Adam Ottavino

Buck Needlessly Compromised Bullpen For Game 3

One of the reasons the New York Mets lost the 2015 World Series was Terry Collins bullpen usage. Ironically, Collins lost the Mets the World Series chasing a win.

In Game 3, the only game in the series the Mets would win, Collins used Addison Reed, Tyler Clippard, and Jeurys Familia . . . to protect a six run lead. SIX. RUN. LEAD.

Collins would later admit using Familia in Game 3 impacted his decision making in Game 4. Instead of Familia for six outs, Clippard started the eighth with the Mets up 3-2.

That proved the turning point in the series. After two one out walks, Familia entered, and that’s when Daniel Murphy booted the ball leading to the Mets loss.

The Mets losing Game 4 had its roots with Collins needlessly using his best relievers in Game 3. The Mets lost because they did way too much to try to win.

That may be exactly what Buck Showalter just did in Game 2 of the Wild Card Series.

In the seventh inning of Game 2, Showalter brought in Edwin Díaz to help preserve the Mets 3-2 lead. You could understand the decision with the San Diego Padres about to turn over their batting order again.

Getting Díaz through the Padres best hitters, regardless of the inning, was an inspired decision. Use your best reliever against their best hitters. The Mets had to win the game, and that was the best way to do it.

What the problem with what Showalter did was executing the plan and showing an inability to be adaptable to the game situation.

In the bottom of the seventh, the Mets offense finally exploded. They’d put four runs on the board to increase the Mets lead to 7-2.

During the inning, Díaz had not pitched in over 40 minutes. Despite that, Showalter showed no adaptability to the situation, and he never got another reliever warming.

Admittedly, there’s was way too much hand-wringing over the time. Díaz historically warms quickly and does not like to overdo it with the warm-ups. In many ways, he’s uniquely suited to this situation.

The time gap wasn’t the issue. It was going back to Díaz with a FIVE RUN LEAD IN THE EIGHTH INNING.

By losing Game 1, the Mets put themselves in a bad spot. They had to do everything to win Game 2. Realistically speaking, they won Game 2 by going up five heading into the eighth.

You could almost excuse Showalter for using Díaz to start the eighth. By getting through the rest of the heart of the order, you stop the Padres before they can start.

However, it’s a five run lead. Díaz threw an additional nine pitches. The hope is it won’t impact his availability to get six outs in Game 3.

While his use of Díaz was questionable, his use of Adam Ottavino was short-sighted and potentially very costly. Again, the initial idea was arguably defensible, but the totality of the decision making was deeply flawed.

Díaz left with a runner on. Ottavino came in and got the last out to end the inning. At that point, he had thrown five pitches and would’ve been fully available for Game 3.

The Mets had a number of bullpen arms they could’ve turned to in the ninth. Each one of them would’ve been able to hold a five run lead. Instead, Showalter stuck with Ottavino.

Relievers getting up and down like that is always a risky proposition. With respect to Ottavino, he didn’t have it in the ninth.

He would plunk a batter and walk three forcing home a run. In the process, he threw 30 pitches raising his pitch count to 35.

This means Showalter took a fully rested Díaz and compromised how much he might be able to pitch in Game 3. He then took a fully rested Ottavino, and he made him effectively unavailable for Game 3.

As bad as that was, Showalter made it worse because at that point he had no other choice.

After Ottavino walked in a run, Josh Bell came to the plate as the tying run. At that point, Díaz is out of the game, and Ottavino had to leave the game.

Showalter had little other choice than to use Seth Lugo. That is because Showalter’s decision making helped put the Mets in a position where they had to pull out all the stops.

Lugo got the job done. He only needed four pitches to earn his first career postseason save.

Using Lugo there was very problematic, and it may very well make him unavailable for Game 3.

By now, every Mets fan knows Lugo has a torn UCL. He’s opted not to have it surgically repaired, and based on his pitching, he made the right move.

However, it came with some compromises. For years, the Mets would not use him on back-to-back days. On the rare times this happens, Lugo typically struggles with a .788 OPS against and a 4.16 ERA.

He extremely rarely pitches three games in a row. If he were to appear in Game 3, that is exactly what would happen.

