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Mets Not Built To Have Seth Lugo In Starting Rotation

Time and again, we’ve seen Seth Lugo come up huge. That’s both in the starting rotation, where he wants to be, and the bullpen, where he has established himself as the best reliever in baseball.

When it comes to Lugo, it’s never really been a question of whether he could pitch in the rotation. The question is what is his best role on this Mets team.

As this Mets bullpen and pitching staff as a whole is constituted, they lean on Lugo’s ability to not just go multiple innings, but to also get the biggest outs in the game. With the current state of the rotation, you could argue Lugo’s ability to eat those innings in pressure spots makes him all the more needed in the bullpen.

With injuries and opt outs, Jacob deGrom is the only Mets starter guaranteed to give you at least five innings. That’s it. As a result, there’s an onus and strain on the bullpen.

What makes it all the worse is Robert Gsellman and Corey Oswalt being in the rotation. Those are two pitchers who could be relied upon to at least eat innings.

Keep in mind, that’s just eat innings. Presumably, you can also have Paul Sewald, Walker Lockett, and Franklyn Kilome do that. However, that’s only one part of the equation.

The real value with Lugo is his versatility. He’s a one inning closer. He’s a long man. He’s there to bail you out of the inning. No one else can do what he does.

The aforementioned long men can give you innings, but they cannot be relied upon in a crucial spot. Right now, Justin Wilson and maybe Jared Hughes can be relied upon in a crucial spot, but they can’t give you more than three outs in a consistent fashion.

As we saw last night, the Mets bullpen is still very suspect in those late innings when Lugo is unavailable. Part of the reason is Dellin Betances, Edwin Diaz, and Jeurys Familia are occasionally prone to fits of wildness.

With respect to Diaz and Familia, they’ve made significant strides from their disastrous 2019 season. As previously explained, Diaz can likely be relied upon to close again. However, like most closers, he’s not as good or as reliable when being brought into a jam.

With respect to Betances, he’s not the same reliever he once was. His velocity is down, and he’s more hittable. As a result, he’s no longer the guy you can just plug into the seventh or eighth.

Now, you may want to argue Steven Matz may be able to be that guy. If that is the case, why remove him from the rotation and disrupt the status quo.

Taking Matz out of the rotation implicitly means the Mets don’t trust him. That goes double when the Mets won’t start him against a Martins team with the fifth wurst wRC+ in the National League.

Digging deeper, the Marlins are the worst offensive team the Mets face all year. This is the team you let Matz get right against. That is all the more the case when the Marlins have a 69 wRC+ against left-handed pitching.

All told, the Mets bullpen is already getting taxed. It’s going to get worse with every Gsellman and Oswalt start. Now, it’s going to get worse with each Lugo 2-3 inning start.

Removing Matz from the rotation now is a short-sighted panic move. The team simply doesn’t have the arms for three bullpen games through each turn through the rotation. They’re even less equipped without Lugo.

In the end, Lugo will be a good starter. It’s just that the entire team is not built to have Lugo in the rotation. The Mets should be aware of this, but as usual, Brodie Van Wagenen thinks he knows better than everyone. Each and every time he thinks that, the decision blows up in the Mets faces.

Chances are, this decision will too.

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