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Mets Player Performance Meter: Pitchers, September 20-26

A quick review of how the Mets’ pitchers fared over the past week.

New York Mets v Milwaukee Brewers Photo by John Fisher/Getty Images

This is a rare situation where this meter looks better than it actually is. One can intuit that knowing that the Mets did not win any games this week. But, for the first time in a long time (if ever), the Mets’ rotation as a group had a pretty bad week, with the exception of Rich Hill. Usually it is the reverse; one or two starters might have a bad start in a given week, but they rarely fail as a group or as a majority. But that is what happened this week and because the bad performances came from the guys that pitch the most innings, it made for a bad week for the pitching staff. The bullpen actually pitched pretty well collectively this week, but they rarely had a lead to protect, so their strong work had very little impact, unfortunately.

One big theme this week is that Mets starters continue to give up home runs at an alarming rate. The long ball bit Marcus Stroman this week in his first mediocre start in some time. Three of the four runs Stroman surrendered in Tuesday’s loss came via the home run. In total, he gave up seven hits and the four runs across five innings of work. He struck out three and walked two in the outing. Stroman had been cruising and the Mets had a lead entering the fifth, but that is when he gave up both home runs and the Red Sox did not look back from there.

The Red Sox added two runs to their lead on Tuesday as a result of some shaky control on the part of Miguel Castro and Brad Hand. With two outs, Castro was unable to close the book on the inning, hitting a batter with a pitch and then walking the next batter. Hand was then called upon to face the lefty Kyle Schwarber and walked him to load the bases. Then, Hand gave up a single to Xander Boegarts, which plated two runs, charged to Castro. Luckily for both pitchers, their weeks improved from there. Hand’s week was a bit of a rollercoaster though; he bounced back to pitch a 1-2-3 eighth inning in a lopsided loss the next day, complete with two strikeouts. But then he gave up a run on a triple and a sacrifice fly in the fifth inning of Friday’s loss. But he ended his week on a high note, working around a walk to toss a scoreless eighth inning on Sunday. Meanwhile, Castro had a clean sheet for the rest of his week. On Friday, he worked around a walk to pitch a scoreless seventh inning and on Sunday he pitched a 1-2-3 fifth inning complete with a strikeout.

After Castro and Hand widened the gulf on Tuesday, Heath Hembree stopped the bleeding with two hitless innings of relief. He struck out one batter in the outing and walked none. It was a very strong week overall for Hembree. He pitched a 1-2-3 sixth inning on Friday with two strikeouts and a 1-2-3 seventh inning on Sunday with a strikeout, completing a week where not a single batter reached base against him in four innings across three appearances.

In a week of bad starting pitching performances, Taijuan Walker’s was the worst. Like Stroman, he too gave up two home runs; both of them were off the bat of Kyle Schwarber (now a well-practice slugger of home runs against the Mets)—one solo shot and one three-run shot. Walker was knocked out of the game on Wednesday after just two innings. All told, he gave up six runs on six hits, striking out one and walking two. It’s been a nightmare of a second half for Walker, who took his eleventh loss of the season.

The Red Sox then blew the doors off the game to the detriment of Trevor Williams, who was asked to do mop-up duty and poured gasoline on the fire. He surrendered an additional six runs, but only four of them were earned due to the poor defense played behind him. He struck out four batters and walked one over his four innings of work, which represent his only appearance for the week. Although he wasn’t assisted but the defense, it’s still Williams’ first truly bad outing as a Met. Hopefully it’s just a bump in the road for him.

Sandwiched between Williams’ work in long relief and Brad Hand’s scoreless inning to finish out Wednesday’s laugher was a scoreless seventh inning from Jeruys Familia, whose week unfortunately got worse after that. Familia’s only other outing this week came on Sunday and it did not go well. With the Mets having pulled within a run, the Brewers scored three runs in the bottom of the sixth inning. But, that was mostly due to very sloppy defense on the part of the Mets. Ultimately, Familia was only charged with one earned run, but he still looked shaky in the outing.

With the inning prolonged, Aaron Loup followed Familia and two inherited runners from Familia crossed the plate with him on the mound, but those runs were not charged to Loup. Loup then walked a batter before finally recording a strikeout to end the inning, but the damage was done. Hard to ding Loup for that though, as his season ERA dipped under 1 to 0.97 for the year as he capped off another week without an earned run on his scoresheet. Loup worked around a walk and a hit to toss a scoreless sixth inning on Saturday.

Saturday’s game was the closest contest the Mets played in this week and also represented the best starting pitching performance of the week, which came from Rich Hill. Hill dealt with a lot of traffic on the bases, especially in the early going, partially thanks to four walks, but he limited the Brewers to two runs on just two hits over five innings of work. He also struck out six in the outing.

The bullpen held the Brewers in check on Saturday as well, putting up a collective three additional scoreless innings of work. In addition to the scoreless inning by Loup, Trevor May and Seth Lugo each contributed a scoreless inning of relief, striking out a batter apiece. For both of them, it was their only appearance of the week. Unfortunately, the Mets’ offense was stymied by NL Cy Young contender Corbin Burnes and the sparkling work on the part of Hill and the bullpen was squandered.

Tylor Megill’s nightmarish stretch of outings continued this week, especially his proclivity for giving up home runs lately. Although much of the Mets rotation was bitten by that bug this week, no one suffered the effects more than Megill, who gave up three home runs in his start on Friday night—a solo shot to lead off the game in the first inning and another solo shot plus a two-run bomb in the third inning. That represented all of the Brewers’ runs off Megill: four runs on five hits over four innings of work. Megill also walked four and struck out two in the outing—not a good ratio for success. In his rookie season, Megill is far surpassing any previous workload he has had as a professional, which may be affecting him, despite his insistence that his arm feels good.

Since the Mets did not have a lead late in any game this week, Edwin Díaz’s only appearance came in relief of Megill in the eighth inning on Friday in a non-save situation with the Mets down four runs. He tossed a 1-2-3 inning with two strikeouts.

Carlos Carrasco put forth an outing similarly mediocre as Megill’s this week, as his first inning struggles continue. After the Mets took the lead early on a Francisco Lindor solo homer on Sunday, Carrasco—you guessed it—immediately surrendered a two-run homer in the bottom of the first to put the Brewers right back in front. And in front they would remain. Carrasco gave up an additional three runs in the second inning to make five runs on seven hits over four innings of work. Like the rest of the rotation, he also walked far too many batters this week—four walks against three strikeouts. With Carrasco returning to the team next year, it’s hard to know exactly what the Mets will have in him for a fully healthy season.