Some may say this is making too big of a deal out of the appearance. After all, he only threw four pitches. That position is severely misplaced.

Remember, Lugo got up to warm up multiple times in the game. When Jacob deGrom was struggling in the fifth, Lugo was warming to enter.

This means Lugo warmed twice in the game. He might’ve only thrown four pitches in the game, but he threw 17 over two days. In his career, he very rarely pitches on consecutive days, and no one will consider using him three straight.

As a result, he is probably out of the Game 3 mid. Even if he’s not, he probably should be. That’s an astonishing development.

After the Mets four run rally in the seventh, they were on their way to an easy win with a fully rested bullpen for Game 3.

Somehow, Showalter turned that possibly preventing Díaz from getting six outs (or impacting his effectiveness in doing so), not having Ottavino, and based on five plus years of history, having Lugo unavailable.

Having that happen is a complete and utter failure by Showalter. The only hope is this will not matter or cost the Mets from protecting a Game 3 lead. If it does, Showalter and Showalter alone will be to blame.

Mets 2022 Projected Postseason Roster (Final)

There was an in initial and second version of the potential New York Mets postseason roster. With the Wild Card Series upon us, it’s time for a final projection.

With respect to this projection, it’s focusing on just the Wild Card Series where the Mets will need a maximum of three starters. With that caveat in mind, here’s the final projection:

CATCHERS (3)

Álvarez’s final two games should be enough to make the roster. The only question is with McCann hitting again, does he supplant Nido as the guaranteed starter.

INFIELDERS (5)

No changes or surprises here. Of course, with injuries, McNeil might just be an outfielder for the postseason.

OUTFIELDERS (3)

Starling Marte is the only wild card here. If he’s good enough to go, he’s going to take someone’s spot. That’ll either be Gore or Vientos.

DH (2)

Marte’s and Darin Ruf‘s injuries basically guarantees Vientos’ spot. He won’t start with Álvarez likely to go against Blake Snell, but we may see him in a big pinch hitting spot.

STARTERS (5)

We know the Game 2 starter debate (start deGrom), and we know Bassitt starts the other game. Chances are, they want both Carrasco and Walker available for long relief even if it would make sense to leave at least one off for this very short series.

BULLPEN (8)

This picture became a lot more clearer. Trevor Williams threw too many innings in the season finale to be considered. We may see him in the next round.

Givens is healthy, and Rodriguez has pitched well of late. Smith is back in the late inning mix.

Really, choosing the bullpen went from difficult to easy over the past week, The important arms are healthy and ready to go.

In the end, we can only hope Buck Showalter deploys his arms well. If so, the Mets win this series.

2022 Mets Postseason History

The last time a current New York Mets player was in the postseason, Jacob deGrom took the ball in Game One of the 2015 NLDS in the first step of their journey to the pennant. We saw deGrom set the tone with 13 strikeouts over seven scoreless to pick up the win.

It was part of a great postseason for deGrom. If they had an NLDS MVP, it would’ve been his. Overall, he was 3-1 with a 2.88 ERA that postseason racking up 29 strikeouts.

Believe it or not, deGrom is the only Mets player remaining from that 2015 team. The Mets made it to the postseason the following year, but Seth Lugo was left off the Wild Card Game roster. However, that does not mean deGrom is the only Mets player with postseason experience. Here is a look at how the other Mets have fared.

Chris Bassitt

Stats: 1-0, 3.27 ERA, 1.455 WHIP, 0.8 BB/9, 7.4 K/9

Bassitt would receive two starts in the 2020 postseason for the Oakland Athetics. He was great against the Chicago White Sox picking up the win and evening the series. One note here is the Mets may be looking for him to pitch a Game 2 in the Wild Card Series again.

Mark Canha

Stats: .138/.212/.241, HR, 3 RBI

This century, the Athletics have been defined by quick postseason exits. That is what Canha has experienced being part of teams who lost the Wild Card Game in consecutive years and never advancing to the ALCS.

Carlos Carrasco

Stats: 0-1, 3.86 ERA, 1.286 WHIP, 4,.5 BB/9, 10.3 K/9

Carrasco would miss Cleveland’s pennant run with a broken right hand. Cleveland would lose in the ALDS in each of the ensuring years, but Carrasco did what he could to prevent that pitching well in his one start in each series.

