As has seemingly been a theme this year, the Mets concentrated all their poor pitching into just a couple of games this week and unsurprisingly, they were the two games the Mets lost. Wednesday’s game was a laugher in which neither the starter (Peterson) nor the bullpen (mostly Jake Reed, but Trevor Williams contributed as well) distinguished themselves, but the heartbreaker was yesterday’s game in which the bullpen (Lugo) spoiled a gem from Chris Bassitt. Bassitt was the pitching star this week, bouncing back from his funk in a big way to deliver two fantastic outings for the Mets. Taijuan Walker and Carlos Carrasco were great as well, but the rotation suffered a huge blow when Tylor Megill left his start on Thursday with shoulder discomfort and went on the injured list yet again. But Max Scherzer will throw a rehab outing tomorrow and hopefully therefore the Mets will not suffer from Megill’s absence too greatly.
Let’s start with Chris Bassitt; he was the only Mets starter to have two outings this week and they were both fantastic. Bassitt had been struggling so mightily of late and blamed himself for not being on the same page as his catchers during his slump, but this week he seemed to rectify the problem. His week began with eight shutout innings against the Brewers. He gave up just three hits, struck out seven, and walked only one, cruising his way to his fifth win of the season. He was similarly cruising through six and matching zeros with NL Cy Young favorite Sandy Alcantara yesterday, but he ran into trouble in the seventh and that proved to the Mets’ undoing. Bassitt loaded the bases in the inning and all of those runners would come around to score, which tarnished his final line and made the outing look way worse than it actually was. All told, Bassitt was charged with three runs in 6 1⁄3 innings, striking out nine and walking two and he sadly took the loss for this effort. It was clear that he simply ran out of gas at the end, but he delivered two ace-level performances this week.
It was Seth Lugo who let Bassitt down, although he entered the game in a very difficult spot—up just one run with the bases loaded and one out. Still, it was Lugo’s job to get out of that situation maybe 2-1 down at the worst and instead he gave up a grand slam to rookie Jerar Encarnacion; it was Encarnancion’s first major league hit. Three of those four runs were charged to Bassitt and Lugo gave up an RBI double to Jon Berti as well to rub salt in the wound. Lugo was ultimately charged with two runs in 2⁄3 of an inning in what was one of his worst outings of the season. However, Lugo’s other outing this week was excellent. He took on the bulk of relief after Megill’s early exit on Thursday; after the Mets tied the game in the fourth, Lugo delivered two scoreless innings, striking out four batters in the process. So for this week, we’ll have to call it even for Lugo, who was just placed on the paternity list this afternoon.
It is such a shame for Tylor Megill, who was pitching just his second game since returning from being sidelined for a month with biceps tendonitis. Now he’ll be sidelined for another month at least with a shoulder strain. As has often been Megill’s modus operandi this year, he looked really good Thursday...right up until he didn’t. He cruised through the first three innings, but the fourth is where things all went south. He gave up a leadoff game-tying homer to Christian Yelich in the fourth. He bounced back to strike out the next batter, but then loaded the bases on two singles and a walk and on the first pitch to Omar Narváez he appeared to tweak the shoulder and was forced to leave the game.
Chasen Shreve was forced into immediate service in relief of Megill and gave up two straight hits to allow two of his inherited runners to score. Both runs were charged to Megill. Shreve did eventually get out of the fourth and bounced back to pitch a scoreless fifth inning as well. Luckily the Mets came from behind to win the game so Shreve’s outing did not cost them. That was Shreve’s only outing for the week.
As unfortunate as Megill’s rocky road with injury is this season, this week did also feature a heartwarming story in the return of Tommy Hunter to the big leagues. After rising to cult hero status with eight scoreless innings in 2021 and getting his first major league hit in the process, Hunter landed on the injured list with back pain. His back injury ultimately cost him the entire 2021 season. At one point, the pain was so bad that he could not lift his baby son, Rowan. He was diagnosed with multiple disk herniations and got back surgery over the summer; it was an open question whether he would ever throw another pitch in the major leagues. But the Mets brought Hunter back on a minor league deal this past offseason and he worked his way all the way back, finally making his season debut yesterday. He pitched 1 2⁄3 hitless innings, striking out two batters in the process. He did allow one unearned run due to an errant throw by Eduardo Escobar that pulled Pete Alonso off the bag, but looked strong in his debut.
The runner that reached on Escobar’s error yesterday came around to score because Joely Rodríguez came in the game to face lefty Jazz Chisolm Jr. and allowed an RBI double, but Rodríguez bounced back to strike out the next hitter. Rodríguez had just one other outing this week in which pitched a 1-2-3 ninth inning with two strikeouts in Wednesday’s loss.
