The Mets did not play too many low-scoring games this week, but there was really only one game (yesterday’s) where the pitching completely kept the Mets out of it. The rain messed with the starters’ schedules a bit this week, but with the exception of Carlos Carrasco, the rotation had a pretty good week. This week featured Trevor Williams’ Mets debut, which was a success. The bullpen was a mixed bag. The most trusted relievers mostly performed well, especially Edwin Díaz, but the middle relievers struggled and now the bullpen will be without Drew Smith for the foreseeable future.
We’ll start the meter off with something positive. What a bounce back start Taijuan Walker had on Saturday. And he needed it in the worst way. He went toe-to-toe with one of the best pitchers in the league against one of the best offenses in the league (even without Mookie Betts). He held the Dodgers hitless through 6 1⁄3 innings. Unfortunately the no-hitter was broken up by a game-tying solo homer and the Mets would go on to lose the game. But that doesn’t how much of a huge step forward this was for Walker in what was clearly his best start in the second half so far, for which he earns fireball honors this week. He struck out eight batters and walked three over his 6 2⁄3 total innings of work.
It was Yennsy Díaz who ended up taking the loss on Saturday for allowing the free runner to score in the tenth inning on a Cody Bellinger double. He did well to limit the damage to just the one run and probably wouldn’t earn a down arrow just for that, but he was one of many pitchers that got smacked around on Sunday. To be fair to Díaz, it was his third day of work in a row. But he allowed three runs, two of which came on Max Muncy’s second homer of the night, in his one inning of work. His week started off just fine; he pitched a scoreless seventh inning in Friday night’s game. But the rest of his weekend did not go well, unfortunately.
Of course, Díaz was just one in a long line of pitchers that pitched poorly yesterday. That debacle began with Carlos Carrasco, who had just about as nightmarish of a week as you can imagine. He got lit up by the Dodgers for six runs in two innings yesterday, giving up three long balls in the process. He also gave up a home run in the first inning of Tuesday’s game—a three-run shot to Juan Soto. The game was then suspended and resumed on Wednesday and Carrasco was ultimately charged with a fourth run when Rich Hill allowed the inherited baserunner to score in the second inning. So, all told, that’s a whopping 30.00 ERA for Carrasco this week and a poop emoji. How much of this is a rocky adjustment to pitching in game situations with little ramp up after a long recovery from his hamstring injury is unclear, but what is clear is that Carrasco would like to leave this week behind him.
Rich Hill went on to pitch three innings once the series opener against the Nationals resumed on Wednesday and did not give a good accounting for himself, giving up three runs in three innings of work, in addition to the run that was charged to Carrasco. The Mets came back to win the game, but that was mostly due to the rest of the bullpen, who held it down after Hill’s exit. That was Hill’s only work for the week.
The third run charged to Hill came on a single allowed by Jeurys Familia that scored his inherited runner. That was the only damage done in that inning, in which Familia was not charged with any runs. But it was a rough week for Familia. The seventh inning blew up for the Mets in Game 2 of Thursday’s doubleheader. After Trevor May was unable to close things out, Familia came in with the bases loaded and one out. It’s certainly not an ideal situation, but after getting Victor Robles to pop out for the second out, Familia threw a wild pitch that scored a run and then allowed a game-tying RBI single. Luckily, the Mets were able to walk it off in the bottom of the seventh and bail Familia out, ironically earning him his sixth win of the season. But Familia took the loss the very next day when he allowed the rare leadoff two-run homer in extra innings thanks to the inherited runner. The Mets were unable to come back for a second time on Friday night and the result was a crushing loss to cap off Familia’s week.
As I mentioned, the Nationals’ big seventh inning in Game 2 of Thursday’s doubleheader started with a shaky outing by Trevor May. May allowed back-to-back singles to start the inning and then struck out Josh Bell for the first out, but then walked Gerardo Parra to load the bases, necessitating Familia’s entrance into the game. All three of those runners would come around to score—all charged to May. But May’s other outing this week was a positive one. The day before, May pitched a 1-2-3 eighth inning in the resumed suspended game, after which the Mets went on to take the lead in the bottom of the inning, earning May his fifth win of the season.