Eduardo Escobar

Stats: .357/.357/.429, 2B

Escobar’s postseason experience is all of five games. While he amassed five hits, he didn’t have much of an impact for two teams that were quick exits.

Mychal Givens

Stats: 0-0, 0.00 ERA, 0.0 BB/9, 11.6 K/9

Givens lone postseason appearance came in that epic 11 inning Wild Card Game against the Toronto Blue Jays forever defined by Zack Britton not appearing in the game. Givens was brilliant in the game helping save the Baltimore Orioles by pitching 2 1/3 scoreless after Chris Tillman was knocked out in the fifth.

Terrance Gore

Stats: .000/.000/.000, 5 SB, CS

Gore is known as a lucky rabbit’s foot having been a part of two World Series winning teams. However, he has been more than that. He has been a pinch runner extraordinaire stealing five bases. One interesting fact is his one caught stealing was upon review when it was determined he slightly came off the bag against the Houston Astros in the 2015 ALDS.

Francisco Lindor

Stats: .263/.327/.463, 4 2B, 5 HR, 12 RBI, SB, 3 CS

Lindor has had huge moments in the postseason. In 2016, he had a .979 OPS in the ALCS, the only LCS he has played in his career. In his last postseason appearance, the 2018 ALDS, Lindor was great against the eventual pennant winning Houston Astros with a 1.273 OPS.

Starling Marte

Stats: .167/.231/.306, 2 2B, HR, RBI, SB

Like Canha, Marte played for a Pittsburgh Pirates team known for not being able to advance in the postseason. What is remarkable with Marte is this is the second straight postseason series he will not be able to appear in his career due to injury.

Trevor May

Stats: 0-0, 0.333 WHIP, 0.0 BB/9, 6.0 K/9

May was part of those Minnesota Twins, so you knew they weren’t getting past the New York Yankees. That Twins team also didn’t get past the Houston Astros. May was not remotely to blame pitching three scoreless innings in two separate postseasons.

James McCann

Stats: .167/.286/.167

In the 2020 season which led to McCann getting a big contract with the Mets, he did not have an impact in the inaugural Wild Card Series.

Tyler Naquin

Stats: .161/.188/.226, 2 2B, 3 RBI

As a rookie, he was part of that Cleveland team who came as close as any team could to winning the World Series. Unfortunately, Naquin did not do much that postseason or in his postseason career.

Adam Ottavino

Stats: 0-1, 5.40 ERA, 1.714 WHIP, 5.4 BB/9, 7.7 K/9

Ottavino really struggled in the 2019 postseason; however, Ottavino was overworked. He would appear in seven straight games to diminishing returns. In his postseason, with the 2021 Boston Red Sox, Ottavino was terrific allowing just one earned in five appearances.

Darin Ruf

Stats: .091/.091/.364, HR, RBI

Ruf’s first postseason experience came in the NLDS against the Los Angeles Dodgers last season. The highlight for Ruf was hitting the game tying homer in the sixth off Julio Urias in a game the Giants ultimately lost. It should be noted Ruf will most likely not be appearing in the Wild Card Round due to injury.

Max Scherzer

Stats: 7-6, 3.22 ERA, 1.104 WHIP, 3.6 BB/9, 11.2 K/9

Remarkably, this will be the ninth postseason series for the Mets Game One starter. In his young days with the Detroit Tigers, he had flashes of brilliance. In 2019, he had a 2.40 ERA for the eventual World Series Champion Washington Nationals. Last year, he was great for the Dodgers until fatigue set in during his last start.

Daniel Vogelbach

Stats: .167/.286/.333, 2B

Vogelbach did not have much of an impact for Milwaukee Brewers teams who were quick outs in consecutive seasons.

Taijuan Walker

Stats: 0-1, 36.00 ERA, 18.0 BB/9, 27.0 K/9

Walker has made only one postseason start, and that came in the 2020 pandemic season. The Dodgers jumped all over him in the first, and he and the Arizona Diamondbacks never recovered.

