As usual, the pitching meter looks miles better than the hitting meter. Although the Mets only won two of their seven games this week, the pitching staff only gave up more than four runs once (Monday’s game) and every loss was decided by three runs or less. The pitching staff’s 3.54 ERA over this seven-game stretch was top 10 in baseball and with the exception of Monday’s game, didn’t really have any blowups this week. The staff has mostly done its job of keeping the Mets in games, even without Jacob deGrom. The offense simply isn’t doing its job.
Since Monday’s game was the exception to an otherwise pretty strong week from the pitching staff, let’s start with that game. Rich Hill started that game and only gave up two runs, but he ran out of gas in the fourth inning and needed to be pulled early. All told, he gave up six hits, struck out two, and walked none over his 3 2⁄3 innings of work. He was able to go his requisite five innings in his next start on Saturday, giving up three runs on six hits in the process. Hill was really punished by the home run in that start; all three of the runs he gave up were on solo homers. Still, it was about as decent a start as you can expect from Hill at this point, but he took the loss for that effort.
The problem on Monday was that the bullpen poured gasoline on the fire after Hill’s exit from the game. Although Miguel Castro was able to avoid further damage in the fourth inning by recording the final out, he gave up a two-run homer to Kris Bryant in the next inning that put the Giants back in front after the Mets had managed to take the lead. Castro bounced back to log a scoreless seventh inning in Wednesday’s victory (which helps him avoid the poop emoji), but he had a disastrous outing on Saturday, once again in relief of Hill. He came in the game in the sixth inning and allowed a leadoff single and immediately walked three straight batters to force in a run. Somehow he managed to get out of the inning without allowing anything else, but given that the Mets tried to claw back and fell just one run short (as usual), it makes it all the more frustrating.
The other reliever who had a rough day on Monday was Trevor May, who gave up back-to-back solo homers to Brandon Belt and Kris Bryant to lead off the seventh inning. He went on to give up a third run on a walk and a triple to cap off an ugly outing that put the game out of reach for the Mets. May’s week improved from there, though. He tossed a 1-2-3 eighth inning with a strikeout in Wednesday’s extra-inning win and a 1-2-3 eighth inning on Friday with two strikeouts. He ended his week on a high note, earning his eleventh hold of the season for a 1-2-3 seventh inning in Sunday’s victory.
That came in relief of Marcus Stroman, who had himself a very solid week. He earned his ninth win of the season for a quality start on Sunday in which he gave up two runs on four hits over six innings of work. He struck out six batters and walked two in the outing. Stroman also had a quality start on Tuesday, giving the Mets length with seven innings of three-run ball. It was the home run ball (which he avoided on Sunday) which plagued Stroman on Tuesday; all of the Giants’ runs in that game came via the home run. He struck out nine Giants and walked two in the outing. Unfortunately, because of the Mets’ inept offense, Stroman took the loss for that effort. His season ERA stands at 2.85, which is the ninth-best mark in baseball.
Because Stroman went deep into the game on Tuesday, the Mets needed just one inning out of their bullpen that day. Aaron Loup pitched a 1-2-3 eighth inning in relief of Stroman. It was yet another week of clean sheets for Loup, whose 1.17 season ERA is fourth best in baseball among qualified relievers. Loup’s week began with an outing in which he was tasked with retiring a single batter. He came on with men on in the sixth inning on Monday and got Mike Yastrzemski to ground out to end that threat. He also pitched back-to-back days over the weekend, tossing a 1-2-3 sixth inning in relief of Carlos Carrasco on Friday and retiring three batters in order in the seventh inning on Saturday after Jeurys Familia allowed a leadoff single in his second inning of work. For his continued dominance, he earns a fireball this week.
As far as Carlos Carrasco goes, his outing on Friday was certainly an improvement over last week. He was hit hard early, but then settled down nicely after that, giving up three runs in total over five innings of work, striking out six batters and walking one. He threw 78 pitches, which is the most he’s thrown in a start so far—hopefully an indicator that he is slowly being ramped up to go deeper into games. Unfortunately, the Mets were unable to give him sufficient run support so he took the loss for that effort.
The bullpen contributed strong work in relief of Carrasco, giving the Mets the chance to come back, which the fell short of doing as usual. After Loup and May each contributed a 1-2-3 inning, Seth Lugo followed in kind with a 1-2-3 eighth inning, striking out a batter in the process. He did the same thing the next day, tossing a 1-2-3 eighth inning on Saturday to keep the Mets within a run and set up an opportunity for them to come back in the ninth, which they failed to capitalize on. That capped off a spotless week for Lugo, who also pitched a hitless eighth inning in Monday’s loss.
The Mets did not have many leads to protect this week so Edwin Díaz only appeared in two games—the two games the Mets won. Díaz contributed a Herculean effort to Wednesday’s extra inning victory, tossing two hitless innings in the ninth and tenth. He also locked down the victory in a non-save situation on Sunday, retiring the Dodgers in order with a strikeout.
Unlike Díaz in the tenth, Jeurys Familia allowed the free runner to score in the eleventh inning on Wednesday on an RBI single by Tommy La Stella, which tied up the game and sent it to the twelfth inning. Luckily Familia stopped the bleeding there and Kevin Pillar’s long ball bailed him out and therefore he ended up earning the win in that game. Otherwise, Familia was unscored upon this week, despite some traffic on the base paths in his outings (and his ERA for the week is indeed 0.00, since the free runner scoring is not charged as an earned run). In the sixth inning of Monday’s game, he allowed back-to-back one-out singles, but bounced back to strike out La Stella for the second out before Loup came in to record the final out of the inning. After Castro’s rocky outing on Saturday, Familia righted the ship, retiring Will Smith, Cody Bellinger, and Justin Turner with the bases loaded to avoid further damage and keep the Mets in the game. He allowed a leadoff single in the next inning and then was removed from the game in favor of Loup, who did not allow the inherited runner to score. Familia capped off his week by working around a hit to pitch a scoreless seventh inning in relief of Stroman on Sunday, earning his ninth hold of the season.
After Kevin Pillar’s big home and Chance Sisco’s double gave the Mets a four-run lead in the top of the twelfth on Wednesday, Jake Reed came in in the bottom of the frame to shut the door and did so, striking out two batters en route to a 1-2-3 inning. Unfortunately Reed, who was looking like a really nice pickup for the Mets, was placed on the injured list on Friday with right forearm inflammation. He was unscored upon in his four total innings of work with the Mets prior to the injury.
Taijuan Walker had a so-so start in his most recent outing on Thursday, giving up four runs on six hits over six innings of work with four strikeouts. Unfortunately, the Mets’ impotent lineup was completely shut down by the Dodgers in a bullpen game no less, so Walker took the loss for that effort. He is now 7-8 on the year with a 3.86 ERA.
Somewhat forgotten amongst all the frustrating losses and missed opportunities this week was Trevor Williams’ strong work in relief of Walker. Williams pitched two hitless innings to finish out Thursday’s game, walking one batter and striking out two in the process while saving the bullpen. It seems as if the Mets will continue to call on Williams in long relief and the trade acquisition has done well in that role so far.