Mets Bullpen Can’t Pull Inside Straight on Another Brutal Mother’s Day Loss
When the 2019 schedule is released, and the Mets are going to have to make sure Jacob deGrom doesn’t start the game because it will inevitably lead in heartbreak. Last year, it was the inexplicable loss to the Brewers. This year, it was one of those everything goes wrong type of games.
For his one inning of work, deGrom turned into Houdini. After walking the bases loaded to start the game, deGrom had to recalibrate and try to get through the inning by limiting the damage. Well, he would do much more than that.
First, he struck out Rhys Hoskins. Then on a dribbler in front of the plate, deGrom got to the ball, and he nailed Cesar Hernandez at home. Finally, he got Maikel Franco to strike out on a 3-2 pitch. It was downright miraculous.
It also required 45 pitches. With that heavy first inning workload, and with his just coming off the disabled list prior to the game after his hyper-extended elbow issue, Mickey Callaway did the prudent thing and put the game in his bullpen’s hands.
While the bullpen was going to the whip, the Mets offense was getting whipped by Aaron Nola who would allow just one run over six to lower his season ERA to 1.99.
It wasn’t that this Mets offense was dominated. Far from it. It’s that the offense didn’t do anything when they had the opportunities.
After Brandon Nimmo got things started with a bunt against the shift, the Mets loaded the bases with one out. Wilmer Flores then struck out on four pitches, and Michael Conforto hit the second pitch he saw for an inning ending ground out.
In each of the subsequent innings, the Mets would get at least one base runner on against Nola, and they would do nothing. That was until the sixth when Nola didn’t get one in enough to Yoenis Cespedes, who would hit it out to give the Mets a 1-0 lead.
— New York Mets (@Mets) May 13, 2018
The rally would continue with Adrian Gonzalez and Flores hitting back-to-back singles, and Conforto getting ahead in the count at 2-0. That 2-0 count would turn into an awful at-bat with Conforto striking out, and Devin Mesoraco following with an inning ending double play. Essentially, they did the polar opposite of what they did on Friday night.
Really, this one run gave the Mets bullpen little margin of error. Until the sixth, they were pitching quite well. Robert Gsellman threw three scoreless before the Mets turned to Paul Sewald, who pitched a scoreless fifth. Sewald, who has mostly struggled in May, wouldn’t have it in the sixth.
Santana began the inning with a double, and Scott Kingery walked. Between the rally and this being a bullpen game, Callaway had AJ Ramos and Jerry Blevins warming in the bullpen. They were there when Sewald struck out Jorge Alfaro, and they were there when the left-handed pinch hitter Nick Williams hit a go-ahead three run homer off of Sewald.
Now, there are many ways you could choose to defend the decision. Sewald has been better than Blevins all season long against left-handed pitching. Callaway wanted to get length from as many people as he could muster. However, he had double barrel action going on so he would have Blevins ready for the big at-bat against a left-handed batter, and he didn’t use him.
While you can agree with the decision to go with Sewald, you cannot agree with the thought process of getting your LOOGY warmed up for a big spot and then refusing to use him in that big spot. If you are not using Blevins there, you’re not going to use him in the game.
From there, the Mets had another rally they didn’t fully cash in on. Nimmo drew his first or two walks for the game, and he scored on the ensuing Asdrubal Cabrera double. It was a one run game, and Cespedes strode up to the plate. There was no guessing right this time as Luis Garcia got him to pop out to end the inning.
Instead of building on the momentum from Friday’s Conforto homer, the Mets once again failed to muster enough offense, and maybe even energy to pull this one out. We were also left wondering about Callaway’s thought process with his failing to use Blevins. All-in-all, a disheartening loss.
Game Notes: Luis Guillorme collected his first MLB hit with a bloop pinch-hit single to center in the second inning. Dominic Smith struck out in his only plate appearance, and he will be sent down to Triple-A with Jay Bruce‘s paternity leave ending. Buddy Baumann was sent down to the minors to make room for deGrom. His Mets experience amounted to little more than his getting a pending one game suspension out of the way.