Buck Showalter

Record: 9-14

Showalter will always be defined in the postseason by not using Britton in the American League Wild Card Game. Previous to that, he had been defined by his teams doing better with a different manager in the ensuing postseason.

Much of the reason is Showalter has made a number of curious to baffling decisions in the postseason. It’s not just Britton.

It was leaving in David Cone after the Ken Griffey Jr.. homer, and then trusting Jack McDowell in extras. It was using Bobby Chouinard against Edgardo Alfonzo. And yes, it was not using Britton.

Showalter’s teams have only won one postseason series. He had his best chance of going to the World Series in 2014 where the Orioles were swept by the Kansas City Royals.

Right now, none of this matters. He has a Mets team built to win the World Series. If this Mets team does in fact win, no one will care about his previous failures, and Showalter will have the last piece to what would then be a Hall of Fame managerial career.

 

 EDITOR’S NOTE: This article will also appear on MMO.

 

Mets Must Act Like NL East Race Is Over

The New York Mets were rained out, and the Atlanta Braves lost the first game of their series to the Miami Marlins. Should the Braves lose two more, and the Mets sweep, the Mets can still win the division. Cueing Lloyd Christmas:

Yes, there is an infinitesimal chance the Mets win the NL East. If that were to occur, the Mets would not have to play in the Wild Card series permitting their best players, especially their starters, extra rest. It cannot be understated just how important winning the division would be.

That said, the Mets need to pretend like they lost the division because they would need an absolute miracle to win the NL East. This is a team who has to actively prepare for the Wild Card Series against either the Philadelphia Phillies or San Diego Padres. Remember, the ultimate goal is to win the World Series, and in all likelihood, the Wild Card Series will be where it all begins.

Let’s say the Braves lose again, and the Mets sweep their doubleheader (should it be played). That would mean if the Mets win their final game, and the Braves lose their final game, the Mets win the NL East. That would get awfully tempting to go for it. After all, it is more than possible for the Braves to lose just one more.

The Mets still need to hold Jacob deGrom back. Sure, they’re be eviscerated in some corners if the Mets lose that final game without using deGrom. Those people should not be given the time of day.You can’t use deGrom on Wednesday leaving him unavailable for the first round of the postseason.

Most people will seem to grasp this with the Mets not having control of their own destiny. The next ask is where we may see fans be a little less inclined to agree.

The Mets doubleheader is the clinch day lineup. Actually, not really. Better put, it is a Spring Training type of lineup. These are the final three days to determine who can be on the Mets postseason roster. The Mets need to use them wisely.

That means Francisco Álvarez and Mark Vientos need to play all three games. We need to see Álvarez catch at least one, and we need to see Vientos at third or first. We need to see a little more what each can do because the time may come when the Mets need to rely upon them.

The Mets need to call up Dominic Smith. They need to see if he can start hitting. If Álvarez and Vientos aren’t, then the Mets need to see if Smith can. Fans may not believe in him, but it is the time to roll the dice, and see what hits. Keep in mind Tyler Naquin hasn’t been hitting. No, the Mets aren’t and shouldn’t going to leave Naquin off the roster for Smith, but Naquin’s struggles may demand the Mets add another player.

Moreover, key players need rest. That goes double for Pete Alonso and Francisco Lindor. Ideally, they would skip the doubleheader all together, and we can see them get a couple of at-bats in the season finale just to stay fresh.

We do not need to see Adam Ottavino or Seth Lugo pitch. They’ve pitched enough, and they are better rested. Let them be at maximum strength when the Wild Card round opens Friday. Really, anyone who needs a rest, and anyone who needs to be fresh should be given every opportunity to do so over the next three games.

That means if the Mets lose because a Smith or Vientos fail, it means they lose because they failed. If it means Tylor Megill blows up costing a game, it means it cost the Mets a game. That means if the Mets don’t win the division because David Peterson or Trevor Williams can’t get it done on the final game of the season, then the Mets will have to live with it.

The Mets are in the 2022 postseason. They have the best chance of winning the World Series if they get deGrom and Max Scherzer pitching like the aces they are. Everything the Mets do from here on out must be predicated upon that and nothing else. In the end, if the Mets win the World Series, no one will care about the last series in Atlanta, winning the NL East, or anything else.

