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Mets Player Performance Meter: Pitchers, May 3-9

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A quick review of how the Mets’ pitchers fared over the past week.

New York Mets v St Louis Cardinals

For the second week in a row, there is no red to be found anywhere on the pitching meter, which is a testament to how well Jeremy Hefner’s staff has pitched. Outside of David Peterson’s rough start on Friday in a game the Mets eventually came back to win, none of the Mets pitchers had a net negative performance this week. Due to Peterson’s early exit and deGrom’s start being pushed back due to lat tightness, the bullpen had to do some very heavy lifting this week and did so incredibly well. Mets relievers are second in the National League in bullpen ERA this season and first in the National League in bullpen fWAR. Mets relievers pitched to a 1.34 ERA this week, which is the best mark in all of baseball.

It was a weird turn through the rotation this week for the Mets, but we’ll start with Taijuan Walker, who had the best starting pitching performance this week. Walker tossed seven brilliant innings in Thursday’s victory over the Cardinals, earning the win and helping the Mets salvage a series split. He gave up just one run on one hit. He struck out eight batters and did not walk any. This was an important milestone for Walker, who had struggled to go deep into games in the early going.

Edwin Díaz earned the save in Thursday’s victory, the first of two saves he would earn this week. He worked around two hits to pitch a scoreless ninth in relief of Walker. Díaz’s second save of the week (his fifth of the season) came in yesterday’s game when he was called upon to get a five-out save. It was his first multi-inning save as a Met and it was truly a gutsy performance from Díaz through the raindrops, which earns him a fireball for this week. He inherited a runner and immediately hit a batter with a pitch, but then he buckled down and got the double play he needed to get out of the inning. He then struck out three in the ninth to shut the door. Díaz also pitched a scoreless ninth inning in a tie game on Friday night, helping to set the table for the Mets’ walk-off victory.

It was Aaron Loup who got the win in Friday’s extra-inning walk-off victory for pitching a 1-2-3 tenth inning. Loup appeared in three games in total this week. He gave up a run in the eighth inning of Saturday’s game, but it was a run that did not end up costing the Mets. He also gave up an RBI single that got the Cardinals on the board in nightcap of Wednesday’s doubleheader, but that run was charged to Jordan Yamamoto and also ended up being inconsequential in a game the Mets ended up winning big.

It was good that the Mets bats came out to play on Wednesday night because it was a game that the Mets had to cobble together due Jacob deGrom’s start being pushed back by his tight lat muscle. Miguel Castro served as the opener and gave up a hit and a walk, but ultimately pitched a scoreless first inning. Castro continues to be a vital asset to the Mets bullpen. He was not scored upon in any of his outings this week, which all came in Mets victories. He pitched a scoreless top of the seventh in Friday’s come from behind victory and the Mets would go on to tie the game in the bottom of that frame. He also earned a hold (his second of the season) in yesterday’s game by pitching a scoreless sixth inning in relief of deGrom in which he worked around a walk.

Jordan Yamamoto followed Castro on Wednesday night and gave the Mets 2 23 strong innings of work in his season debut, earning the win for his effort. He gave up one run on four hits—the one run coming as a result of an RBI single allowed by Loup in relief, who inherited a baserunner from Yamamoto.

Jacob deGrom pitched yesterday’s game after declaring himself good to go on Saturday. While his pitching line was good (1 H, 1 ER, 3 BB, 6 K in five innings), it was clear he was not comfortable during the outing. He walked three batters in one inning in fifth—something he never does. As usual, he buckled down and limited the damage by inducing a double play, but that was a sign that something wasn’t right. Sure enough, he exited the game early after throwing one warmup pitch in the sixth with lower back tightness (distinct from the lat issue). An MRI revealed no issues, but today the Mets placed deGrom on the 10-day injured list. This will be reflected in next week’s meter.

I’ve put it off long enough, so let’s deal with the stinker from this week: David Peterson’s outing on Friday. Looking back, it’s almost hard to believe that Friday’s game began with Peterson unable to make it out of the second inning. But sometimes a pitcher just completely loses the plot and that’s what happened to Peterson. Usually Peterson is very good at keeping his composure on the mound and not allowing things to blow up on him, but Friday was an exception. He gave up two singles in the inning before the real trouble began when he walked the opposing pitcher Zac Gallen with two outs to load the bases. He did not get a couple of calls in the inning that he thought he should have and he was rattled. He then hit the next batter with a pitch to force in a run and then walked the two subsequent batters to put the Mets in an early 3-0 hole. Luckily, Luis Rojas was swift with the hook and pulled Peterson from the game with the Mets still within striking distance, which allowed them to ultimately come back and win to bail Peterson out. Hopefully it’s just a blip for the Mets’ young lefty.

