It’s the week of the side arrow in this installment of the pitching meter, as pretty much the entire Mets bullpen logged at least one good performance and one bad one over the course of the week. Meanwhile, the rotation had yet another strong week overall, but this was tarnished somewhat by yet another deGrom injury scare and an actual injury to Joey Lucchesi, which has landed him on the injured list. This week was the start of a grueling stretch of the Mets’ schedule littered with doubleheaders, and the strain on the pitching staff is already beginning to show with not much relief in sight. However, bright spots from the week include a bounce back week from David Peterson, the continued dominance of Marcus Stroman, and Seth Lugo immediately stepping into his desperately needed high-leverage role.
Poor Joey Lucchesi. He had just become entrenched as the Mets’ fifth starter and was growing into the role beautifully, building a solid recent body of work. That continued on Friday, when Lucchesi tossed 5 1⁄3 scoreless innings against the Nationals. The Mets were clearly trying to coax six innings out of him, but it was not to be, as he needed to be bailed out of the inning. Still, it was the third strong showing in a row for the churve-thrower, who has had quite the month of June. But maybe trying to push him deeper into games is what caused some inflammation in his elbow to flare up, which has landed him on the injured list. For now, it does not seem that the injury is particularly serious and hopefully it will only require a brief stint on the IL because the Mets are in dire straits for pitching at the moment.
That sparkling Lucchesi outing unfortunately culminated with Edwin Díaz taking the loss when the Nationals walked off the Mets in the ninth inning on Friday night. Díaz was having a strong week heading into Friday night; he earned his thirteenth save of the season by striking out the side in order on Monday night and notched his fourteenth save on Wednesday night, recording the final out of the ninth inning to bail out Drew Smith and preserve the victory. But, as has been the pattern all year for some reason, Díaz was not sharp in the non-save situation. The trouble started when he walked Juan Soto to lead off the inning; Díaz claimed he had Soto struck out and a look at Gameday will tell you that he had a gripe. However, he was unable to stop things there and gave up back-to-back singles to Ryan Zimmerman and Yan Gomes to end the game. Still, it’s hard to blame Díaz for a loss where the Mets scored no runs.
Speaking of the Mets scoring no runs, they were shut out twice this week and the other shutout came on a day when Marcus Stroman took the loss for seven innings of two-run ball. Stroman’s only mistake was a two-run homer by Javy Báez that ended up being the difference in the game. He struck out eight batters in the outing and walked only one. Stroman may not be the Mets’ most dominant pitcher; that honor is always going to belong to Jacob deGrom. But he’s certainly been the Mets’ most consistent pitcher.
With that, let’s talk about Jacob deGrom’s outing on Wednesday. He pitched three perfect innings and struck out eight. It was vintage deGrom through and through—well on his way to a second straight deGOAT fireball. But once again a small nagging injury forced his early exit; this time it was shoulder soreness. deGrom was visibly frustrated in his postgame press conference, at a loss for why these little things here and there keep happening. But, he once again seems to have avoided the injured list, as his in-between games routine went smoothly and he was cleared to pitch this evening against the Braves, which will all watch with bated breath. His 2021 ERA is 0.54 heading into tonight’s start.
deGrom’s early exit necessitated some heavy lifting from the bullpen, which performed admirably in relief. Namely Sean Reid-Foley earned the win on Wednesday for two scoreless innings of work. Unfortunately for Reid-Foley, his other outing this week did not go as well. In the Mets’ bullpen game in the nightcap of Saturday’s doubleheader, Reid-Foley was one of the many victims of Kyle Schwarber’s bat, giving up a three-run shot to Schwarber that was the death knell to his pitching line. All told, he gave up five runs over 1 2⁄3 innings of work, striking out four batters and walking one.
Robert Gsellman started the bullpen game on Saturday night, pitching the first two innings of the game. He gave up a solo homer to none other than Schwarber to lead off the game. He was otherwise unscored upon, but he gave up tons of hard contact in the first inning and was frankly lucky the damage was not worse. A key double play off the bat of Juan Soto allowed him to avoid the big inning. But unfortunately, Gsellman is the latest Met to hit the injured list and his injury is more serious than Lucchesi’s. He’s been sidelined with a lat tear and if Noah Syndergaard’s experience with that injury is any indication, he could miss a significant amount of time, if not the rest of the season. The Mets will certainly miss his contributions in long relief.
As the 27th man on Saturday, Yennsy Díaz did yeoman’s work in relief, tossing the final 2 1⁄3 innings of the game. He gave up just two hits, struck out two, and walked none. Díaz has been very solid in limited time so far this season and given the Mets’ current pitching situation, he’ll likely be back in the big league bullpen before long.
Following a poop emoji last week, this week was huge for David Peterson. He made two starts and was good in both of them, but especially his first start of the week, which came on Monday. Peterson held the Cubs to just one hit through six innings of work, striking out three batters and walking two. His six scoreless inning performance earned him his second win of the season. Peterson did not pitch deep enough into the game to earn the win on Saturday afternoon, but he was charged with just one run over 4 2⁄3 innings. He walked three batters and struck out six in the outing.