Mets Projected Postseason Roster

While the division is still up for grabs, the New York Mets are definitively headed to the postseason. While their opponent remains to be seen, we can start looking at who will be on the roster. After all, the Mets have begun doing that themselves by playing Mark Vientos in addition to taking looks at starters Tylor Megill and David Peterson in the bullpen.

While September rosters are at 28, rosters will drop back down to 26 for the postseason. So with that, at least two players currently on the roster will not be on the postseason roster. With that in mind, here’s a look at who is currently a lock to make the postseason roster.

CATCHERS (2)

Believe it or not, Francisco Alvarez could potentially be added to the postseason roster. However, that’s only in the event of an injury to McCann or Nido and another to Michael Perez. Put another way, we’re going to see McCann and Nido all postseason.

INFIELDERS (5)

There are no surprises here. This is obviously the starting infield with the Escobar/Guillorme platoon. Of course, Marte’s health will impact if Guillorme and Escobar play everyday with McNeil in right field against right-handed pitching.

OUTFIELDERS (3)

The obvious caveat here is Marte. If he is good to go, there are four outfielders who will be good to go. However, at the moment, we do not know how or if Marte can play through the pain. Keep in mind, that broken middle finger is inhibiting his ability to throw.

DH (1)

Simply put, Darin Ruf is not doing enough to secure a spot on the postseason roster, and the same goes for Vientos at the moment. The Mets obviously brought Gore in for the sole purpose of being a pinch runner, but his spot may be in some doubt with the Mets platoon strategy. Marte’s health may very well impact who is carried to be the right-handed DH with Marte himself being a possibility.

STARTERS (5)

We now the top three will be deGrom, Scherzer, and Bassitt. At the moment, it looks like the Mets will have to decide between Carrasco. Whichever they pick, it would be an absolute shock if the Mets do not put the other starter in the bullpen for the postseason.

BULLPEN (4)

There are a name or two here that may very well be here, but at the moment, this is the only group that can be considered a lock. Yes, it is a surprise that’s it after a long season and multiple opportunities for upgrades.

With all the aforementioned players, the Mets have 20 players who are locks for the postseason roster. Per MLB roster rules, the Mets (or any team) can only carry up to 13 pitchers. At the moment, the Mets have nine pitchers considered as locks. As a result, the Mets can add up to four more pitchers leaving them to add two position players.

POSITION PLAYER BUBBLE

If Marte is healthy and ready to go, he will be on the postseason roster. However, the Mets have to be very careful here. If they carry Marte in the first round series, and he can’t go that puts them in a very precarious spot. That means they’re going to be down a player for the round, lose Marte for the ensuing series if he needs to be replaced on the roster, or both.

Marte’s availability is the biggest question mark, and it may be the biggest issue with how the roster is comprised.

For example, Gore was brought here solely to pinch run in the postseason. However, if Marte is still working his way back, the Mets just may roll the dice and use Marte for the role and revisit it again for the next series. If Marte can’t play the field but can DH, that takes Ruf and Vientos completely out of the picture.

Essentially, what Marte can and can’t do will dictate which two players will make the roster. Ideally, the Mets probably want to carry Marte and Gore, but we will see if that is a possibility. Of course, we can’t rule out the possibility, the Mets carry just 12 pitchers with a reliever going to the bullpen to allow the Mets to carry Marte, Gore, and one of Ruf/Vientos.

RELIEF PITCHER BUBBLE

As noted above, we can see the Mets carry 3-4 pitchers from this group. Keep in mind, who the Mets carry from this group may be somewhat opponent dependent.

Right off the bat, the Mets would carry Givens, but he is on the COVID IL. Until he is activated, we are not quite sure if he can be carried on the postseason roster, at least not in the first round. Assuming for a second Givens is available, things get interesting.

Realistically speaking, the Mets will carry Rodriguez even though he has been bad all year. Of course, Lucchesi is a wild card here. However, if we don’t see him pitch in the Majors soon, there is just no way the Mets can carry him on the postseason roster.

