Although the pitching meter this week is not as sparkling as it has been in many recent weeks, the Mets’ pitching remains not their problem for the most part. Every game the Mets played in the past week was decided by three runs or less; the pitching staff has kept the Mets in the game, even when it wasn’t always pretty. Although there are some individual poor performances to discuss, when it comes to both the rotation and the bullpen, they have almost never failed as a collective in a given week and this week is no exception. However, due to a combination of injuries and regression, the Mets’ pitching staff is now closer to league average than near the top of the league and that has been the difference between the Mets winning and the Mets losing.
We’ll start with Tylor Megill who hit his first real speed bump since being called up to the big leagues this week. In Monday’s game, he gave up a crushing first-inning grand slam to Lewis Brinson that put the Mets in an immediate 4-0 hole. Because one of the runners reached base via catcher interference, only three of the four runs were earned, but it was nonetheless a rude awakening for Megill, who had been so solid going into that start. Megill gave up another run in the third inning, but did manage to go five innings; the final damage was five runs (four earned) on six hits with four strikeouts and no walks, earning Megill his first loss of the season. His next start on Saturday didn’t go much better and also ended with him taking the loss. He fell victim to the long ball once again, giving up home runs to Brad Miller and Odubel Herrera in the fifth inning that resulted in the Mets falling into a 4-0 hole again. After cruising through the first four innings, he unable to get through the fifth and was charged with the four runs over 4 2⁄3 innings of work. Megill will look to bounce back next week.
Meanwhile, Taijuan Walker continues to struggle in the second half, although his mediocre week can be considered an improvement over his past two weeks. Struggling with the long ball seems to be a theme this week; in Walker’s start on Tuesday he gave up two homers. Luckily they were both solo shots. He was charged with four runs in total over 5 2⁄3 innings of work, striking out four batters and walking none, which is a decent final line. Still, eight hits is too many and navigating that much traffic is not a recipe for going deep into games. Walker took the loss on Tuesday for that effort. He followed that up with a better performance on Sunday—a quality start in which he gave up three runs over six innings of work. But all three of those runs came via the long ball once again. He took yet another loss on Sunday because the Mets were shut out by Zack Wheeler.
As we progress through the week, we now reach the only game the Mets won this week, which was started by Carlos Carrasco. Carrasco was very solid, giving up just two runs in his 4 1⁄3 innings of work, striking out five batters and walking none. However, as is the theme with the starting staff right now, he hit a wall in the fifth inning, which is when those two runs crossed the plate. Carrasco is less to blame for this than others since he is still being stretched out, but the fact remains that the Mets are not getting any length from any of their starters right now and that is putting some strain on the bullpen.
The second of the two runs the Marlins scored in the fifth inning in Wednesday’s victory actually came when Aaron Loup was on the mound. But Loup induced a grounder and the run (charged to Carrasco) scored on a force out, so Loup can hardly be blamed for that. Loup was able to strike out the next batter he faced in the inning to limit the damage and help the Mets go on to win the game. As usual, it was another strong week for Loup, who was not scored upon in any of his appearances this week, the first three of which occurred on three successive days. He pitched a scoreless inning in relief of Megill in Monday’s loss and recorded the final out of the sixth inning in relief of Walker on Tuesday. His final appearance of the week was on Friday when he pitched a scoreless sixth inning in relief of Marcus Stroman, working around a hit and striking out two batters.
Speaking of Marcus Stroman, his start on Friday was a good one, but like the rest of the staff, it was not a particularly long one. Stroman gave up two runs on five hits through five innings of work, striking out five batters and walking one. Like seemingly everyone else on the staff, Stroman gave up a home run in the outing—a solo shot to Didi Gregorius in the second inning. Still, Stroman’s effort should have been enough for the Mets to win, but Edwin Díaz did not have a good outing in relief on Friday and the offense did not do enough as usual.
Edwin Díaz’s poor outing on Friday was his only outing for the week because he spent part of the week on paternity leave due to the birth of his second son. His first time back on the mound was a rude awakening; he gave up a two-run homer to Bryce Harper in the eighth inning that stretched the Phillies’ lead from one run to three. The Mets scored a run in the top of the ninth that would have tied the game if not for the homer, but instead it represented another comeback attempt that fell short.
Sandwiched in between Loup’s scoreless sixth inning and Díaz’s unfortunate eighth inning on Friday night was a 1-2-3 seventh inning from Seth Lugo, who bounced back after a somewhat rocky outing earlier in the week. Lugo was asked to pitch the final two innings in a close game on Tuesday after Loup finished the sixth inning in relief of Walker. He gave up an RBI double in the eighth inning that ended up being the difference in the game, since the Mets managed to score a run in the ninth.
Trevor May continues to build quite the strong body of work in the second half so far. The only outing in which he allowed a run this week came on Monday when he allowed a triple, a walk, and then a run scored on a fielding error. But May was able to limit the damage and that run ended up being rather insignificant in the grand scheme of things. May earned a save on Wednesday for a 1-2-3 ninth inning with two strikeouts in the Mets’ only win of the week. He capped off his week by striking out the side in Sunday’s loss—a very impressive performance that will sadly get lost amongst [gestures broadly at the Mets’ ineptitude].
Jeurys Familia tossed a 1-2-3 seventh inning on Monday in relief of Megill, but sadly his week went downhill from there. He gave up a game-tying home run to Jesus Aguilar in the sixth inning of Wednesday’s game. But luckily the Mets bailed him out thanks to Javy Báez’s go-ahead homer in the eighth. Familia’s really rough outing this week was on Thursday when he gave up three runs in the eighth inning of a tie game and took the loss for that effort. He did manage to bounce back with a scoreless seventh inning in Sunday’s loss, though.
After Familia was only able to record one out in the eighth inning on Thursday, Yennsy Díaz was called upon to bail him out and did so, recording the final two outs of the inning without further incident. Díaz also pitched the final two innings of Saturday’s game and gave up a solo home run to Brad Miller that put the Phillies ahead 5-0. But since the Mets comeback attempt in the ninth fell two runs short, that fifth run ultimately didn’t make a difference in the outcome.
Drew Smith logged a scoreless sixth inning on Saturday, working around a hit and striking out two batters. Smith also navigated traffic on the bases on Thursday, but ultimately worked a scoreless seventh inning in that contest. Smith began his week by earning his first hold of the season with a scoreless eighth inning in Wednesday’s victory.
Miguel Castro earned the win in that contest for a 1-2-3 seventh inning of work, complete with a strikeout. Castro also tossed a 1-2-3 sixth inning in relief of Rich Hill on Thursday and relieved Tylor Megill by recording the final out of the fifth inning on Saturday. After his rough patch, Castro has looked better of late.
Rich Hill delivered arguably the strongest start of any member of the rotation this week, tossing five one-run innings. He gave up just three hits, struck out three batters, and walked one. Although the Mets likely need more length from some guys in the rotation moving forward, five strong innings is something you’ll take from Rich Hill every start; it is what the Mets brought him in to do. Unfortunately his effort was wasted in another hapless performance by the offense on Thursday.