The two losses the Mets suffered at the hands of the Giants this week were the result of back-to-back meltdowns on the part of the pitching staff. But, it wasn’t all bad. Chris Bassitt made up for his poor start on Tuesday with a strong outing yesterday and David Peterson put forth a good outing in his return to the rotation. Taijuan Walker continues to pitch well and Colin Holderman has emerged as a surprise out of the bullpen. It seems likely that Thomas Szapucki’s poor start this week and Trevor Williams’ strong work in relief cemented Williams’ status as the fifth starter for now until Tylor Megill returns.
Let’s peel the Band-Aid off and start with Thomas Szapucki, who gets a poop emoji for his start this week. It was about as ugly as it could get for Szapucki, who didn’t get out of the second inning, surrendering nine runs on seven hits, including a whopping four home runs. There’s not much to belabor here: it’s clear the lefty is simply not a major league caliber pitcher—at least not yet.
Trevor Williams, who probably should have started Wednesday’s game in the first place, delivered 3 2⁄3 scoreless innings of relief, saving the rest of the bullpen from getting totally fried. He gave up just one hit and struck out five and walked two in mop-up duty, which represented his only outing for the week. Williams will start Tuesday’s game against Patrick Corbin and will serve as the fifth starter for the Mets until Tylor Megill returns.
Although Szapucki dug the Mets into a hole too deep to escape, the bullpen was actually perfect on Wednesday. New bullpen standout Colin Holderman tossed a 1-2-3 sixth inning with two strikeouts. Holderman had a clean sheet this week; he pitched two scoreless innings in Monday’s victory and two scoreless innings in Friday’s victory. With injuries and ineffectiveness plaguing other members of the bullpen, Holderman is quickly working his way into Showalter’s circle of trust.
Holderman’s strong outing on Monday came in relief of David Peterson, who made his return to the Mets’ rotation and earned his second win of the season with a strong performance in the Mets’ only victory in the Giants series. Peterson gave up a two-run homer to Brandon Crawford in the second inning of Monday’s game, but that was the extent of the damage done against him. He gave up just three hits in total, struck out six batters, and walked only one. With a tough June schedule on the horizon, the Mets are going to be heavily reliant on Peterson while they await Jacob deGrom’s return.
Chasen Shreve pitched the ninth inning on Monday and gave up a run on a few hits, which did not matter, given the lopsided score in the Mets’ favor. However, it was still not a good week for Shreve, who is in the red for the second week in a row. Shreve was a part of Wednesday’s perfect collective bullpen effort on Wednesday, pitching a 1-2-3 seventh inning in that game. However, it was Shreve who gave up a three-run homer to the backup catcher Garrett Stubbs in the sixth inning that allowed the Phillies to pull within a run on Friday. Shreve was only charged with one of those three runs, but it certainly wasn’t Shreve’s best moment.
One swing from Stubbs against Shreve completely tarnished Carlos Carrasco’s line, which is certain down arrow-worthy on paper: five runs on six hits in 5 2⁄3 innings of work. But Carrasco pitched better than this line indicates; he cruised through the first five innings and really only started to get in trouble in the sixth, in part because of his own throwing error. Two of the three runs on the Stubbs homer were ultimately charged to Carrasco, but Carrasco put forth a solid enough start for the Mets to hold on to win the game.
The following day, Taijuan Walker kept his good run going by earning his third win of the season. He scattered six hits over five innings of work and gave up just two runs. He walked three batters and struck out one in the outing. Walker continues to get success by inducing soft contact, but his low strikeout rate is a cause for concern and something to keep an eye on moving forward.
The Mets’ bullpen was spotless in relief of Walker; after Holderman’s two scoreless innings, Adam Ottavino came in and tossed a scoreless eighth inning, working around a fielding error and a hit-by-pitch. Ottavino also recorded a key third out in the eighth inning of Tuesday’s rollercoaster game, striking out Kevin Padlo to keep the game tied heading into the ninth. But it was Ottavino who had to be bailed out yesterday after he gave up go-ahead home run to Nick Castellanos when he was 0-2 on him with two outs.