Wednesday’s lopsided loss began with a mediocre performance from David Peterson, who lasted just four innings and was charged with four runs. Peterson loaded the bases in the first by allowing a double and then hitting two straight batters and he suffered for it, allowing an RBI single that staked the Brewers to an early 2-0 lead. He settled down a bit after that, but the Brewers unloaded for a seven-run fifth inning, which began with Peterson allowing a leadoff single, which would eventually come around to score. With Megill now on the injured list again, Peterson is going to have to be better than this moving forward, as his time in the rotation will not be ending any time soon.
Jake Reed came in the game in relief of Peterson on Wednesday and had a horrific outing. He was able to record the first out of the inning, but then walked a batter and after recording the second out, he hit a batter to load the bases. He then walked the next batter to force in a run and allowed two straight hits and before anyone knew it, the Brewers were up 7-1. Reed was charged with five runs in 2⁄3 of an inning, earning himself a second straight poop emoji and raising his season ERA to an unsightly 16.62. When Tommy Hunter was activated on Friday, Reed was optioned back down to Triple-A Syracuse.
Trevor Williams followed Reed and also wasn’t very good, but the game was already out of hand at that point. Williams gave up two more hits and two more runs crossed the plate before the fifth inning mercifully came to an end. Only one of those runs was charged to Williams and to his credit, he did bounce back to pitch two scoreless innings after that, saving the rest of the bullpen somewhat. That represented Williams’ only work for the week. Depending on Scherzer’s timeline for return, Williams may have to make a spot start in the coming days.
Adonis Medina was recalled in the same series of roster moves as Reed’s demotion on Friday and he was immediately called into service with the Mets up big. It was not Medina’s best outing; he allowed two of his inherited runners to score in the seventh and balked to allow an additional run in the eighth. But ultimately he limited the damage enough that it didn’t end up costing the Mets.
The biggest cost of Medina’s rocky outing was to Carlos Carrasco’s final line. The two runs Medina allowed to cross the plate in the seventh inning on Friday were both charged to Carrasco. But overall, Carrasco was great, giving up just one run on a solo homer over his first six innings of work. He gave up eight hits in total—mostly soft contact—but limited the damage by striking out seven batters over his 6 1⁄3 total innings of work. Three earned runs over that span doesn’t reflect how good he was, but it was still a quality start nonetheless and with the run support the Mets gave him, he cruised pretty easily to his eighth win of the season.
Adam Ottavino finished things off for the Mets on Friday, recording the final out of the eighth inning to avoid further damage from Medina’s mess and then striking out the side in the ninth inning to put the cherry on top. It was yet another strong week for Ottavino, who also worked around a hit to pitch a scoreless eighth inning on Wednesday. His season ERA is now down under 3.00.
Drew Smith also earns his second straight up arrow this week. Smith started his week with a 1-2-3 ninth inning complete with a strikeout on Tuesday in relief of Bassitt to finish that shutout of the Brewers. He followed that with two strong performances in high leverage—one on Thursday and one on Saturday. Smith entered a tie game in the eighth on Thursday and bent but did not break, working around two hits to pitch a scoreless inning. The Mets took the lead in the bottom of that frame and therefore Smith earned his first win of the season for that effort. Smith served as the bridge between Taijuan Walker and Edwin Díaz on Saturday and did so brilliantly, striking out Lewin Diaz to record the final out and end a Marlins threat in the seventh and coming back out to pitch a 1-2-3 eighth inning.
Edwin Díaz also appeared in both Thursday and Saturday’s games and earned a save in both of them, although neither was anxiety-free. Díaz allowed two hits on Thursday, but was assisted by an ill-advised send by the Brewers’ third base coach that resulted in Hunter Renfroe being tagged out at home for the second out of the inning. Díaz then shut the door by striking out Christian Yelich, his second strikeout of the inning. Díaz allowed a run on Saturday on a single, a stolen base (by none other than Jon Berti), and another single, but he came in the game with a two-run lead to work with and limited the damage to just one run while striking out three batters, earning his 14th save of the season. Those 14 saves are tied for fourth in the National League. Díaz’s season ERA is now 2.30 and he leads National League relievers with 53 strikeouts.
Smith and Díaz’s valiant efforts in relief on Saturday benefitted Taijuan Walker en route to fifth victory of the season. Walker was fantastic on Saturday, limiting the Marlins to just two hits over 6 2⁄3 innings of work. After the national booth recently remarked upon Walker’s low strikeout totals this season, he racked up an impressive strikeout total for a second-straight start, fanning nine Marlins on Saturday while walking only one. Walker’s season ERA is down to 2.88—almost identical to what earned him an All-Star berth a season ago. We’ll see if he’ll be able to sustain that performance into the dog days of summer this time around.