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Mets Player Performance Meter: Pitchers, August 8-14

A quick review of how the Mets’ pitchers fared over the past week.

Cincinnati Reds v New York Mets Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images

In a year where the Mets’ pitching staff has been excellent, this may be the best week-long stretch they have put together this season. The Mets’ only loss this week was a 2-1 extra-inning loss in which the game-winning run that crossed the plate was the free runner in extra innings. The Mets’ bullpen did not give up an earned run this week. Let me repeat that. The Mets’ bullpen did not give up a single earned run this week. And no starting pitcher surrendered more than two earned runs in an outing. Over the weekend, the staff threw two shutouts. The Mets’ staff ERA this week is 0.82, which is the best mark in baseball by over a full run. Of course, they did this against the Reds and the Harper- and Schwarber-less Phillies. But, that is still an incredible stretch of pitching and there is not a single red mark to be found on this week’s pitching meter.

It’s hard to even know where to begin when literally every pitcher performed well this week, so I guess we’ll start with the only game the Mets lost. Mychal Givens was the pitcher tasked with the tenth inning and he took a tough-luck loss for allowing the free runner to cross the plate. But, I am not dinging his meter grade for this for a couple of reasons. Firstly, he did his job in the inning; he did not allow a hit and the run was unearned because it was the free runner. The run scored on a groundout that advanced the free runner to third and a sacrifice fly. Secondly, the run actually should not have scored at all because Starling Marte unleashed a throw on Alec Bohm’s fly ball that beat the runner Stott to the plate, but Tomás Nido committed a rare defensive miscue and didn’t handle a relatively easy hop and therefore was unable to apply the tag. Givens bounced back to strike out J.T. Realmuto to end the inning without any further damage. It was a fine performance overall by Givens and it should have been something the Mets could overcome in the bottom of the tenth. Alas, it was not, but that is not the fault of Givens. Givens appeared in three games this week and was strong in his other two appearances as well. On Tuesday, after Carlos Carrasco got into trouble in the seventh, Givens stopped the bleeding by recording the final out via the strikeout. Then yesterday, Givens worked around a hit to pitch a scoreless eighth inning complete with two strikeouts. Hopefully this week’s performances are a better indicator of what Mychal Givens can do than his first week as a Met.

Friday’s extra-inning loss began with another brilliant performance from Max Scherzer. Perhaps even more impressive is that Scherzer looked shaky early, throwing 43 pitches through the first two innings and surrendering an early run in the first. Despite giving up nine hits, he held the Phillies to just the one run, getting the big outs when it counted. And he settled in to ultimately pitch seven innings, striking out six batters and walking none. Although it wasn’t quite fireball-level dominance, it was exactly the type of outing an ace delivers—giving his team a chance to win even when he is not at his best.

With the game still tied at one on Friday in the late innings, the Mets went to their best high-leverage relievers to keep it tied and those pitchers did their jobs. First, Adam Ottavino continued his run of dominance by delivering a scoreless eighth inning. He worked around a one-out single by Nick Castellanos and struck out the next two batters he faced to end the threat. It was one of three appearances for Ottavino this week and like the rest of the bullpen, he was not scored upon in any of them. He started his week by completing the game for Chris Bassitt in relief on Monday to put the bow on that tidy victory. He gave up a hit and walked a batter, but also struck out a batter in the scoreless ninth. Those likely would have been Ottavino’s only outings for the week if not for Joely Rodríguez getting into trouble in the ninth inning yesterday. More on that later, but Ottavino came in to bail him out and struck out Alec Bohm to record the final out of the game and preserve the shutout.

In a tie game in the ninth inning at home on Friday, Buck Showalter did the conventional thing and turned to his closer Edwin Díaz. And Díaz continued to do what he has been doing all season—save situation or not. Díaz pitched a 1-2-3 ninth inning complete with two strikeouts, giving the Mets a chance to walk it off in the bottom of the ninth (which they almost did). Luckily the Mets’ margin of victory in the three games of the Reds series spared Showalter from having to use Díaz in any of those games, but he earned his 27th save of the season for a scoreless ninth inning on Saturday, preserving the narrow 1-0 victory in that contest. That outing was not without agita; Díaz’s slider command was off and he walked two batters, who then pulled off a double-steal to put the go-ahead run in scoring position. But Díaz still got the job done, striking out Nick Castellanos to end the game.