Seth Lugo pitched a 1-2-3 ninth inning with a six-run lead, securing Saturday’s victory for the Mets. Lugo also recorded a key out of the pinch hitter J.T. Realmuto in the eighth inning of Friday’s game. But this made him unavailable for yesterday’s game, which put the game in jeopardy. Nevertheless, it was a clean sheet for Lugo this week; he also pitched a scoreless eighth inning in Wednesday’s loss.
Following the Castellanos home run yesterday, Stephen Nogosek pitched a scoreless top of the ninth inning, which set the stage for the game-tying homer by Nick Plummer and the eventual walk-off victory. Amidst all the chaos of the later innings on Tuesday, it’s also easy to forget that Nogosek pitched 2 2⁄3 scoreless innings, striking out two batters in a row in the fifth inning to put that inning to bed. He struck out four batters in total in the outing and walked one, holding the Giants where they were and giving the Mets a chance to come back.
Of course, it needs to be said that Chris Bassitt did not pitch well on Tuesday. He allowed eight runs in total on eight hits in 4 1⁄3 innings of work and allowed three home runs—two of them to Joc Pederson. He struck out four batters and walked three. The Mets came back and kept him from getting tagged with a loss, but it was certainly not his best effort and the game ultimately ended with a Mets defeat. Bassitt bounced back to redeem himself with a very strong outing yesterday, going toe to toe with Zack Wheeler over six innings. He gave up just one run on two hits, striking out seven batters and walking three.
Both Bassitt starts this week culminated with Edwin Díaz on the mound, but each had different results. After the Mets came back on Tuesday to take a three-run lead, the Giants tied the game in the eight. But the Mets scratched out a run in the ninth inning and went to Díaz for the save, but he could not hold the one-run lead. After giving up a single to Wilmer Flores to lead off the inning, he induced a key double play and it looked like he might just get out of it. But then he walked Mike Yastrzemski and gave up three straight singles, resulting in a blown save and a walk-off loss. But Díaz bounced back to be a part of two of the three wins in the Mets’ sweep of the Phillies over the weekend. He struck out three batters in a scoreless ninth inning on Friday, earning his eleventh save of the season. Then he stranded the free runner in the tenth inning yesterday to hold the Phillies scoreless, setting the stage for the walk-off in the bottom of the tenth. He earned the win for that effort—his second win of the season.
Obviously Díaz’s blown save on Tuesday was preceded by an even worse bullpen meltdown on the part of Drew Smith and Joely Rodríguez in the eighth inning. Smith began the inning and got two quick outs before getting into trouble. Then, he gave up a two-out single to Mike Yastrzemski, followed by the truly fatal error: a four-pitch walk to Darin Ruf ahead of Joc Pederson, who had already hit two home runs that night. You could just feel another long ball from Pederson in your bones and that is exactly what happened; suddenly the three-run lead the Mets had clawed back to build was erased in an instant. Smith was then removed from the game in favor of Rodríguez, who gave up three straight singles, failing to retire a batter and needing to be bailed out by Ottavino.
Smith and Rodríguez also each appeared in Friday and yesterday’s games and the results improved for the former, but not so much the latter. Smith worked around a leadoff walk to pitch a scoreless seventh inning on Friday night, earning his eleventh hold of the season. Rodríguez followed in the eighth with lefties due up, but had a rocky outing. He walked Kyle Schwarber to lead off the frame and gave up a one-out double to lefty Odubel Herrera, but bounced back to strike out Garrett Stubbs. The Phillies countered by pinch hitting J.T. Realmuto, but Buck Showalter brought in Seth Lugo, who retired Realmuto and avoided damage to Rodríguez’s ledger. Drew Smith once again earned a hold for his work in yesterday’s game. He recorded the first two outs, but then J.T. Realmuto hit the ball hard up the middle. Smith reacted on a gut instinct and stuck his bare hand out to make the play. This ended doubly poorly for Smith; not only did a likely groundout turn into a base hit, Smith ended up with a dislocated pinky. His x-rays were negative and he is considered day-to-day for now. Rodríguez then came in to finish the inning and did so, retiring Odubel Herrera on a groundout. But as usual, the trouble came when Rodríguez was sent back out for a second inning of work. He recorded the first two outs of the inning, but that was interspersed by two walks, which came around to score when Ottavino gave up the go-ahead three-run homer to Nick Castellanos.