Did something happen with the pitching staff this week? There was something notable, right? Oh yes, that’s right. The Mets threw the second no-hitter in franchise history on Friday. Surely, you say, it must have been Max Scherzer that did that. Nope. It was Tylor Megill, Drew Smith, Joely Rodríguez, Seth Lugo, and Edwin Díaz. If you had that on your bingo card for 2022, I’d like to know the winning lotto numbers.
Overall, the Mets’ starting rotation was very good this week, but it wasn’t all sunshine and rainbows. Carlos Carrasco had his first rough start of the season after three very strong outings to start the season. And a bullpen blowup (mostly at the hands of Adam Ottavino) spoiled Taijuan Walker’s strong return to the mound, but the Mets’ offense failed to give Walker any run support either. But, the Mets continue to have one of the strongest pitching staffs in baseball; they are one of only three teams (Dodgers, Yankees) to have a staff ERA under 3.00 for the season. And they continue to do all of this without their best pitcher.
So this meter is filled with fireballs, but that’s because everyone involved with the combined no-hitter got a fireball by default unless they had a bad outing in another game this week, which no one involved in the no-hitter did. Call that generous, but a no-hitter is a historic achievement! Don’t let your Yankees or Phillies fan friends tell you that combined no-hitters don’t count. There were only 16 combined no-hitters in major league history before the Mets achieved the feat on Friday, which is far less common that single-pitcher no-hitters. So let’s celebrate the amazing achievement that it was, starting with Tylor Megill who was the starter on Friday night. I don’t have to tell you that he gave up no hits over his five innings of work. He did walk three batters and the Phillies worked deep counts all night, driving up Megill’s pitch count and stifling his ability to go deeper into the game. But Megill struck out five batters and handed the game off in the sixth with a no-no in tact.
Drew Smith followed Megill with a scoreless sixth, working around a walk of Bryce Harper and fanning the other three batters he faced in the frame. He stayed on to face the righty Realmuto to lead off the seventh and struck him out as well. This continues a run of absolutely stellar relief pitching from Smith in the early going. Smith also earned his fifth hold of the season by pitching a scoreless seventh in Tuesday’s victory; his appearance on Friday earned him his second hold of the week and sixth of the season. Smith continues to be an essential piece of the Mets bullpen so far in 2022.
Joely Rodríguez followed Smith and probably looked the shakiest of all the Mets’ relievers on Friday, but he still did not surrender a hit. With Realmuto having been struck out by Smith, he came in the game with one out in the seventh to face the lefty Schwarber, who he walked. But then he induced a key double play grounder off the bat of Alec Bohm to get out of the inning. He stayed on to start the eighth inning and retired Didi Gregorius on a grounder to short. Joe Girardi then pinch hit for the lefty Odubel Herrera with Johan Camargo, but Buck Showalter stuck with Rodríguez, who issued his second walk of the outing, which ended his day. But, both the batters he walked were stranded on the bases. Rodríguez also worked around a hit to pitch a scoreless seventh inning in yesterday’s victory, earning him his third hold of the year. He also struck out one in the outing.
After Rodríguez left the game, Seth Lugo inherited Camargo at first and got the next two batters Jean Segura and Rhys Hoskins to pop out to end the eighth inning with the no-hitter (and shutout) in tact. It was another good week for Lugo, who also contributed a scoreless eighth inning to yesterday’s victory, working around a hit.
Edwin Díaz closed out the combined no-hitter in emphatic fashion by striking out the side in the ninth inning. His slider in that inning was perhaps the nastiest it has looked in a Mets uniform, carving up three very good hitters in Bryce Harper, Nick Castellanos, and J.T. Realmuto. It was a very strong week overall for Díaz, who logged three saves in three opportunities, including Friday’s no-hitter. He pitched a scoreless ninth inning with two strikeouts to seal the Mets’ comeback victory on Monday against the Cardinals and completed the Mets shutout of the Cardinals the following day with a scoreless ninth in that game.
That shutout on Tuesday began with a fantastic performance from Chris Bassitt—a huge bounce back from his rough outing last week. Bassitt walked three batters, but struck out six and only gave up two hits through six innings of work, logging a quality start against a good Cardinals lineup. Bassitt now owns a 2.25 ERA and 3.12 FIP through four starts and has been instrumental to the Mets’ success atop the rotation with Max Scherzer.
Speaking of Max Scherzer, let’s talk about his two outings this week, one of which was utterly dominant (and fireball worthy) and the other of which doesn’t look great on paper, but still was impressive to watch (side arrow), despite the so-so results; these balance out to still put Scherzer in the green this week with an up arrow overall. Scherzer was utterly dominant on Monday, tossing seven scoreless innings and yielding just two hits while striking out ten Cardinals. In the second inning, he struck out the side on eleven pitches. However, the Mets were stymied by Miles Mikolas, who matched zeros with Scherzer through seven. But, after the Cardinals took the lead in the eighth, the Mets came back to win with a five-run ninth. Scherzer ran into some home run trouble against the Phillies yesterday, giving up four runs on three home runs. I know it seems dismissive of the home runs to say this, but other than the home runs, he really was just as dominant as he was on Monday. He struck out nine and walked only one and luckily the Mets had their hitting shoes on and gave Scherzer the run support he needed to notch his fourth win of the season. The Mets are still unbeaten in Scherzer starts this year.
