What Happened To This Bullpen?

Watching the game yesterday, we all got to see both Jerry Blevins and Addison Reed meltdown.  Since both players were acquired by the Mets, both pitchers have been as dominant as you could expect.  This was a day after Hansel Robles, who has arguably been the Mets best reliever this season, completely melted down.  If you have been watching the Mets so far this season, you expected this to happen sooner or later.

With the loss of Noah Syndergaard and the rest of the starting pitching staff under-performing, Terry Collins has had to go to the bullpen far too frequently early this season.  In fact, Jacob deGrom is the only starting pitcher who is averaging at least six innings this season.  Essentially, the bullpen is needed for about 40% of the innings pitched in any game.  The four extra inning games doesn’t help much either.

What also doesn’t help is how Collins has chosen to deploy his bullpen.  Lately, we have seen Collins using multiple relievers to get through just one inning.  What is bizarre about that approach is the score doesn’t matter.  Collins is as prone to do this in a one run game as he is in a five run game.  When you go to the well too often with the same guys time and again, you are going to tire your bullpen arms out.  It’s now the middle of May, and the Mets are about one-fifth through their schedule.  Here is the current pace for each of the Mets relievers:

  • Blevins – 95
  • Reed – 90
  • Salas – 90
  • Robles – 86
  • Edgin – 81

No one has made more than 90 appearances in a season since Pedro Feliciano made 92 appearances for the 2010 Mets.  The Mets currently have three relievers on pace to make 90 appearances.  The last time there were multiple pitchers in baseball who made 90 appearances in a season was 1979.  By the way, this is the only time it has happened in major league history.  The last time there were five relievers who have made 80 plus appearances in all of baseball.  On their own, the Mets are on pace to do that.

But it’s not just those relievers.  Jeurys Familia was eligible to pitch in just 18 games between his suspension and subsequent surgery.  Familia pitched in 11 of those games.  At that usage rate, Familia was on a pace to appear in 99 games.  That shouldn’t be much of a surprise as Familia has led the major leagues in appearances since the 2014 season.

Josh Smoker was demoted on May 9th due to his pitching to a 7.88 ERA and a 1.750 WHIP.  When he was demoted, Smoker had appeared in 15 of the Mets 32 games.  At the rate he was used, Smoker was on pace to appear in 76 games.  That number usually leads most teams.  That number was the sixth most on the Mets.

Since Paul Sewald has been recalled on May 1st, he is pitching on a pace to appear in 68 games this season.  This makes him the reliever who has been pitching with a manageable workload.  He is also one of the best relievers in the Mets bullpen right now.

Overall, this bullpen is being used at an unprecedented rate.  As we saw in Milwaukee, this bullpen is starting to crack.  That’s troubling when you consider the Mets have carried an extra reliever for much of the season.  The blame for this goes on the starters for not going deep into games.  It also goes on Collins for him not being judicious in how he deploys his bullpen arms.  Whatever the case, what was once a strength for the Mets is now becoming a liability.  Something has to change and fast.

6 thoughts on “What Happened To This Bullpen?”

  1. Gothamist says:

    I admire Terry Collin’s belief that his entire pitching troops can take on a higher work load, that the team can always overcome and find a way, that more teams have less proven pens and Mets are not so dissimilar and that Terry feels strongly that if the guys in the pen with higher loads do falter that they can be EASILY replaced.

    I admire his optimism.

    I can understand that in last August that Terry was willing to bring up TJ RIVERA, GAVIN CECCHINI, etc play BRANDON NIMMO more if the starting eight did not produce. His narrative on that week worked.

    I can understand why he thinks it can work now with his pitchers that he has reserves in the minors and pitchers that can be admired by trade.

    Is this the Joe Maddon or Joe Girardi approach? I do not know

    I am disappointed that if Terry was to retire in 2017 that he will not get his ring however the Mets already have injuries, have the budget of a mid market team where their training staff may not be flush with cash for top people that he should be very sure of himself when extending work loads.

    Relief core: Did these pitchers take on these roles in the previous two seasons and if not are they young enough to do much more? Is the pitching location of this year that brings higher BB rates and higher HRs (DeGrom, Reed, Harvey, Robles, Gsellman) so close, the margin of error razor thin that with slight adjustments and / or high stamina that great change can occur almost overnight?

    Nats : They may not have a closer also but how do the lineups and other pitching staffs compare? Are we realistically going to compete?

    Starters: What happened since March where the starters can now pitch 120-130 pitches?

    If players like Grandy are not performing yet what about slightly better lineup protection.

    If Cespesdes was the key difference in 2015/2016 runs to go to the post season, if the lineup and starters are older, a long way from a consistent average level of results, the pen is lesser than 2015, there is no late inning winner in Daniel Murphy and Familia is gone for the year why not put the health of his players first?

    These are the MMMs, the Mid Market Mets are we being realistic?

    1. metsdaddy says:

      Terry does the same thing year-in and year-out. He never changes. Eventually, he injures arms. The latest victim was Familia.

      When Henderson went down last year was the exact point Collins should’ve been fired.

  2. Gothamist says:

    The play where Neil Walker did not score could have been done better if Neil blindly ran home at full speed and the on deck batter ran to help him decide to slide or not, first base coach is not just a cheerleader and could have done more but once again Lucas Duda was in a fog and he should have known:

    – There were two outs as he ran to second
    – That Neil Walker was not a speedster
    – That Dudes could have glanced home
    – That he could have slowed down or got into a run down

    I see this not as a fog but something else that chronically bears its ugly head.

    I have no hope that he can be counted on for instincts or baseball IQ.

    Losing or scoring a run became so much of a low priority…

    First base coach, Duda and Walker is a reflection of ?

    1. metsdaddy says:

      Tom Goodwin is the least of the Mets issues right now.

  3. Gothamist says:

    I will let it be….

  4. Gothamist says:

    Duda Wonderlic throw home 5/16….

    Verdict: Not treatable

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