The Mets used a whopping nineteen pitchers this week, which I’m pretty sure is a record. This meter looks a lot better than I expected it to, but a lot of the up arrows for the relievers are based on one appearance before a pitcher was shuttled down to Triple-A once more. The broad strokes view of the situation is that the top two in the rotation in Kodai Senga and José Quintana continue to be excellent, but the starting rotation beyond that is unreliable in the absence of Max Scherzer and Justin Verlander. However, Joey Lucchesi did have quite an excellent spot start this week.
Since I mentioned Joey Lucchesi’s excellent spot start, we’ll start there. Lucchesi had been sidelined down in Triple-A with some knee tendonitis for about a month otherwise he likely would have been given another chance long ago. As it stands, he took the mound for the Mets for the first time since May on Friday night and was excellent, holding the Cardinals scoreless through 5 2⁄3 innings. He fell just shy of a quality start, but he did earn the win—his second win of the season. He struck out five batters and walked two in the outing. Lucchesi was sent back down to Triple-A, as this outing was just to get Kodai Senga some extra rest, but it seems likely he will be back in September if not before then.
Phil Bickford recorded the biggest out of the night on Friday night when Lucchesi got in trouble in the sixth inning, loading the bases on a walk, but then striking out the pinch hitter Alec Burleson to help keep the Mets’ lead and the shutout in tact. That was the only out he recorded in that outing but it was a king-sized one, earning him his fourth hold of the season. Bickford also pitched a scoreless seventh inning in Monday’s victory. He did allow a run in his outing on Wednesday, but did not blow the lead and the Mets went on to win the game.
This week was a week of triumphant returns for a few pitchers, including Sam Coonrod, who pitched a 1-2-3 seventh inning in relief of Lucchesi on Friday and a scoreless sixth inning in Monday’s win complete with two strikeouts. Coonrod also recorded an out in yesterday’s game via the strikeout. Coonrod had distinguished himself in spring training and put himself on the fast track to a spot in the opening day bullpen before being felled by a lat strain that kept him out until now.
Back on the Mets after being designated for assignment for a second time, Dennis Santana pitched the final two innings of Friday’s game and gave up one run on two hits, walking two and striking out one. The run did break up the shutout, but was ultimately inconsequential. Santana was rewarded for that performance by being designated for assignment for a third time.
With the extra day of rest under his belt thanks to Lucchesi’s performance on Friday, Kodai Senga took the mound on Saturday and was fantastic again. A solo homer by Nolan Arenado was the only damage off Senga over seven strong innings of work. Senga struck out five and walked two in the outing, earning his tenth win of the season with the Mets bats holding up their end of the bargain. Senga has lowered his season ERA to 3.19 and continues to bolster his Rookie of the Year case every week.
Vinny Nittoli, freshly called up from Triple-A, pitched the final two innings of Saturday’s game in relief of Senga and gave up one run on three hits, striking out two and walking none. That was his only outing for the week.
Lefty Adam Kolarek, acquired from the Dodgers along with Bickford at the deadline, was also called up on Saturday and made his Mets debut yesterday, retiring the two batters he faced to start off the sixth inning.
Carlos Carrasco started yesterday’s game and was shaky, limiting the damage to just three runs on nine hits, but lasting just four innings. He struck out three batters and walked none, taking the loss. After doing okay last week, Carrasco took a step back again this week, putting up two mediocre outings. On Monday, Buck Showalter did not give Carrasco a very long leash, pulling him after just three innings, which he needed a whopping 88 pitches to complete. He yielded two runs on four hits, striking out five and walking three.
Tyson Miller was the bullpen hero of Monday’s game, pitching two scoreless innings in relief of Carrasco and earning the win. He walked two batters, but did not give up any hits over the two frames. Miller was promptly then optioned back to Triple-A.
José Butto was called up in Miller’s place and things did not go well for him. He took the loss in Tuesday’s game when he gave up three runs over 2 2⁄3 innings of work in long relief. Like much of the pitching staff this week, Butto’s problem was the walks—an issue that has plagued him for most of his career. He struck out five batters in the outing, but also walked three.
Butto’s outing came in relief of David Peterson, who was also felled by the walk, issuing a whopping six free passes in 3 2⁄3 innings of work. He only doesn’t get a poor grade because he limited the damage to just one run (a solo homer) over that span, but walking that many batters is not a recipe for success and it continues to be a problem for Peterson.
After Butto’s tribulations, Grant Hartwig poured gasoline on the fire, giving up three runs of his own in just 1⁄3 of an inning of work. All told, the Pirates put up a six spot on Mets pitching in that disastrous seventh inning, the results of which are shared between Butto and Hartwig’s ledgers. Hartwig did bounce back to earn a hold in Thursday’s victory in a high leverage situation with a scoreless eighth inning, which saves him from poop emoji status.
José Quintana started Thursday’s game and had yet another strong outing in which he gave up two runs on three hits in six innings of work, striking out five batters and walking four. The difference this time is that he actually got some run support and finally earned a win—his first of the season.
Drew Smith followed Quintana, working around a walk to pitch a scoreless seventh inning and earn his 11th hold of the season. It was a strong week for Smith; he also pitched a scoreless fifth inning in relief of Carrasco in yesterday’s game and contributed 1 1⁄3 scoreless innings with three strikeouts after things fell apart for the Mets in Tuesday’s loss.
Trevor Gott earned the save in Thursday’s victory—his first save of the season. Gott also pitched a 1-2-3 eighth inning in Monday’s win and did the same in Wednesday’s series finale against the Pirates. If it wasn’t for yesterday’s game, Gott would be in the green for the second straight week, but unfortunately his week took a turn for the worst at the very end. With the Mets down by only a run, Gott came in to pitch the seventh inning yesterday and coughed up four insurance runs to the Cardinals while only recording one out.
Reed Garrett then came in to clean up the mess and did so, pitching 1 2⁄3 scoreless innings to close out yesterday’s game, though it was already too late at that point. Garrett gave up one hit, struck out a batter, and walked none in the outing, which was his only appearance this week.
Much like the rest of the staff, Tylor Megill walked too many batters in his start—four over five innings of work—but was otherwise fine, earning his seventh victory of the season on Wednesday to push his record over the .500 mark. He limited the damage to just two runs in five innings of work. He struck out five batters in the outing. It was nothing to write home about, but it was enough for the Mets to win the game.
The bullpen did its job that day as well. After Bickford contributed a scoreless sixth, Brooks Raley pitched a 1-2-3 seventh and earned his 21st hold of the season, which puts him in the top ten in baseball in that category. Raley also worked around a hit to pitch a scoreless ninth inning in Tuesday’s loss. Raley’s ERA for the season is down to a sparkling 2.55.
Adam Ottavino sealed Wednesday’s series victory with a scoreless ninth inning, in which he walked one batter and struck out one batter. Like Raley, Ottavino also had a clean sheet this week, twirling a 1-2-3 ninth inning in Monday’s victory with two strikeouts.