The story of the final pitching meter of the 2022 season is a rather simple one: The Mets’ bullpen actually performed quite well, but when the Mets’ needed their top three starting pitchers most, they came up short in the Braves series. If even one of them had a dominant outing like we are used to seeing, we may be having a very different conversation right now. Instead, they have a chance to redeem themselves in a Wild Card series that the Mets did not necessarily expect to be playing in.
Of the Mets’ top three starters, Jacob deGrom provided the best performance, but it was still not a dominant one. He did strike out eleven batters, but he also yielded three solo homers. Even when otherwise dominant, deGrom has been vulnerable to the long ball of late. Still, though it doesn’t meet the otherworldly standards set for deGrom, three runs in six innings is a quality start and should have been enough for the Mets to win. But for that effort, deGrom took the loss instead. deGrom finishes the regular season with a 3.08 ERA; we are certainly not used to seeing an ERA from deGrom that starts with a three, but helping to spearhead a deep postseason run can certainly erase any memories of his struggles.
One of the only poor bullpen performances to speak of was that of Tylor Megill in relief of deGrom in the series opener in Atlanta. Megill allowed two key insurance runs in the seventh inning. Megill has not looked sharp out of the bullpen since returning from the injured list, but his other two outings in the final eight games of the season were more successful than the one in Atlanta. He walked two batters in the series opener against the Marlins, but was able to escape that eighth inning unscathed. Then, he pitched the final two innings of the lopsided nightcap on Tuesday against the Nationals, allowing two hits, striking out one, and walking none. Megill has made the Mets’ Wild Card roster in a bullpen role, but his status in the later rounds if the Mets advance may be questionable once a fourth starting pitcher is needed on the roster.
In the second game of the Atlanta series, Max Scherzer did not give the Mets the performance they needed from him. Like deGrom before him, Scherzer was vulnerable to the home run hitting Braves, who went deep twice against him—Dansby Swanson in the fifth and Matt Olsen in the sixth. Buck Showalter probably stayed with Scherzer a bit too long, but it’s hard to argue an outing in which Scherzer could not make it through six innings was a success. Scherzer allowed a total of four runs on nine hits, striking out four batters and walking none. He took his fifth loss of the season in his final regular season start.
But arguably the worst starting pitching performance in the Atlanta series came from Chris Bassitt, not just because of the pitching line on paper, but because the game loomed even bigger with the Mets having dropped the first two. The Mets desperately needed Bassitt to come up big and he did not. Unable to put away batters, his pitch count ballooned early as he walked three batters in just 2 2⁄3 innings of work. He allowed four runs on three hits—one of his worst starts as a Met.
As a result of Bassitt’s early exit, the Mets’ bullpen was forced to do a lot of heavy lifting in the series finale in Atlanta. Trevor May got a huge final out in the third inning to keep the Mets’ deficit to just one run and then pitched a scoreless fourth inning as well, striking out two batters in the outing. It was a strong final eight games for May, who also stopped the bleeding in the series opener when things went awry for Tylor Megill, striking out Ronald Acuña to strand a runner in scoring position. Finally, May worked around a walk to pitch a scoreless eighth inning in the final game of the season.
Trevor Williams took care of the bulk of the pitching in the final game of the regular season, going six innings following an opener and giving up just two runs on six hits. He struck out six batters and walked one in the outing and earned his third win of the year. With him throwing so many innings on Wednesday, Williams was left off the Wild Card roster, but might be the long man in the bullpen in subsequent rounds, should the Mets advance. Williams was knocked around a little bit in the series opener against the Marlins, giving up two runs on three hits and striking out two.
Mychal Givens served as the opener on Wednesday ahead of Williams, returning from the COVID injured list for a tune-up before the postseason. Givens worked around a hit to pitch a scoreless inning. After a very rough start as a New York Met, Givens settled in down the stretch run.
Williams had to come into the series opener against the Marlins in the fourth inning because Carlos Carrasco pitched poorly, giving up four runs on six hits in just three innings of work. He struck out two and walked one in the outing. Carrasco bounced back somewhat in the day game of Tuesday’s doubleheader, giving up two runs on five hits in four innings of work. With the postseason approaching, Carrasco was not pushed deep into the game. With a fourth starter not needed for the Wild Card round, both Carrasco and Taijuan Walker were left off the roster. Both will likely be on the roster in subsequent rounds if the Mets advance, but which one gets the ball behind the Mets’ top three is unclear; Carrasco certainly did not help himself with that performance against the Marlins last week.