Although the bullpen was strong all week long, it was really Friday and Saturday’s contests where the Mets relievers put forth a Herculean effort to earn the Mets wins in both games. After Peterson’s early exit, Robert Gsellman shouldered the brunt of the middle relief. He gave up a run in the third to stretch the Diamondbacks’ lead to 4-0, but held firm after that over 2 13 total innings of work. Gsellman also did some heavy lifting in Monday’s loss, tossing 2 13 scoreless innings in relief of Joey Lucchesi. Although he did not have a good spring, Gsellman has been indispensable for the Mets in middle relief this season.

Tommy Hunter put forth a truly heroic effort for the Mets this week and was instrumental in Friday and Satruday’s wins. He delivered two scoreless innings of work following Gsellman on Friday and then turned right around and served as the opener for Joey Lucchesi on Saturday. He pitched two hitless innings with a strikeout. If he can keep this up, he’ll be a very pleasant surprise for the Mets.

It was a tale of one bad outing and one good outing for Joey Lucchesi this week. As a starter on Monday, he got hammered to the tune of six earned runs on seven hits in 2 23 innings of work. He gave up two home runs in the outing. The second came immediately after narrowly missing a strikeout of Nolan Arenado; Arenado barely got a piece to stay alive in the at-bat and watching from the couch, I almost felt resigned to the home run that inevitably followed. But Lucchesi redeemed himself on Saturday, earning his first win of the season for 3 13 strong innings of work following Hunter in which he gave up just one run on two hits. He struck out three and walked one in the outing. Although it is hardly a large enough sample size to be called a pattern at this point, Lucchesi has performed far better in relief than as a starter this season.

Because the Mets desperately needed fresh arms this week, Sean Reid-Foley was optioned to the minor leagues, but he delivered two scoreless innings in relief of Lucchesi in Monday’s loss, complete with three strikeouts. He will almost certainly return to the Mets bullpen in the immediate future, given the strong resume he has built in his outings.

Satruday’s game ended with Trevor May earning his first save of the season with a scoreless ninth inning of work, capping off yet another strong week for May. Ever since a shaky very first outing as a Met, May has been lights out and this week was no exception. He pitched a scoreless fifth inning (of a seven-inning game) in Wednesday night’s victory and earned his second hold of the season for a scoreless eighth inning in relief of Walker the following day. He gave up two hits, struck out two, and didn’t walk any batters across his three outings this week.

Marcus Stroman took the loss in the first game of Wednesday’s double header. He pitched five innings and gave up four runs. Only two of them were earned due to errors by Pete Alonso and Francisco Lindor, the latter being especially costly. Stroman was hit pretty hard, though. He gave up seven hits, and two of them were home runs. He is continuing to strike out batters at a higher rate though; he recorded six punch-outs over his five innings of work. His season ERA is still a sparkling 2.12. With deGrom missing at least one turn through the rotation, a bounce back outing from Stroman will be critical this week.

It was Jacob Barnes who finished the game in relief of Stroman on Wednesday. He gave up a hit, but pitched a scoreless sixth, striking out two batters in the process. This came on the heels of a scoreless ninth in Monday’s close loss. Barnes was also part of the parade of relievers to hold the Diamondbacks at bay on Friday, working around a single to toss a scoreless seventh with two strikeouts. Barnes’ week ended on a somewhat sour note, though. After a quick 1-2-3 seventh inning of relief in yesterday’s game, Luis Rojas sent Barnes back out for the eighth inning. To lead off the inning, he gave up a solo homer to Asdrubal Cabrera to get the Diamondbacks within two. Then with one out, he gave up a double to bring the tying run to the plate. Although the Mets held on to win the game, it was Barnes’ inability to put the eighth inning to bed that necessitated Díaz coming in for the five-out save. Still, it was an overall strong week for Barnes and he continues to impress out of the bullpen.

It was yet another strong week for Jeruys Familia, who is having himself an impressive 2021 season so far. He tied the bow on Wednesday night’s Game 2 victory with a scoreless seventh inning of work, working around a hit. His outing on Saturday was far more eventful, through no fault of his own, really. Familia entered Satruday’s game in relief of Lucchesi in the sixth and stranded his inherited runner by striking out two straight batters to keep the Mets’ lead in tact. He then came back out for the seventh inning and got two quick outs. But then a ground ball against the shift and two broken bat bloop hits loaded the bases. Unrattled, Familia induced a key groundout off the bat of Christian Walker to end the threat and cap off a truly gutsy performance.