If the Mets want two left-handed relievers, they are definitively going to carry Rodriguez and Peterson (short of Lucceshi being good to go). If they carry both, and Givens is healthy, that may just be a full bullpen depending on what the Mets want to do from a position player perspective.

To a certain degree, that squeezes Williams off the postseason roster. That is unfair and dubious considering he has been one of the Mets best pitchers all season. That said, if you’re carrying your best pitchers, Williams has been that all season.

Theoretically, Megill of Co-No fame would be left off the roster. At the moment, Megill is trying to prove he can be utilized in the bullpen.

Overall, this all hinges on Marte’s health. The role if he can play, if he can play role at all, can dictate just how the Mets are able to comprise their postseason roster. Right now, there are eight games for players to secure their place on the roster leaving a number of moving pieces and decisions yet to be made.

 

 

Buck Showalter Getting An Undeserved Pass

The defining moment of Buck Showalter’s managerial career was leaving Zack Britton in the bullpen during the winner-take-all 2017 American League Wild Card Game. That’s who Showalter always had been, and apparently, always will be.

Edwin Díaz had last pitched on September 1. Why? Because that’s the last time there was a save opportunity.

Technically, Diaz earned the hold as he was used in the eighth to pitch against the heart of the Los Angeles Dodgers lineup. After that, Showalter found no need to use Díaz.

Keep in mind, the Mets have played some close games. Well, they were close until the bullpen imploded. The end result is the Mets current 2-4 stretch seeing their NL East lead completely evaporate.

Showalter found reason to use Adam Ottavino three times over four days helping lead to a loss. He used Tommy Hunter three times over four days and four out of seven. That helped lead to two losses.

Joely Rodriguez managed to pitch three times since we last saw Diaz. He let up a big homer against the Marlins. We even saw Bryce Montes de Oca, who Showalter thought wise to try to push to two innings.

Since we last saw Díaz pitch, Showalter’s bullpen usage has been baffling. He found no time to use Diaz and instead did this:

  • Tommy Hunter – 3 G, 4.2 IP, 2 ER
  • Joely Rodriguez – 3 G, 2.1 IP, 2 ER
  • Bryce Montes de Oca, 2 G, 2.1 IP, 3 ER
  • Adam Ottavino, 2 G, 2,0 IP, ER
  • Seth Lugo, 2 G, 3.0 IP, 0 ER
  • Mychal Givens, 2 G, 2.2 IP, 0 ER
  • Adonis Medina, G, 0.1 IP, 4 ER
  • Alex Claudio, G, 1.0 IP, 0 ER

Finally, in the loss to the Miami Marlins, Showalter finally used Diaz. At that point, it was too little too late.

The bullpen ERA was 5.89 between Diaz appearances. The Mets record was 2-4 over this stretch. The Mets lead has evaporated.

This is partially because that’s how Showalter led this team. Certainly, his bullpen management is a factor. Whatever you want to point to, and there’s plenty, it’s come with Showalter in charge.

This should serve as a reminder Showalter has been very poor in the postseason and has never won anything. Unless he finally learns a lesson about bullpen management and adapts, he may still hold this Mets team back from winning this year.

Mets Imploding

Down by two to the Pittsburgh Pirates in the bottom of the eighth. Buck Showalter sends Bryce Montes de Oca to the mound.

If you want to crystallize everything going wrong with the New York Mets right now, that paragraph does it. The Mets can’t outscore the Pirates, and in a crucial spot, they have a rookie who had all of 0.2 innings to his career to the mound.

The Mets biggest need at the trade deadline was the bullpen. Billy Eppler walked away with only Mychal Givens. It was inexcusable then, and it’s all the more now.

Eppler was betting on injured players, and he wanted to move players from starting to the bullpen. With players like Tylor Megill and Joey Lucchesi, both situations applied.

When you look at this Mets team, they’re just imploding, and nothing is working. In many ways, this is why Showalter was hired. The Mets wanted a season leader to ensure things like this would never be an issue.

This is the same Showalter who used Tommy Hunter for the third time in four days. Much like how he did that very recently with Adam Ottavino, the ensuing homer wasn’t a shock.

For whatever reason, Showalter hasn’t been that calming presence. We see a lot of that with Pete Alonso’s struggles and noticeable frustration on the field.

