Outside of a couple of very poor bullpen performances, the final week of the season went well for the Mets’ pitching staff. In particular, some of the arms who were fighting for their jobs in 2024 and beyond pitched well down the stretch, including in the final week.
Among that group is David Peterson, who is the sole fireball recipient in this final pitching meter of the 2023 season. Peterson started Thursday’s game against the Marlins, which was suspended in the ninth inning due to rain, but never resumed because of the outcome’s lack of significance for either team. That meant that even though the Marlins took the lead in the ninth, the game ended in a Mets win because the inning was never completed. In that game Peterson pitched seven shutout innings, yielding just four hits and striking out eight batters while walking four. It was a very positive note for Peterson’s season to end on.
Because the game never resumed, Grant Hartwig earned the win for pitching a 1-2-3 eighth inning in relief of Peterson. Hartwig also pitched a scoreless ninth inning in day game of Wednesday’s doubleheader, which was a lopsided victory for the Mets.
Joey Lucchesi earned the win for his strong effort in that game. He gave up seven hits, but limited the damage to just two runs over six innings of work. Lucchesi struck out three batters and walked two in the outing. Lucchesi ends the season 4-0 with a 2.89 ERA in 46 2⁄3 big league innings—quite the impressive performance and good enough to likely put him in the mix for a rotation slot next year.
After making his final start, Lucchesi was optioned back down to Triple-A to make room on the roster for a fresh arm, which turned out to be Denyi Reyes. Unfortunately, Reyes’ outing on Sunday went very poorly, ending his 2023 on a lowlight. He gave up five runs on six hits in the final game of the season over 2 1⁄3 innings of work.
Anthony Kay came in the game after Reyes on Sunday with one out in the ninth and poured gasoline on the fire, allowing a walk, a sacrifice fly, and then a three-run homer to blow the doors off the game. Of the four runs that crossed the plate with Kay on the mound, two were charged to Reyes and two were charged to Kay. Kay did pitch a scoreless inning in the night game of Wednesday’s doubleheader, but that is not enough to save him from earning a bad grade in the final week.
José Butto got tagged with the loss on Sunday, despite putting forth a solid performance in his final start of the season. Butto gave up two runs on five hits through six innings of work, striking out four batters and walking two. Butto has added a cutter to his repertoire in 2023 that has proven very effective in concert with his elite changeup, but his fastball, which he throws often, remains mediocre.
Of all the members of the rotation, José Quintana had the worst final outing of the season, lasting just four innings in Game 2 of Saturday’s doubleheader. He gave up four runs on seven hits, but only three of those runs were earned. He struck out five batters and walked none. Fortunately for Quintana, the Mets had their hitting shoes on and Francisco Alvarez’s two home runs helped power them to an easy victory.
Reed Garrett provided the standout pitching performance in that game, pitching three scoreless innings in relief of Quintana and earning the victory—his first of the season. He struck out four batters in the outing and gave up just one hit. That was his only outing in the final week.
Phil Bickford put up a zero in the final week of the season as well, striking out the side in the fifth inning of Saturday night’s victory. Bickford also pitched a scoreless seventh inning in Wednesday’s Game 2 loss.
Drew Smith also posted a clean sheet, pitching a 1-2-3 ninth inning to seal Saturday’s Game 2 victory. Smith also tossed a scoreless eighth inning in Wednesday’s Game 1 victory in relief of Lucchesi.
Add Trevor Gott’s name to the list of relievers in the “0.00 ERA in the final week” club. Gott worked around a hit to pitch a scoreless seventh inning in relief of Lucchesi on Wednesday afternoon, which represented his only outing for the week.
The final member of that club is Brooks Raley, who appeared in Game 2 of Wednesday’s doubleheader and in Game 1 of Saturday’s doubleheader. He worked around a walk to pitch a scoreless eighth inning on Wednesday and recorded the final two outs of the eighth inning on Saturday to help protect that lead.
Raley did give up an RBI single on Saturday that put the Phillies on the board; that run was charged to Tylor Megill, but it was the only run charged to Megill over 7 1⁄3 fantastic innings of work in his final start of the season. Megill struck out seven hitters and walked two in the outing. In the postgame presser, Megill credited part of his late-season success to a new pitch he is throwing using Kodai Senga’s ghost fork grip that he jokingly dubbed “The American Spork.” Hopefully the success with the spork sticks for Megill, who earned the win in Saturday’s game to push him over .500 for the season at 9-8.
Speaking of Kodai Senga, he had a solid start on Wednesday night to finish his season strong. He lasted just five innings, but he only gave up two runs on three hits. He walked three batters and struck out eight, becoming just the eighth major league rookie to strike out 200 batters and finish the season with an ERA below 3.00. It’s been quite the first season in the major leagues for Senga and hopefully that success continues in 2024 and beyond.
Unfortunately Senga’s efforts were spoiled by Adam Ottavino, who had a very poor final week of his season. Ottavino took the loss on Wednesday night, entering the game in the ninth with the score tied at two and allowing two runs that ended up to be the difference in the game. The first of the two runs was earned, but the second was not due to an error by Brett Baty. That said, the one run was all the Marlins needed. Ottavino also pitched the ninth inning of Game 1 of Saturday’s doubleheader. He was tasked with protecting a three-run lead and nearly let the game get away, allowing two runs before finally putting the inning to bed to record his twelfth save of the season—a career-high. Though not as incredible as his 2022 season, Ottavino had a strong 2023 campaign, this final week notwithstanding. Ottavino has a player option for $7.25 million; he has expressed interest in staying with the Mets in the past, but recently said he wanted to see how things “shake out” with the Mets over the next month.