The story of this week from the pitching perspective is fairly simple. The Mets pitched well against the Marlins (a mediocre team) and pitched poorly against the Astros (a good team). There is really not much more to it than that. Trevor Williams facing the Astros lineup had a predictable result and Carlos Carrasco had a bad day because he was not feeling his best physically and the outcome was two Mets losses. In the case of Williams, the bullpen came in and made matters worse, but the bullpen did commendable work after Carrasco’s early exit to keep Wednesday’s game close. With Max Scherzer needing another rehab start and Tylor Megill still sidelined, the star of the rotation this week is David Peterson, who gave the Mets two strong starts against the Marlins. It’s a shame the latter of the two went to waste.
That one loss in four games against the Marlins this week came in walk-off fashion, which is easy to blame on Adam Ottavino, but the truth of the matter is that sometimes you throw a decent pitch and get beat. Late-inning losses at the hands of the bullpen are going to happen occasionally and in reality—at least in my personal opinion—the goat of yesterday’s game is the offense for failing to capitalize on opportunities with runners on more than it is Adam Ottavino.
Let’s start with the Astros series first to get the ugly out of the way. Trevor Williams took the loss in Tuesday’s game, falling victim to a very potent Astros lineup. He gave up three runs in four innings of work and got bitten by the walk and the long ball—particularly the latter. He gave up two home runs in the third inning—a solo shot to José Altuve and a two-run bomb to the red-hot Yordan Álvarez following a walk to Alex Bregman. And with José Urquidy completely stymieing the Mets, that alone was enough to hand Williams the loss.
But the run-scoring for the Astros did not end with Williams on Tuesday. Chasen Shreve came in to start the fifth inning in relief of Williams and had a horrible outing. Like Williams, he was burned by the walk and issued three free passes, each of which the Astros followed with a hit. When all was said and done, Shreve was charged with four runs—all earned. With Joely Rodríguez pitching a lot better of late (more on that later), it’s hard to feel like Buck Showalter has much trust left in Shreve. Another outing or two like this and his roster spot may be in jeopardy.
Adonis Medina once again put forth a Herculean effort to save the rest of the bullpen this week, coming in after Shreve in a laugher and pitching the final three innings of the game. He gave up three hits and one run over that span; the one run came on a home run to José Siri, who stared at his handiwork a little too long in a lopsided game for the liking of Eduardo Escobar and some others. Medina struck out one batter and walked a batter over his three innings of work, which represent his only appearance for the week.
The following day, Carlos Carrasco got absolutely tattooed by the Astros to the tune of five runs in just 2 1⁄3 innings. He gave up three home runs—all solo shots—one to Alex Bregman and two to Yordan Álvarez. It was clear that something was not right with Carrasco and he ended up exiting the game early with back tightness. Fortunately for the Mets, it does not seem like Carrasco will spend any time on the injured list. He threw a bullpen session over the weekend without incident and is currently listed as tomorrow’s starter with an opportunity for redemption against the Astros—this time in his home ballpark.
On Wednesday it was Yoan López who took on long relief duty after Carrasco’s early exit. López and the rest of the bullpen were fantastic on Wednesday. López was unscored upon in his outing and gave up just one hit over 2 2⁄3 innings of work, striking out one batter and walking none. López also pitched a scoreless ninth inning in Monday’s shutout victory. He was sent back down to Triple-A later in the week when Seth Lugo was activated from the paternity list.
Tommy Hunter followed López with 1 1⁄3 scoreless innings of his own as he continues to find success in his return to the big leagues. Hunter gave up one hit and struck out two batters and walked none in the outing. Hunter also pitched a scoreless inning in relief of Peterson in a tie game yesterday, complete with a strikeout.
Joely Rodríguez also contributed 1 1⁄3 scoreless innings to Wednesday’s strong group bullpen effort. He did not allow any base runners in the outing and notched one strikeout. That represents his only work for the week, but it’s the second straight strong week for Rodríguez, who has been on a bit of a roll lately.
Edwin Díaz came in after Rodríguez to record the final out of the eighth inning on Wednesday because he’d gone a few days without work and the game was still close. Unfortunately the Mets failed to take advantage of the bullpen’s work and manage a comeback victory, but like everyone else that day, Díaz did his job. He gave up a two-out single to Chas McCormick, but bounced back to strike out Jason Castro to end the inning. More importantly, Díaz was also 2-for-2 in save chances this week in back-to-back days against the Marlins. He worked around two hits to pitch a scoreless ninth inning on Friday night, assisted by Tomás Nido throwing out Jon Berti trying to steal. The following day, he struck out the side to earn his 16th save of the season.
That pristine ninth inning from Díaz on Saturday came in relief of Chris Bassitt en route to Bassitt’s sixth win of the season. Like many Mets this week, Bassitt fell victim to the long ball; all three of the Marlins’ runs off him on Saturday came via the home run. But three runs is all Bassitt surrendered over seven innings of work, giving the Mets a quality start. Bassitt struck out five batters and walked none over the 90-pitch outing. After going through a rough patch, Bassitt continues to bounce back over his past few starts.
After spending part of the week on the paternity list, Seth Lugo returned on Saturday and served as the setup man between Bassitt and Díaz. He pitched a 1-2-3 eighth inning complete with a strikeout to earn his 11th hold of the season.
Díaz’s other save this week came in relief of Taijuan Walker, who earned his sixth win of the season with a quality start on Friday night. Walker gave up eight hits, but limited the damage to just three runs over six innings of work because unlike much of the rest of the pitching staff this week, he kept the ball in the ballpark. Walker struck out five batters and walked two in the outing. He now owns a very solid 3.03 ERA on the season.
Drew Smith made things tense in the seventh inning on Friday when he gave up a single and walked two batters to load the bases to lead off the inning, bringing the go-ahead run to the plate. He bounced back to strike out the next two batters, but then walked Garrett Cooper to force in a run and was removed from the game. Fortunately for Smith and the Mets, none of the rest of his base runners would come around to score and the lead was preserved. Smith’s previous outing went much more smoothly; he tossed a scoreless seventh inning in Monday’s shutout victory.
Adam Ottavino came to Smith’s rescue, recording the final out of the seventh inning on Friday night without further damage and the lead in tact. Not only did Ottavino record that king-sized out, but he worked around a hit to pitch a scoreless eighth inning as well, helped out by a timely double play off the bat of Jacob Stallings. Ottavino also contributed 1 2⁄3 scoreless innings to Monday’s shutout win, striking out two batters and earning his eighth hold of the season in the process. Unfortunately, Ottavino’s run of strong outings over the past couple of weeks came to an end yesterday when he gave up a two-out, walk-off home run to Nick Fortes.
That walk-off spoiled a truly impressive start by David Peterson, who earns the fireball for two strong starts this week. Yesterday’s outing was particularly good, as he was able to go deep into the game, completing seven innings of work and throwing 104 pitches. Over those seven innings, he gave up two runs on four hits and struck out eight batters while walking none. Peterson also started the Mets’ week with a solid outing, which earned him his fourth win of the season. He tossed 5 1⁄3 shutout innings, scattering six hits and striking out seven Marlins while walking two. Thanks to the work of Ottavino, Smith, and López, the Mets completed the shutout en route to an easy victory. With Jacob deGrom progressing but not having yet begun a minor league rehab assignment and Tylor Megill on the shelf, the Mets are going to need these sorts of results from Peterson moving forward.