This week also saw the return of Taijuan Walker from the injured list and he had a very strong first start back on Saturday. Walker tossed five scoreless innings (he was on a pitch limit) and gave up just two hits in that span. He only struck out one batter, but induced a lot of soft contact. He walked two in the outing. Walker’s return from the injured list came at the expense of David Peterson, who had filled in for him so admirably. But Peterson will appear on next week’s meter, as he is slated to start one of the games of tomorrow’s doubleheader.
It was the bullpen (along with the offense) that let the Mets down in Saturday’s loss and Adam Ottavino was the primary culprit. Ottavino entered the game in the seventh inning with the Mets clinging to a slim 1-0 lead. After retiring his first batter, Ottavino walked J.T. Realmuto and then gave up a towering home run to none other than Mets killer Kyle Schwarber to give the Phillies the lead. He walked the next batter as well and bounced back to strike out Didi Gregorius for the second out, but gave up a double to Odubel Herrera to plate yet another run before being pulled for Sean Reid-Foley. Ottavino did have a strong outing earlier in the week when he pitched a 1-2-3 eighth inning in relief of Bassitt to set the stage for Díaz, complete with two strikeouts. That earned him his first hold of the season. But, Saturday was a stinker for Ottavino.
Sean Reid-Foley came in the game and finally recorded the final out of the seventh inning, but surrendered a solo homer to Rhys Hoskins to stretch the Phillies’ lead to four runs. To add injury to insult, Reid-Foley missed badly on a 2-0 pitch to J.T. Realmuto with two outs and immediately waved over the trainer, which is never a good sign. Reid-Foley went for an MRI and has a partially torn UCL, for which he may need Tommy John surgery and will likely be sidelined for a significant period either way. Reid-Foley was likely to be a roster casualty today anyway, but it’s still a blow to the Mets pitching depth. Reid-Foley had one other appearance this week before his injury in which he did mop-up duty in relief of Carlos Carrasco in Wednesday’s loss. He was charged with a run on two hits and walked one and struck out one in 1 2⁄3 innings of work.
Chasen Shreve inherited a three-ball count on Realmuto after Reid-Foley left the game and came back to strike Realmuto out, which is impressive in its own right. Shreve came back out for the ninth inning of Saturday’s loss and pitched a 1-2-3 inning. Shreve also followed Reid-Foley in Wednesday’s loss, nestling a single between two strikeouts to record the last two outs of the sixth inning. Shreve has continued to impress in the early season.
It was up to Reid-Foley and Shreve to mop up Carlos Carrasco’s poop emoji worthy mess in Wednesday’s loss. There’s no beating around the bush; this was an ugly one for Carrasco. He gave up eight runs—seven of them earned—on eight hits in 3 2⁄3 innings of work. He walked two and struck out three in the outing. He took his first loss of the year and saw his season ERA balloon from 1.47 to 4.09. This ends a string of fantastic outings for Carrasco and is hopefully a bump in the road rather than a regression to his 2021 form.
Yoan López—up temporarily while the Mets only had four starters active prior to Walker’s start—finished Wednesday’s game. In his first inning of work, he gave up an additional run on three straight singles, but the game was already out of reach by that point. The real eventful moment came in his second inning of work. In the top of the eighth inning, J.D. Davis was hit by a pitch and forced to leave the game. It was just the latest in a string of times the Mets were struck, including multiple times above the shoulders—the most recent being Pete Alonso the day before. Nolan Arenado led off the bottom of the eighth inning against López and López threw a pitch up and in that caused Arenado to jump back off the plate. López never admitted to intentionally trying to hit Arenado with the pitch, but whether that was the intention or not, Arenado took exception and that set off a benches-clearing incident. López was never ejected from the game (Arenado was) and continued the inning after the dust settled, giving up a double, but no additional runs. López was fined, which Francisco Lindor and Eduardo Escobar covered for him. López was sent down to Syracuse after Walker was activated, but found himself back in the big leagues on a very temporary basis to replace the injured Sean Reid-Foley while rosters were still 28 men. And he did get into yesterday’s game, giving up a two-run homer to Johan Camargo in the ninth inning in garbage time. Despite the fact that his pitching performances were not that good, I didn’t have the heart to give López the down arrow for all he’s endured this week and none of the runs he gave up actually had any meaningful impact on the results of either game he pitched in.
That leaves Trevor May, who had one good performance this week and one bad one, as has seemed to be his pattern in the early going this season. His bad performance came in Monday’s game in relief of Scherzer. He entered the game in eighth inning with the Mets and Cardinals locked in a scoreless tie and he gave up two runs on three hits and a walk to give the Cardinals the lead. The Mets’ fate seemed all but sealed, but May was bailed out by the Mets’ miraculous five-run ninth inning and ironically earned the win for that reason. May’s good outing came on Saturday when he was able to protect the Mets’ one-run lead before things blew up on Adam Ottavino. He came in the game in relief of Walker in the sixth inning and gave up a leadoff double to Odubel Herrera, but bounced back to retire the next three batters in order.
Trevor Williams did not appear in a game this week.