That performance preserved the shutout for Jacob deGrom, who gets the goat fireball again for six shutout innings of work. deGrom surrendered just two hits and struck out ten batters while walking none. At one point he retired 16 consecutive batters. He needed only 76 pitches to get through the six innings, accepting the limits being kept on him to keep him healthy through the stretch run and postseason. Since returning from the injured list, deGrom has 28 strikeouts and one walk in 16 23 innings. His ERA is 1.62. His WHIP is 0.42. He has allowed two earned runs or fewer in 22 consecutive home starts, which is a Major League record. Put simply, he’s the best to ever do it. And he hasn’t missed a beat.

The bullpen held the fort in relief of deGrom, as they did all week. In addition to Díaz earning the save in the ninth, Seth Lugo earned his 14th hold of the season for a scoreless seventh inning of work. Lugo gave up a hit and struck out one batter while walking none in the outing. Lugo also pitched a scoreless ninth inning in Tuesday’s victory over the Reds and a scoreless seventh inning the next day in relief of Taijuan Walker. Lugo now holds a 1.93 ERA over 9 13 innings of work in the second half thus far.

Trevor May followed Lugo in the eighth inning on Saturday and looked as sharp as he has looked since returning from the injured list. He pitched a 1-2-3 inning to preserve the narrow lead and the shutout and struck out two batters in the process, earning his third hold of the season. May was a little less sharp in his other outing this week, which was on Tuesday against the Reds. He needed nearly 30 pitches to get through that eighth inning because he walked two batters. But he also recorded three strikeouts.

That outing on Tuesday came in relief of Carlos Carrasco, who earned his team-leading 13th win of the season with yet another quality start. He gave up two runs on seven hits through 6 23 innings of work, walking one batter and striking out nine. Carrasco held the Reds scoreless through the first six frames, but seemed to lose it a bit in the seventh. He gave up a one-out, two-run homer to Jake Fraley and then bounced back to strike out the next batter for the second out, but then yielded two straight singles, necessitating Givens coming in the game to record the final out.

The next day, Taijuan Walker delivered a quality start of his own to earn his tenth win of the season and help complete the sweep of the Reds. Walker gave up two runs on five hits through six innings of work, striking out five batters and walking three. After the rough outing against the Braves, it was certainly a nice bounce back start for Walker.

Thanks to the Mets’ offensive explosion against T.J. Zeuch, Wednesday’s game was not close, which allowed the Mets to give their more trusted relievers some rest. The freshly recalled Adonis Medina tossed a 1-2-3 ninth inning to finish off the victory and the sweep, complete with a strikeout. That was Medina’s only outing for the week.

Trevor Williams also got an inning of work in, working around a walk to pitch a scoreless eighth inning. With the Mets tagging Zack Wheeler for six runs yesterday, Williams entered the game in long relief for Chris Bassitt, tossing two scoreless innings in that contest as well. He gave up two hits and struck out one batter in that outing. Williams now has a 1.16 ERA in 31 innings this year as a reliever.

Chris Bassitt earned his tenth win of the season yesterday, holding the Phillies scoreless over five innings of work. He gave up four hits, walked two batters, and struck out five in the outing. But the real reason he earns a fireball this week is for his performance on Monday, in which he spelled the bullpen by going eight innings. Over that span, he gave up just one run on eight hits, striking out eight batters and walking one. Bassitt’s ERA is down to 3.27 for the season.

Really the only blemish at all in this week’s meter was Joely Rodríguez’s performance yesterday. With the Mets holding a sizeable lead, Rodríguez was given the ninth inning and immediately allowed two straight hits to begin the inning. He then bounced back to strike out Matt Vierling and Bryson Stott, but then walked Rhys Hoskins to load the bases. Buck Showalter wasn’t taking any chances on letting the game (and the series victory) get away, so he brought in Ottavino, who struck out Alec Bohm to end the game. Given the fact that Rodríguez was never charged with a run, it’s hard to slap a down arrow on him, but I can’t give him good marks for making Ottavino pitch in a game he shouldn’t have had to. But, if that’s the worst thing to happen to the Mets pitching staff in a given week, you know it’s been a good week.