Usually the refrain with these meters is, “Hey, that position player meter may have been painful to look at, but check out how nice the pitching meter is!” This week, that is not the case; the pitching meter is not here to save the day. In fact, it might be even worse than the position player meter. Although the back end of the Mets’ bullpen generally did just fine, it was a horrible week for the middle relievers, which included a couple of poop emoji performances and several others that bordered on poop emoji territory. On the bright side, the rotation generally had a good week, but Tylor Megill threw a clunker, unfortunately, putting up the rare “fireball to poop emoji” downfall.
Since I mentioned Tylor Megill’s clunker, we’ll get that out of the way first. There’s no way around it; it was bad. The Cardinals dropped a five spot on Megill in the first inning on Wednesday and it was looking like he might not even get out of the inning at all, but Yadier Molina grounded into a double play with two runs already in and nobody out. Otherwise, the damage may have been even worse. Megill was finally able to record the final out by striking out the pitcher and he pitched two scoreless innings after the initial blowup, but then was unable to record an out in the fourth inning before being removed from the game. He gave up a solo homer to lead off that frame and then two more hits after that before Luis Rojas finally pulled the plug. So all told, Megill was charged with six runs on nine hits in 3+ innings of work with three strikeouts and two walks. That ugly performance earns him a poop emoji for the week.
If Megill’s performance wasn’t bad enough, the bullpen made it worse. Heath Hembree had his first stinker of a performance after having pitched so well heading into Wednesday’s game. Hembree pitched scoreless innings in each of Monday’s and Tuesday’s contest, but a third day of pitching in a row did him in this week. He gave up three runs on five hits, unable to complete the eighth inning on Wednesday and blowing the doors completely off the game.
Similarly, prior to Hembree’s performance, Seth Lugo poured gasoline on the fire as well in what was not a good week for him. Lugo allowed two solo homers to Paul Goldschmidt and Nolan Arenado in the seventh inning of Wednesday’s game. The walks bit Lugo in his outing on Friday night, in which he issued two straight one-out free passes, the first of which came around to score on a sacrifice fly. Lugo ended his week on a positive note, but did require some assistance to do so. On Sunday, Lugo entered a tie game in the seventh inning and struck out the first two batters, but then allowed a single and a walk to bring up Bryce Harper with the go-ahead run in scoring position. Luckily, that run did not come around to score.
That is because Aaron Loup contributed a Herculean effort in relief, as he has done all year long. Loup was brought in to face Harper and although he ultimately walked Harper on a 3-2 pitch to load the bases, he still escaped the inning with the game tied by forcing a ground ball off the bat of J.T. Realmuto. The Mets took the lead in the bottom of the frame and Loup pitched a scoreless eighth inning as well, earning him his sixth win of the year against no losses. Loup also earned his seventeenth hold of the season with a scoreless seventh inning in Tuesday’s extra inning loss and he pitched a 1-2-3 sixth inning on Friday night. Loup’s season ERA is now 1.00 on the dot, which leads baseball among qualified relievers. He has also repeatedly stated his desire to stay a Met and the Mets should make it so.
Edwin Díaz earned the save—his 30th of the season—in the Mets’ only win this week, closing the door by pitching a 1-2-3 ninth inning on Sunday. This capped off a clean sheet week for Díaz to bounce back from his uneven week last week. Díaz began his week by pitching a scoreless top of the ninth with the Mets down a run on Tuesday, setting the table for the Mets tying up the game in the bottom of the inning to send the game to extras. Díaz also tossed a scoreless ninth inning with the Mets at a one-run deficit on Friday, but unfortunately that game also ended in a loss. Still, it was a strong week for Díaz overall.
Díaz’s 30th save came in relief of Rich Hill, who had two solid starts this week. Hill ran out of gas in the fifth inning on Sunday, but held the Phillies to two runs on six hits over 4 2⁄3 innings, while striking out an impressive seven batters and walking none over that span. Hill unfortunately took the loss for a solid start on Monday in which he put forth his usual Rich Hill performance: three runs on six hits in five innings of work with four strikeouts and two walks. But, the Mets were shut out on Monday by Adam Wainwright, so unfortunately Hill’s performance was somewhat forgotten. But Hill has quietly done exactly what the Mets acquired him to do at the deadline.
To add insult to injury, Monday’s shutout was a blowout loss and that was mostly due to a disastrous outing from Yennsy Díaz, who worked around a hit to pitch a scoreless eighth inning, but had everything unravel for him in the ninth. With one out in the ninth, six straight Cardinals reached base against Díaz and three runs scored. As he was unable to finish the inning and one of the inherited runners from him came around to score, he was ultimately charged with four runs in 1 1⁄3 innings in his only appearance for the week, which earns him the poop emoji.
Trevor Williams came in to bail out Díaz and allowed a single to allow one of his inherited runners to score, but then struck out two straight batters to limit the damage (although the overall damage was already extensive at that point). The next day, in Tuesday’s extra inning game, Williams was brought on in the eleventh after Jake Reed imploded (more on that later) and induced a key double play off the bat of Paul Goldschmidt to stop the bleeding. For getting the job done in the higher leverage situation, he gets an up arrow for this week.
