New York Mets: Luis Rojas talks recently improved bullpen

New York Mets, Luis Rojas

The New York Mets are 5-9, good for last place in the National League East. Their latest loss came Friday night at the hands of the red-hot division rival Miami Marlins, 4-3, at Citi Field.

All in all, the Mets bullpen has been shaky this season, as they’ve blown three leads in the seventh inning or later, all leading to losses. Last season the Mets bullpen recorded a 4.99 ERA. At the same time, they’ve been much better over the last week, tossing a combined 14 scoreless innings.

Mets manager Luis Rojas alludes to relievers “attacking the zone” as the impetus for the bullpen’s improvement (quotes per Jared Schwartz of the New York Post).

“It’s just attacking the zone,” Rojas said after the game. “That first batter is key. First guy you’re gonna face coming out of the bullpen, that’s key. You’re setting the tone. Everyone’s looking from the dugout, everyone wants to see how your command is, what you’re mixing. Off of that, they know what type of approach they’re going to bring. They know what you have. Everyone is prepared against each pitcher in the bullpen, knowing the history and the data that’s collected by all teams. But once they witness you out there, what you’re commanding, if you’re attacking on that first hitter, later in the game guys will go after those early pitches.”

Rojas feels his relievers are setting the tone.

“It’s really good to set the tone with that first batter you face. I think that’s been key for the bullpen over the last few days.”

Edwin Diaz, who owned a 7.71 ERA after his first three appearances this season, has surrendered one baserunner over his last three appearances — which were non-save situations; Jeurys Familia sports a 3.18 ERA; Seth Lugo owns a 2.57 ERA.

The Mets play the Marlins on Saturday in the second game of a three-game set.

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