The Mets were handed a few ugly, lopsided losses this week in which the pitching staff did not cover itself in glory. Chris Bassitt in particular among the starters continues to struggle of late and the bullpen had a few nightmarish performances to boot. The bullpen also lost Colin Holderman, who had been pitching so well, to a shoulder impingement, which hopefully won’t result in a prolonged absence. However, it isn’t all bad this week. Both Taijuan Walker and Carlos Carrasco had one mediocre performance offset by an excellent one. This week also saw the return of Tylor Megill from the injured list. And Edwin Díaz continues to be outstanding, recording a five-out save this week.
We’ll start with Edwin Díaz since he is by far the biggest bright spot on the pitching meter this week. He made two appearances this week in two Mets victories and was not scored upon in either one, but what really earned him the fireball this week is that he got a five-out save in yesterday’s game. With a man on and one out, Mike Trout came up representing the tying run in the eighth inning and Díaz struck him out. Díaz did not have the slider working last night; he walked Anthony Rendon on a few errant sliders. But, he did have the fastball working. He bounced back to strike out Jared Walsh on a 102mph (!!!) fastball and then struck out the side in the ninth inning to earn his twelfth save of the season and help the Mets end their road trip on a high note. Díaz also pitched a 1-2-3 ninth inning in a non-save situation on Friday night, striking out two batters in the process. His season ERA is now 2.13 and he has struck out 48 batters in 25 1⁄3 innings pitched.
That sparkling outing from Díaz came in relief of Taijuan Walker who put forth an excellent performance in yesterday’s game, earning his fourth win of the season. Walker’s success this season has mostly come by inducing soft contact; he has not walked many batters nor has he struck out many batters. But yesterday was an exception. He racked up ten strikeouts over six innings of work and walked just one batter. He scattered six hits and allowed only one run, which came in the first inning; after the game, Walker claimed he was tipping his pitches in the first inning and made an adjustment, so it makes sense that he settled down after that. Unfortunately, it wasn’t all smooth sailing for Walker this week. He took the loss on Tuesday for giving up for runs on five hits in six innings of work. Of course, the Mets were shut out that day by Yu Darvish so it didn’t matter very much how well Walker pitched, but putting the Mets in an early hole still keeps him from earning perfect marks this week.
Bridging the gap between Walker and Díaz yesterday was Seth Lugo, who had himself another solid week. Lugo tossed a 1-2-3 seventh inning yesterday and came back out for a second inning of work and recorded one out before walking Brandon Marsh on four pitches ahead of Mike Trout, which prompted Buck Showalter to give Lugo the quick hook in favor of Díaz, which proved to be the correct decision. Lugo earned his tenth hold of the season for that performance. Lugo also pitched around two hits to pitch a scoreless eighth inning in Wednesday’s lopsided loss.
Speaking of Wednesday’s lopsided loss, that disaster began with a poor outing from Chris Bassitt, who continues to be in a bit of a funk. He limited the damage early with traffic on the base paths with some timely strikeouts, but ultimately imploded in the fourth inning, which he did not complete. Bassitt’s final line was ugly: seven runs (six of them earned) on seven hits in 3 1⁄3 innings of work. He struck out six batters and walked two in the outing. He took the loss in a game that went sideways quickly for the Mets, evening his record at 4-4 on the season.
Stephen Nogosek was tasked with mop-up duty in relief of Bassitt and exacerbated the situation. He gave up an RBI double to Manny Machado in the fourth inning, which added an extra run to Bassitt’s ledger, but then he gave up an additional four runs in his second inning of work, including a three-run homer by Jake Cronenworth. This is Nogosek’s first truly disastrous outing in 2022 and it ballooned his ERA from 0.82 to 3.55 on the year. That being his only appearance for the week, Nogosek gets tagged with the poop emoji.