Marcus Stroman delivered yet another quality start on Tuesday that unfortunately also was ultimately a Mets loss. But that loss was not because of Stroman, who gave up just two runs on four hits over six innings of work, striking out eight batters and walking one. It’s the second strong week in a row for Stroman, who is finishing the season strong and setting himself up for a nice payday in free agency—hopefully from the Mets.
Stroman’s bullpen let him down on Tuesday and the first culprit was Jeurys Familia, who issued a one-out walk to Paul Goldschmidt in the eighth inning and then allowed a go-ahead two-run homer to Tyler O’Neill. The next two batters reached on a single and a catcher’s interference and Familia had to be bailed out of the inning to avoid further damage. Familia also came in with runners on in the eighth inning of Friday’s game and allowed an RBI double to Didi Gregorious, which ultimately proved to be the decisive run in the game even though it was not charged to Familia. The rest of Familia’s weekend went better for him; he pitched a 1-2-3 eighth inning on Saturday and struck out J.T. Realmuto with runners on in the fifth inning on Sunday to help finish out that frame for Rich Hill.
The second culprit on Tuesday was Jake Reed, who rounds out our trio of pitchers earning poop emojis this week in his very first week back from the injured list. In his first appearance back, Reed was immediately thrust into a high leverage situation and it did not go well for him. Reed came into a tie game in the eleventh inning and not only allowed the free runner to score, but allowed two more runs after that before being yanked in favor of Williams, who was able to finally put the inning to bed. The Mets managed to claw back two runs in the bottom of the inning, so if Reed had been merely mediocre instead of bad, the Mets may have eked out a victory on Tuesday. Although he wasn’t exactly put in the best position to succeed, it’s still hard to argue against the poop emoji for Reed this week. Reed did have one other appearance this week; after Heath Hembree’s disastrous eighth inning on Wednesday, Reed was called upon to record the final out of that inning. He did so successfully, but the Mets were down 11-4 by that point.
The first reliever called upon after Tylor Megill’s early exit on Wednesday was Miguel Castro, who delivered two scoreless innings in relief as the centerpiece for a very strong week for him. Castro also pitched a scoreless seventh inning complete with two strikeouts in relief of Rich Hill on Monday before things blew up on Yennsy Díaz. And despite loading the bases in the eighth inning of Saturday’s game, Castro got himself out of the self-made jam and did not allow a run in that frame.
Saturday’s starter was Carlos Carrasco, who has settled into his pattern of allowing a first inning home run, but settling in just fine after that. This game was no exception. He allowed a first inning solo homer to Jean Segura, but allowed just two runs total over six innings of work. In fact, the other run came on another solo homer by Jean Segura, this time in the third inning. But that was all the damage to speak of off Carrasco, who struck out five batters and walked two in the outing. Unfortunately, like Stroman earlier in the week, Carrasco was let down by his bullpen. And he was also let down by the offense, as he left the game with the Mets not having scored off Aaron Nola and he took the loss for his quality start—his third loss of the season.
The bullpen culprit on Saturday was Brad Hand, who has not distinguished himself as a Met. He allowed back-to-back doubles to lead off the seventh inning and then after recording the first out, he hit Odubel Herrera with a pitch (after replay review determined it to be a HBP). He then was pulled after just 1⁄3 of an inning, but the runners he left on base would ultimately come around to score. Pete Alonso made an error on a pickoff attempt, so ultimately only one of the three runs charged to Hand was earned, but it was still not a good performance from him. A run was also charged to Hand in 2⁄3 of an inning on Friday when Familia allowed the RBI double to Gregorious, scoring his inherited runner. However, Hand did pitch a scoreless sixth inning, following Miguel Castro after Tylor Megill’s early exit on Wednesday.
Friday’s starter was Taijuan Walker. It is perhaps unfair to slap the side arrow on Walker, given his performance was solid. He gave up just two runs on three hits over five innings of work, striking out three batters and walking none. It is more Luis Rojas’ fault than Walker’s that he received the side arrow, as Walker was pulled after just 88 pitches and was therefore unable to go for the quality start. Unfortunately, like many of the other members of the Mets rotation this week, he was let down by his bullpen and that resulted in him being hung with the loss. He is now 7-10 on the season.
Rounding out the contingent of back-end relievers who had strong weeks is Trevor May, who was not charged with any runs over his four appearances this week. May’s only hiccup this week was allowing a double to Bryce Harper in the seventh inning of Saturday’s game after coming in to bail out Brad Hand. He was otherwise spotless this week. After Familia allowed the go-ahead homer in the eighth inning of Tuesday’s game and subsequently allowed two more runners to reach, May came in to record the final two outs of the inning and hold the Cardinals there, allowing the Mets to come back and tie the game. May also pitched a scoreless ninth inning in Wednesday’s lopsided loss. Finally, May capped off his week by striking out the side in the sixth inning of Sunday’s victory.