Edwin Díaz earned saves on back-to-back days, closing out the resumed game on Wednesday with a 1-2-3 ninth inning (one strikeout) and tossing a scoreless seventh (and final) inning of Game 1 of Thursday’s doubleheader. The second of those two saves was his 25th save of the season. Díaz then pitched for the third consecutive day on Friday, working around a walk and striking out two batters to pitch a scoreless ninth inning in a tie game. It was definitely a strong week for the Mets’ closer and he earns a fireball for three clean sheets on three consecutive days this week.
Before May and Díaz set the Mets up for their comeback on Wednesday, it was strong middle relief from the rest of the bullpen that kept the Mets in the game following the rough start from Carrasco on Tuesday and the rocky outing from Hill when the game resumed on Wednesday. After Familia’s outing in relief of Hill, Miguel Castro and Drew Smith each logged a scoreless inning in relief. Each of them also worked an inning on Friday night; Drew Smith allowed a run on a sacrifice fly, but it was unearned because the runner on second from a leadoff double advanced to third on a throwing error by James McCann. This gave the Dodgers a 4-0 lead at the time, but Castro contributed a scoreless seventh inning before the Mets’ comeback in the bottom of the frame. Castro also pitched a 1-2-3 eighth inning in a tie game on Saturday, complete with two strikeouts, capping off his strong week on a high note. After a rough patch, Castro has had his second strong week in a row. Smith’s week ended less happily, unfortunately. He has landed on the injured list with right shoulder inflammation, which is deeply unfortunate considering how hard he has worked to come back from injury and put together such a solid season. It’s a big blow to the bullpen moving forward.
Friday’s crushing loss began with a solid start from Tylor Megill, who certainly had himself a bounce back week. Megill gave up three runs on six hits over five innings of work—not quite a quality start, but enough to keep the Mets close. Unfortunately the offense was shut down by his counterpart Julio Urías, but they were able to do some damage against the Dodgers’ bullpen and mount a comeback before being ultimately defeated in extra innings. Megill struck out six batters in the outing, which can be viewed as a step forward after hitting his first wall in the majors over the past couple of weeks.
Speaking of steps forward, Marcus Stroman delivered the start the Mets needed in Game 1 of Thursday’s doubleheader, battling through some obvious struggles with dehydration in the mid-90s humidity to earn his eighth win of the season. He held the Nationals to just one run on three hits through 5 1⁄3 innings of work, striking out eight batters and walking two.
With Stroman in a jam in the sixth inning, Aaron Loup came in to put out the fire and did so successfully, getting Josh Bell to ground into a double play after walking Juan Soto. That served as the bridge to Edwin Díaz in the seventh, allowing the Mets to lock down the victory. Loup earned his thirteenth hold of the season for that effort. Loup also acted as a fireman on Saturday, striking out Cody Bellinger in relief of Taijuan Walker to record the final out of the seventh inning in a tie game. That represents Loup’s work for the week and he has arguably been the Mets’ most consistent reliever all season.
Speaking of consistency, Seth Lugo has also bounced back nicely of late. In Game 2 of Thursday’s doubleheader, Lugo provided 1 2⁄3 scoreless innings of relief before things went south for May and Familia. Lugo followed that up with a scoreless ninth inning in a tie game on Saturday, working around a leadoff single by Max Muncy.
Lugo’s strong relief on Thursday came after Trevor Williams impressed in his first start as a Met. With the rainouts, suspensions, and doubleheaders messing with the early part of the week, Williams was called into service to start Game 2 of Thursday’s doubleheader and performed admirably. He gave up a run on three hits in 4 1⁄3 innings of work, walking two batters and striking out two. Williams was promptly optioned back to Triple-A after his start, but he’ll almost certainly be back at some point as the Mets continue to weather this tough part of the schedule.
With Drew Smith on the injured list, the Mets called up Geoff Hartlieb and Jake Reed, who was claimed off waivers in early August. Both of them appeared in yesterday’s blowout loss, to mixed results. Reed bore the brunt in long relief after Carrasco’s early exit and did a great job, tossing three scoreless innings and giving up just two hits. He struck out three batters and walked none. Hartlieb’s outing was not as successful. After a clean seventh inning in which he struck out three batters following a leadoff hit by pitch, things went south for him in his second inning of work. Hartlieb allowed two consecutive two-out, RBI hits after he loaded the bases via two walks and a single and thus was charged with three runs over his two innings of work. However, the game was already far out of reach for the Mets at that point.