Peterson was charged with that one run because Aaron Loup failed to do his job in relief on Saturday afternoon. It was a bit of a misleading week for Loup because he was not charged with any runs across his four appearances this week, but there were a couple of occasions where he did not retire the batter he was brought in the game to face. That was the case on Saturday afternoon, when he came in the game with a runner on second and allowed an RBI single; that run was charged to Peterson. He then walked a batter, but was able to finally put the inning to bed with the Mets still comfortably in front, which meant he earned the win for the effort. Loup recorded the first two outs of the eighth inning on Friday night before allowing a single to (you guessed it) Kyle Schwarber, which necessitated Seth Lugo coming into the game, but no damage was done as a result. Loup’s week began strong, though. He earned his ninth hold of the season with 1 1⁄3 scoreless innings of work in relief of Peterson on Monday, over which he struck out two batters. Loup was also one of many relievers to log a scoreless inning in relief of deGrom on Wednesday.
Loup had to record the final out of the seventh inning on Monday because Trevor May was ineffective in his first outing of the week, giving up back-to-back solo homers to Anthony Rizzo and Patrick Wisdom. However, that did not cost the Mets the game and May’s week improved dramatically from there. He pitched a scoreless eighth inning in relief of deGrom in Wednesday’s victory, striking out the side in that outing. He also tossed a 1-2-3 ninth inning in Thursday’s loss, holding the deficit to just two runs. He pitched a scoreless final inning on Saturday afternoon as well, working around a hit and a walk to secure the victory, thanks to a key double play off the bat of Josh Bell. Whether it had been due to fatigue, illness, or some combination, May had been having a rough time of it of late, but it looks like his fortunes have turned for the better.
Other than Peterson, Taijuan Walker was the other Met starter to pitch twice this week. His first outing of the week was outstanding, while his outing yesterday was mediocre. Walker earned his sixth win of the season on Tuesday with seven fantastic innings of work. Much like Stroman, his only mistake was a two-run homer by Javy Báez, but the Mets gave Walker enough run support to overcome it. Walker struck out a career-high twelve batters in the outing and didn’t walk any, which lowered his season ERA to 2.12 at the time. However, Walker took the loss yesterday for a so-so performance, his first misstep in some time. He was able to limit the Nationals to just four runs over his 6 1⁄3 innings of work, but there was traffic on the bases constantly. He gave up ten hits in the outing, one of them a home run to (yes) Kyle Schwarber. He struck out five hitters in the outing and walked none.
Seth Lugo pitched the final two innings of the game in relief of Walker on Tuesday, earning his first save of the season. He gave up two hits, walked a batter, and struck out three. Lugo was unscored upon in any of his three outings this week. Lugo came in a scoreless game in the eighth inning on Friday night and got a key strikeout of Trea Turner with the go-ahead run on base. He did the same thing the following afternoon, helping Miguel Castro get out of a jam by getting Schwarber to ground out to end the sixth inning and protect the lead, earning his fourth hold of the season.
Though Miguel Castro needed Lugo’s help to get out of the sixth inning on Saturday afternoon, he pitched 3 1⁄3 total scoreless innings of work over his three outings this week. After issuing back-to-back walks with one out to light-hitting Nationals on Saturday, he did bounce back to retire Ryan Zimmerman before Lugo came in to finish the inning. His other two outings this week were much smoother. He pitched a 1-2-3 seventh inning in relief of deGrom on Wednesday with two strikeouts. Castro was also the first pitcher to come into the game in relief of Lucchesi on Friday night. After Lucchesi gave up a one-out single to Trea Turner and then walked Juan Soto on four pitches, Castro was called upon to escape the jam in the scoreless game. He did so by getting Ryan Zimmerman to ground into a double play and then logged a 1-2-3 seventh inning as well.
Like much of the rest of the bullpen, Jeurys Familia and Drew Smith each had one bad outing and one good outing this week. Smith’s bad outing came on Wednesday, when he was called upon to pitch the ninth inning with a five-run lead. However, he was unable to complete the inning, giving up a two-run homer to Rafael Ortega and then allowing a single to the light-hitting Sergio Alcantara, necessitating Díaz coming in the game to record the final out. Smith bounced back yesterday with a scoreless eighth inning, working around a hit and striking out a batter.
Jeurys Familia’s week was the reverse of Smith’s in that it started well and ended poorly. Familia pitched a 1-2-3 dominant eighth inning in relief of Stroman in Thursday’s loss to keep the game close. However, after Taijuan Walker gave up a one-out double in the seventh inning yesterday, Familia came in the game and gave up a two-run homer to (of course) Kyle Schwarber. He then walked a batter, allowed a single, and there was a double-steal before he magically wormed his way out of the inning by striking out back-to-back hitters.