilson, Lugo had been brilliant this week until that point. He finished out the game for deGrom on Monday, earning the six-out save with four strikeouts. He struck out the side in the eighth on Saturday—once again in relief of deGrom—and earned his sixth win of the season for the effort.
Marcus Stroman stepped up in a big way for the Mets this week, notching his best start in orange and blue thus far to complete the four-game sweep of the Diamondbacks on Thursday afternoon. He gave up just one run on four hits over 6 1⁄3 innings of work. He did walk four batters, but he struck out six and limited the damage. He earned his eighth win of the season for the outing.
With the Mets winning big on Thursday, the Mets were able to save the pen. Daniel Zamora came in with runners on in the seventh and walked the first batter he faced, but then struck out his next batter for the second out. That was his only work for the week.
Chris Mazza followed Zamora on Thursday and recorded the final out of the seventh inning and finished out the game. He retired all the batters he faced in order over 2 1⁄3 innings of work, which was his only appearance for the week.
Steven Matz also had a strong outing in his only start this week. He shut out the Diamondbacks for six innings on Wednesday, giving up just four hits. He struck out seven and walked three batters. He earned his tenth win of the season and lowered his season ERA to 3.84, allowing the Mets to cruise to an easy victory.
The bullpen kept the shutout going on Wednesday after Matz’s exit. Paul Sewald pitched a 1-2-3 eighth inning with a strikeout. Tyler Bashlor pitched the ninth and worked around a hit and a walk. For both pitchers, it was their only appearance for the week.
Jeurys Familia pitched a scoreless seventh on Wednesday immediately following Matz. He allowed two hits, but worked himself out of the jam. He pitched a 1-2-3 sixth inning in relief of Noah Syndergaard on Friday night. However, he did allow a single with two outs in the seventh and that baserunner would come around to score and was charged to Familia’s ledger.
Luis Avilan was the culprit who failed to strand his inherited baserunner. In fact, it was a pretty horrific outing for Avilan all round. He walked a batter and allowed two straight hits that plated two runs before getting out of the inning. That was his only appearance for the week. However, the game was already pretty much out of reach at that stage.
The game was out of reach because Noah Syndergaard had a mediocre start on Friday. To be fair, it looks worse when graded against the other performances from the rotation this week. But as if Syndergaard’s issues throwing to Ramos weren’t clear enough, this outing only underscored them. Thor looked solid through the first three innings, but things came undone for him in the fourth when the Dodgers dropped a four spot on him, punctuated by a three-run homer by rookie Gavin Lux. He lasted just one more inning after that. In total, he struck out four batters and walked two over five innings of work.
Most of the Mets’ bad pitching this week was concentrated to Friday night. In addition to Familia and Avilan’s struggles, Walker Lockett allowed two more insurance runs on three hits in his two innings of work. With the Mets’ September bullpen in full force, Lockett will likely be relegated to multi-inning mopup duty.
Brad Brach also had just one appearance this week. He pitched 2⁄3 of an inning in Tuesday’s win, bridging the gap between Wheeler and Wilson. He did allow a run on a solo homer to Eduardo Escobar, but did not let the lead get away, earning his fifth hold of the season.
In an effort to get his head right, Edwin Diaz’s workload has been lightened considerably and he did not see any action this week. Drew Gagnon and the newly recalled Donnie Hart also did not appear in any games this week.