Unfortunately, Nogosek isn’t the only one to get that infamous distinction this week. With the Mets already down 4-0 on Tuesday, Colin Holderman walked the bases loaded in the seventh inning and then gave up three runs before being removed from the game after retiring only a single batter. It was Holderman’s first truly bad outing since being called up as well; he was later placed on the injured list with a shoulder impingement and Jake Reed was called up to replace him on the roster. Unfortunately, Reed did not distinguish himself in his first outing back with the Mets either. After finishing up the fifth inning in relief of Carlos Carrasco on Saturday, Reed came out for a second inning of work and gave up two home runs before being promptly lifted from the game. All told, Reed was charged with three runs in 2⁄3 of an inning—woof.
But Jake Reed merely poured gasoline on an existing fire. Carlos Carrasco did not have a very good outing on Saturday, snapping a streak of success he had been enjoying of late. Much like Bassitt, Carrasco limited the damage somewhat by striking out seven batters in his 4 2⁄3 innings of work, but he was hit hard and tagged for five runs on nine hits. He gave up a home run each to Mike Trout and Shohei Ohtani, which you know, is something that can happen. They’re pretty good. But the final line was not a good one. Carrasco had sort of the reverse week of Taijuan Walker; Walker’s week started off poorly and then he bounced back while Carrasco started his week strong before Saturday’s mediocre outing. Bolstered by some early run support, Carrasco earned his seventh win of the season on Monday, tossing seven very strong innings. He gave up just two runs on five hits and struck out a whopping ten batters while walking none.
With the Mets already down big on Saturday, Chasen Shreve soaked up two total innings of work, but allowed three additional runs in the process. He struck out three and walked one in the outing. Shreve also did mop-up duty on Tuesday; with Holderman unable to get through the seventh, Shreve came in and finished out that inning and then pitched a 1-2-3 eighth.
One of the runs charged to Shreve on Saturday crossed the plate because Trevor Williams gave up an RBI triple to Jared Walsh, but the game was already well out of hand at that point. Williams ended up recording the final two outs of the eighth inning on Saturday, which represented his only work for the week. Given how well Williams had done in the rotation, it was an open question as to who would be displaced from the rotation once Tylor Megill returned and with David Peterson penciled in as Wednesday’s starter, it seems that the decision will be for Williams to return to a long man role out of the bullpen.
Tylor Megill and David Peterson piggybacked to pitch the bulk of the innings in Friday’s victory. Megill threw just 64 pitches in his first start back from the injured list, giving up two runs over 3 1⁄3 innings of work. The only runs off Megill came on a two-run homer by Brandon Marsh in the second inning but Megill otherwise looked pretty good; he struck out five batters and walked one in the outing. Peterson followed Megill in long relief and earned the win for his effort, in which he gave up one run in 2 2⁄3 innings on a solo homer to...also Brandon Marsh. Peterson struck out three batters and walked one in the outing. Peterson will continue to hold the fort in the rotation until the Mets have deGrom or Scherzer back.
Following the combined efforts of Megill and Peterson, the bullpen was spotless on Friday. Drew Smith contributed a 1-2-3 seventh inning, which capped off an okay week for him. Smith did give up a three-run homer to Luke Voit in the eighth inning on Monday, but only one of those runs was charged to him and it did not result in a lead change, as the Mets were up big at that point. The Mets ended up putting up a four-run ninth inning to run away with the game after the fact and Smith tossed a 1-2-3 bottom of the ninth to finish that victory for the Mets. Monday and Saturday’s outings represent Smith’s only work for the week.
The inherited runners that crossed the plate on Voit’s eighth inning homer on Monday were the responsibility of Joely Rodríguez, who struck out the first batter he faced but then allowed a single and a walk before being replaced by Smith. Rodríguez’s results this week were mixed. He had a rocky seventh inning on Wednesday, in which he surrendered two tack on runs to the Padres, but the game was already well out of reach for the Mets at that point. Rodríguez also appeared in Friday’s victory and began the eighth inning by allowing a single and a walk, but bounced back to retire Brandon Marsh via the strikeout before being removed from the game in favor of Adam Ottavino.
Adam Ottavino executed some escape artistry to get out of the mess Rodríguez created in the eighth inning on Friday by getting Jo Adell to ground into an inning-ending double play, which earned him his seventh hold of the season. It was yet another strong week for Ottavino; he also pitched a 1-2-3 sixth inning on Wednesday, representing the only pitcher to have a clean ledger in that disaster of a game.