Callaway May Be Overworking The Mets Bullpen

After an epic eighth inning bullpen meltdown against the Washington Nationals, the fans and media began the process of second guessing Mets manager Mickey Callaway. With that the central question was why Callaway went to Seth Lugo instead of allowing Jacob deGrom to face Howie Kendrick, who deGrom has completely dominated both that night and over the course of his career.

As we know, Lugo did the inexcuable and walked Kendrick on four pitches. This led to Jerry Blevins, AJ Ramos, and Jeurys Familia not getting the job done. With the exception of Blevins, there were ensuing questions about how each reliever was used in that inning.

These questions are interesting for debate, but they are missing the larger issue here. In his brief managerial career, Callaway has ridden the bullpen too hard for this team to have sustained success over the course of a 162 game schedule.

There are a number of caveats many people will cite. There have been a number of off days. The Mets pitchers aren’t going deep enough into games thereby forcing Callaway’s hand. The bullpen can’t possibly be overworked because they have pitched just the 17th more innings in the majors.

Here are some other key stats to consider. There are 15 pitchers in baseball who have made double digit appearances this season. The Mets have three of those pitchers with Familia, Ramos, and Blevins. By the way, they were also the three pitchers who failed to get the job done that fateful eighth inning.

By the way, the Mets are the only team to have three relievers make double digit appearances, and that number will grow to four when Robert Gsellman, who has scuffled a bit of late, makes his next appearance.

We tend to over-focus just on the number of appearances, innings, and pitches relievers throw. Them getting up to warm up also counts. It is part of the fatigue which can set in for a reliever.

At this point, we can not be definitively sure any of the Mets relievers are gassed even with the recent drop-off. Really, that can be explained by regression to the mean or just a fluke small sample size.

Here’s what we do know. For most of this season, Callaway has had a bullpen with an extra arm in it. Despite that, the Mets have had to make roster moves on two separate occasions to get a fresh arm into the bullpen. First, it was Corey Oswalt for a day. Now, it’s Gerson Bautista for who knows how long?

The answer to that one may just be up until he gets gassed and the Mets need to go back to the minors to pull up Hansel Robles or Jacob Rhame again. Maybe this time, it’s Tyler Bashlor who comes up to the majors straight from Double-A.

Point is, the way Callaway is using this bullpen is having an effect, and it is causing the Mets to need to dip into their minor league depth to get fresh arms into this bullpen. Maybe this was the plan all along, and that plan is buttressed by Sandy Alderson’s moves at the trade deadline last year. Probably not.

Whatever the case, the Mets are going to have to figure something out because this cannot continue for 162 games.

2 thoughts on “Callaway May Be Overworking The Mets Bullpen”

  1. Five Tool Ownership says:

    You raise a compelling argument.

    I felt the pen was not too over taxed Monday, post weekend yet I saw the need to win a game this series as crucial.

    I like each qualified prospect’s brief exposure to big club action as experience to leverage for Oswalt and Bautista. Where Chris Flexen will take his MLB time is still not clear to me.

    I am concerned about the individual temperament, support by the staff after poor outcomes, possible fragility of confidence of the relievers. Do they have less anxiety for roles have been set?

    Do not see enough consistency with two plus pitches in any pitcher to maintain high confidence in any reliever yet.

    Is lack of first pitch strikes an issue?
    Did the brawl with Colorado and SD effect pitchers willingness to pitch inside?

    How do you build for the future and compete today?
    Realmuto with a clean bill of health on his back issue would be a huge longer term add.

    Does Jeter covet two top MLB experienced players with a starter as #1.
    I see the deal as way too expensive.

    Answers I seek are:
    Is Callaway prioritizing:
    —Building Confidence
    —Riding streak(s)
    —Staying with strategy that only pitching can bring the playoffs
    —Treating every game like a game seven
    —Correctly protecting his starters
    —Expecting the starters to extend outings as weather improves
    —Using pen more or less than other teams (at this point)

    I personally have not questioned anything but a possible laissez fare approach with possible sacrifice ABATS: Lobaton and Harvey cone to mind

    My disappointments:

    —Why were the pitchers not throwing over to first much more in March knowing the projections for throwing runners out were not ideal?

    —Why are there no pick off plays at second base (is it Cabrera’s diminished athleticism and Rosario’s already high stress levels)?

  2. Blu2MileHigh says:

    I am more curious about the hitting. Why not have everyone prepared at first pitch for a fastball in their zone? What about Rosario and others not alternating ABATS going opposite field off outside of the plate? What about those pitchers who throw breaking stuff that have history of being non-strikes and just keying on fastballs?

    What about working on hitting in blind spots or inside border?

    Cespedes adjusted his hitting approach last night. Great job!
    What about just hitting it hard without seeking HRs just to get warm, get over .200 and cut K rate in half?

    Go with probabilities odds and previous ABATs with these specific pitchers.

    BTW on Nats pen there is a solid combo of pitchers acquired with bonus money, a second round and other pick and the finishers were acquired for three prospects last year. Some have low BBs others with high Ks and a solid lefty that can complete an inning on virtually every outing.

    Are any of these relievers recently called up in late 2016 and just converted to relievers?

    Who of these bunch throws under 93? Is that important to a pen?
    back to the top, I prefer plate fundamentals.

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