Speaking of Taijuan Walker, he closed his season on a more positive note. He was so-so in the second game of the Marlins series, giving up three runs on six hits over five innings of work. He struck out eight batters and walked two. The Mets let Walker off the hook by coming from behind to win the game in extra innings thanks to Eduardo Escobar’s heroics. Walker pitched 4 1⁄3 scoreless innings in his final tune-up before the postseason in nightcap of Tuesday’s doubleheader. He yielded just four hits and struck out ten batters while walking none.
Stephen Nogosek, called up as the extra man for the doubleheader, pitched 2 2⁄3 scoreless innings in relief of Walker. He gave up three hits, struck out six batters, and walked none, looking awfully strong in his final Mets appearance of the regular season. He earned himself a win—his only win of 2022—for that effort.
Joely Rodríguez was the final pitcher to get an inning of work in on Wednesday, pitching a scoreless ninth inning to seal the Mets’ 101st win of 2022. Rodríguez has been on fire down the stretch and he finished his season strong, unscored upon in any of his three appearances across the final three series of the season. Rodríguez pitched a 1-2-3 eighth inning in the series opener in Atlanta and also faced three batters in the final game of the Braves series and retired them all, two of them via the strikeout.
It’s been encouraging to see Edwin Díaz looking sharp heading into the postseason, even given his reduced workload of late. He produced a spotless ledger across four appearances in the Mets’ final eight games of the season. He worked around a hit and struck out three batters in the series opener against the Marlins and turned around the following day to strike out the side in the ninth inning to give the Mets a chance to walk it off in regulation. He also recorded the final two outs of the eighth inning in the final game of the Braves series to keep the Mets within striking distance and earned his 32nd save of the year Tuesday’s Game 1 victory over the Nationals. Díaz ended the regular season having struck out 50.2% of the batters he faced.
Drew Smith put forth a very impressive outing in the Mets’ extra-inning victory over the Marlins, pitching a 1-2-3 top of the tenth to strand the free runner, striking out two batters in the process. He earned his third win of the season for that effort. In the eighth inning of the second game of the Atlanta series, Smith struck out the only batter he faced for the final out of the eighth inning. He looked slightly more hittable in his final regular season outing, giving up two hits in the fifth inning of Game 1 of Tuesday’s doubleheader in relief of Carrasco. But he kept the Nationals off the board to preserve the lead, striking out one batter and walking none.
David Peterson followed Smith with a 1-2-3 sixth inning in Game 1 on Tuesday. Peterson also put up a clean sheet this week across 3 2⁄3 total innings of work. He pitched two scoreless innings—also in relief of Carrasco—in the series opener against the Marlins and worked around a hit to record two outs via the strikeout in the second game of the Atlanta series. Alongside Megill, Peterson will serve as the other starting pitcher turned reliever on the Wild Card roster.
Like Díaz, the Mets’ other high leverage reliever Adam Ottavino reassured the Mets with his performance down the stretch that he can be relied upon. Ottavino tossed 3 2⁄3 scoreless innings across three appearances in the Mets’ final eight games. Ottavino pitched a scorless eighth inning in the final game of the Marlins series, which the Mets went on to win, striking out three batters in the process. He worked around a hit to pitch a scoreless seventh inning in Saturday’s loss to the Braves. And he finished his regular season by earning a victory for 1 2⁄3 scoreless innings in the day game of Tuesday’s doubleheader, striking out two batters and walking one in that outing.
Seth Lugo also appeared in the final game of the Marlins series and in Saturday’s loss to the Braves, but his results over the final week and a half of the season were less consistent. He pitched two innings in relief of Walker last Wednesday and allowed an inherited runner to score in the sixth on a sacrifice fly and allowed an additional run in the next inning on a walk and a double. Lugo successfully recorded the final out of the sixth inning in relief of Max Scherzer in Saturday’s loss, but then allowed a solo homer to Matt Olsen in his second inning of work in the series finale on Sunday, plating a key insurance run for the Braves.