As is often true for .500 teams, which is exactly what the Mets are at the moment, they can never get everything going at the same time. The pitching meter looks quite good this week with not a poop emoji in sight and hardly any red either, for that matter. With the exception of Kodai Senga’s abbreviated outing yesterday, the starting rotation pitched well enough to keep the Mets in every game this week—and even in yesterday’s game the Mets did make up the deficit Senga created. Unfortunately because of the general ineptitude of the Mets’ lineup this week, every game was close and the few bad bullpen performances the Mets had were very impactful.
It was the tale of two starts this week for Kodai Senga, who I was looking forward to awarding a fireball for his absolutely dominant performance on Tuesday, but then yesterday happened. This seems to be the way it goes for Senga, who is virtually unhittable when he is able to command his signature ghost fork, but issues far too many walks when he can’t command it. On Tuesday, he was untouchable, yielding just one hit over seven shutout innings. He struck out nine Phillies batters and walked none. It was probably his best start in a Mets uniform and for that fireball-worthy performance, he earned his fifth win of the season. The problem is that he was knocked out of the game after just 2 2⁄3 innings of work yesterday, over which he walked a whopping five batters and gave up four runs. The offense clawed back to tie the game and spare Senga the loss, but it was a poop emoji-worthy performance that balances out his fireball outing on Tuesday to earn him a side arrow for the week.
After an awful week last week, Stephen Nogosek was the hero in long relief for Senga yesterday, giving the Mets a chance to come back by pitching three scoreless innings. He gave up one hit, walked one, and struck out four in the outing, which represents his only work for the week. The Mets’ other long reliever Tommy Hunter did not appear in a game this week, given that mop-up duty opportunities were not plentiful in a week in which the Mets played in mostly close games and with the exception of Senga yesterday, the Mets’ starters were finally able to go deep into games.
It was Dominic Leone who ultimately took the loss yesterday, capping off a bad week on the mound for him. After recording the final out in the sixth inning, Leone came back out for the seventh inning and gave up a go-ahead two-run homer to Brandon Belt, putting the Mets behind once again after they had clawed all the way back from being down early via four solo homers. Leone did toss a 1-2-3 seventh inning in relief of Verlander in the series opener against the Blue Jays on Friday night, but that performance is not enough to save him from a poor grade this week for being the goat in yesterday’s game.
Justin Verlander took a very unfortunate loss on Friday night, despite a strong performance. Verlander gave up a leadoff home run to George Springer, but then nothing else over six innings of work. He scattered five hits, walked three batters, and struck out eight. But he still took the loss because that solo homer from Springer was all the Blue Jays would need, as Chris Bassitt and the Toronto bullpen shut out the Mets.
Drew Smith followed Leone in relief both on Friday and yesterday and pitched well in both outings. On Friday, he worked around a hit to pitch a scoreless eighth inning to keep the Mets in the game and pitched a 1-2-3 eighth inning with two strikeouts yesterday. Smith also earned his second save of the season for recording the final out of the ninth inning in Thursday’s victory to complete the sweep of the Phillies with the tying run at the plate.
Jeff Brigham pitched after Smith in both Friday and yesterday’s games. Yesterday’s outing was a good one—a 1-2-3 ninth inning complete with two strikeouts. Friday’s outing did not go as well for Brigham. He gave up a two-run homer to Daulton Varsho in the ninth; though the Mets were shut out and those runs were ultimately not the difference in the game, it was still crucial insurance for the Blue Jays. However, Brigham did earn his fourth hold of the season by pitching a scoreless eighth inning in Thursday’s victory.
That scoreless eighth came in relief of Max Scherzer, who pitched another good game this week and is back to being the ace of the staff. Scherzer earned his fifth win of the season yesterday by holding the Phillies to just two runs (only one of them earned) on five hits over seven innings of work. Scherzer struck out nine batters and walked only one in the outing.
In the ninth inning on Thursday, Brooks Raley bent, but did not break. With the big lefties for the Phillies coming up, he was tasked with the inning and struck out Bryce Harper and Kyle Schwarber as well, but in between those two strikeouts he gave up a hit to the righty Castellanos and had to yield to Drew Smith to record the final out, which Smith did without incident. For that performance, Raley earned his thirteenth hold of the season. Raley also earned a hold in Wednesday’s victory, pitching 1 1⁄3 scoreless innings, over which he gave up two hits and struck out three batters. The one blemish on Raley’s week is his performance in Saturday’s game. With the Mets trying to hang on to a skinny one-run lead, Raley was called upon in relief of Tylor Megill with one out and the tying run in scoring position and the go-ahead run on first base. He recorded the first out, but then yielded a game-tying single to Alejandro Kirk. He got out of the inning without further damage and the run was charged to Megill, but it was still a costly mistake on Raley’s part.
That run was in fact the only run charged to Tylor Megill over his 5 1⁄3 innings of work on Saturday. The only thing about Megill’s outing that keeps him from earning top marks on the meter this week is that he walked five batters, which limited his longevity in the game. But, the Mets will certainly take that performance from their fifth starter all day. Megill also struck out five batters in the outing.
After Raley allowed the tying run in the sixth on Saturday, Adam Ottavino came into a tie game and pitched a 1-2-3 seventh inning and recorded the first two outs of the eighth inning as well. It was a good week for Ottavino, who had a clean sheet this week across all three of his appearances. He earned his sixth hold of the season for pitching a scoreless eighth inning in relief of Senga on Tuesday and followed that up by recording the final two outs of the eighth inning on Wednesday.
David Robertson’s week started off well, but ended poorly. He followed Ottavino in both Tuesday and Wednesday’s victories and earned the save in both games to bring his total for the season up to ten saves. He then entered the game with two outs in the eighth inning on Saturday and allowed a single, but then struck out Alejandro Kirk to preserve the tie. He came back out for the ninth inning and that is when things went sideways. Robertson gave up a one-out single to George Springer, who promptly stole second to put the go-ahead run in scoring position. Robertson then bounced back to strike out Bo Bichette for the second out, but Buck Showalter made the inexplicable choice to pitch to Vlad Guerrero Jr. with Cavan Biggio and his 66 OPS+ on deck. The result was about what you’d expect. Guerrero laced a double down the left field line to put the Blue Jays in front, where they would stay. It’s hard to ding Robertson for this; he did strike out Biggio after that, but ultimately he didn’t get the job done and he has to wear it for his manager’s poor choice.
Carlos Carrasco earned the victory in Wednesday’s game for six strong innings of work and is in the green for the second straight week, which is very encouraging to see. Carrasco scattered six hits and gave up just one run on a solo homer to Edmundo Sosa in the third inning. He struck out four batters and walked only one. Hopefully these past couple of outings will be the start of a nice run for Carrasco, who could desperately use it.