New York Mets Bullpen Solid in Tie Against Cardinals

On day two of Spring Training, the New York Mets and St. Louis Cardinals finished in a 3-3 tie. Jake Marisnick‘s solo home run, Ryan Cordell‘s double and a J.D. Davis sacrifice fly accounted for the three Mets runs.

Like most early Spring Training games, the big league ready arms threw the first half of the game. Steven Matz threw the first inning for the Mets and allowed a leadoff home run to Harrison Bader. Matz settled in to retire the following three batters and struck out one. His much-improved charge-up looked good during his one inning of work.

Bullpen Dominance

The slimmed-down Jeurys Familia took over after Matz in the second inning. He worked around a couple of baserunners to pitch a scoreless second. Familia is back to throwing his sinker, slider, and splitter full time and featured each of them during his inning. He threw a couple of sinkers in the high 90s but mostly worked in the 93-95 range.

Brad Brach took over for the third and allowed a couple of baserunners but also struck out two. He was throwing in the high 80s, but his change-up looked in midseason form. The double Brach allowed mostly had to do with Tim Tebow playing left field. It was a tough play, but most Mets outfielders make the play.

Robert Gsellman put together a quick but eventful inning. It started with an Andres Gimenez error, followed by possible double play turned into a fielders choice, and the final batter flew out into a double play on a failed hit & run. Tyler Bashlor‘s one inning of work featured a strikeout, and his curveball was his best pitch with his velocity sitting at 93-95.

Minor league relievers finished off the rest of the game with Franklyn Kilome as the only one to allow runs. He allowed a line drive two-run homer to Edmundo Sosa, which tied the game. Velocities from most pitchers on both sides seemed lower than usual. It either had to do with pitchers still getting themselves game-ready along with the radar gun reading not playing as key a role it does in the regular season.

It was a solid day for the key Mets relievers, which will be something to build on as the first full week of games starts. We still have not seen Edwin Diaz pitch, and his Spring debut will be the most anticipated of Spring Training.

New York Mets: The Bullpen is Better, But Needs More Work

The New York Mets miraculous seven game winning streak came to an end on Friday after they suffered an 8-4 loss to the Pittsburgh Pirates. The Mets were only down one heading into the bottom of the eighth, but Tyler Bashlor allowed a three run home run to Starling Marte to put the game out of reach.

The Mets Need More Production From Their Bullpen

The Mets bullpen has undoubtedly been better since the All-Star break. Seth Lugo just won reliever of the month for July and Robert Gsellman has found his hard sinker/slider combo. Edwin Diaz and Jeurys Familia have been inconsistent with their control, but have pitched better of late.

The major X-Factor in the Mets success has been the production of lefties Justin Wilson and Luis Avilan. They both combined to only allow one run since the break and have pitched in key moments for the Mets. This has deepened the bullpen greatly, but they have not found success from the final guys who round out the bullpen.

The Revolving Door For A Seventh Bullpen Arm

Last nights loss was a perfect example of an issue the Mets still have not fixed yet. They do not have a seventh man in their bullpen who can come in and pitch an inning to keep the Mets in the game when they are behind. The Mets were down one so instead of wasting Lugo while losing, the Mets went to Bashlor who knocked the Mets out of the game.

The Mets have tried more than a fair share of guys in that role. They have gone through Wilmer Font, Drew Gagnon, Chris Flexen, Chris Mazza, Hector Santiago, Tim Peterson, Brooks Pounders, Paul Sewald, Stephen Nogosek, Daniel Zamora, Jacob Rhame, Ryan O’Rourke and Tyler Bashlor. The combined ERA of all of them in relief is 7.11 which is no where near useful.

If the Mets make the postseason, they can throw Steven Matz in the bullpen, but they need to get the postseason first. It may not hurt them if they cannot find someone to fill the role, but they cannot afford to send the same guys out there night after night. Someone has to bridge the gap when they are behind.

Tell Me If You Have Heard This One Before…The Mets Bullpen Blows Another Win

Zack Wheeler was spectacular again for the New York Mets last night. He hurled seven shutout innings against the Pittsburgh Pirates and retired 10 batters in a row at one point. Unfortunately for the 21st time this season the Mets bullpen took another loss, 5-3. The game once again showed the questionable decisions Mickey Callaway makes.

The downfall started with Robert Gsellman allowing Starling Marte to leadoff the eighth with a double then steal third. Marte was driven in on a sac fly then Gsellman allowed another hit to Josh Bell. Callaway had a quick hook and pulled him after three batters. He has struggled in his last 9.2 innings allowing 10 earned runs. Gsellman has lost the hard sink on his fastball and has been overworked because of the lack of good pitchers in the bullpen.

Give the Man a Break

Jeurys Familia was called upon to get the save in the ninth, a day after throwing 28 pitches. Familia proceeded to allow three straight base runners with two strikes and did not record an out in the rough outing. He had the same problem as Gsellman, his pitches did not have the same bite and looked overworked. Familia has struggled to get back in a groove since his return from the disabled list.

Anthony Swarzak was brought in to clean up Familia’s mess but ended up with a blown save. Swarzak had less than two minutes to warm up and when Callaway was asked about it he let out a sarcastic response. “So how it works in baseball in the ninth inning, or in any inning, is you get a guy going and they call down when they are ready…so they are ready when they go in.” Callaway showed some fire there, but if he put the same amount of thought into his in-game strategy as he did for his postgame remarks, this team would not be 14 games under .500.

Ride the Hot Hand

Tim Peterson was the only reliever who pitched well last night. He retired both of his batters to end the eighth inning in nine pitches. Callaway, in plain terms, said he was not ready to the “high leverage” moment in the ninth. There was not too much pressure on Peterson if he were to pitch the ninth. The Pirates were dead, the Mets are already way back in the standings and there was about 10,000 people left in the ballpark.

Callaway needs to throw the “reliever roles” out the window in that spot. Familia threw a lot of pitches the night before and the Mets simply do not have a dominant reliever they can trust right now. There is nothing to lose with keeping Peterson out there and if he struggled then you move on to the next guy. A bullpen can revolve around the same two or three guys. We still do not know what some of these new relievers can do in big spots and that was a great time to find out what you have.