There’s a lot of panic everywhere. We saw that with Carlos Carrasco getting a start without so much as throwing one rehab inning in the minors.

A lot of this is outside Showalter’s control much like with Willie Randolph in 2007. In 2007, Randolph got a huge chunk of the blame. So far, Showalter is dodging that criticism even with his recent very questionable bullpen management.

Showalter isn’t the reason Max Scherzer left his last start early with a re-aggravated left side. He’s not the reason Luis Guillorme and Brett Baty went down. He’s not the reason Starling Marte got hit in the hand and had to leave the game.

The trade deadline acquisitions stopped hitting. Really, everyone not named Eduardo Escobar, Brandon Nimmo, and Marte stopped hitting. Oh, and Marte is hurt.

Whatever the case, the Mets lost three in a row against teams on pace to lose over 100 games. Worse yet, each of those losses were by six runs. More than anything, that’s completely unacceptable.

It’s one thing to slump. It happens to everyone. Everyone loses to bad teams. However, there is no excuse to being non-competitive against flat out horrid teams.

Right now, the Mets are imploding. The good news is there’s still plenty of time to right the ship, and they’re still in first place (for now). All it takes, is a big start or hit to turn things around and get the Mets back on track.

Fortunately, Jacob deGrom takes the mound in the doubleheader. After that, we shall see.

Mychal Givens A Problem

Realistically speaking, Mychal Givens shouldn’t be a real issue for the New York Mets or any team seeking to make a deep postseason run. After all, Givens wasn’t the Chicago Cubs closer, and he shared primary set-up duties.

Keep in mind, the Cubs are a very bad team. Even with the expanded postseason, they sold at the deadline. That made Givens available.

For a team looking to make a postseason run, Givens is nice depth. A nice dependable battle tested arm at the end of the bullpen. He’s the guy who grabs some earlier innings and can steal some late inning set-up spots with a slightly larger lead or when your main guys are tired.

If Givens falters, you should be able to shrug it off. To date, Givens has faltered. In seven appearances with the Mets, he’s 0-1 with a 13.50 ERA, and a 2.167 WHIP. He’s almost allowed as many runs with the Mets (9) as he had in 40 appearances with the Cubs (12).

Again, a team like the Mets should be in a spot to shrug this off and adjust accordingly. However, Givens was the Mets ONLY trading deadline bullpen acquisition. As such, the Mets actually need him to be more than he is.

Except, he hasn’t been. That’s made all the worse by the Mets uncertainty in their bridge to Edwin Díaz.

Adam Ottavino has been great but needs rest. Seth Lugo has been inching back to peak Lugo form, but he’s still uneven. Trevor May is still working his way back to game shape.

Ideally, that group would’ve made Givens a luxury and not a necessity. The Mets may still get there, but they’re not quite there yet.

That’s also before the Mets face any injuries. On that note, the Mets still don’t know if they’re getting anything at all from Drew Smith or Tylor Megill the rest of the season.

Givens was a boom or bust gamble going bust. There’s still time for him and for the rest of the bullpen. The thing is after the trade deadline you’d think the Mets would’ve been in a far better spot than this.

Chris Bassitt Shows How To Close Bullpen Gap

After the five game series against the Atlanta Braves, the New York Mets bullpen needed a break. Unfortunately, there wasn’t one in the schedule.

That left Chris Bassitt to get them one.

It wasn’t his prettiest outing, but it was his grittiest. While dancing around eight hits and a walk, Bassitt threw 114 pitches over eight innings.

Like that, there wasn’t any concern over who came out of the bullpen on a night Edwin Díaz was completely unavailable. No need to dance around with Adonis Medina or Yoan López.

No, with Bassitt going eight, Buck Showalter could hand the ball to a trusted reliever – Adam Ottavino – to wrap up the win. Ottavino did just that securing the Mets 5-1 win.

In some ways, this was a page from the 2015 Mets. Use your dominant starting pitching and only those relievers you can trust.

Back in 2015, the only relievers the Mets trusted down the stretch were Addison Reed, Tyler Clippard, and Jeurys Familia. They had the starting pitching to limit it mostly to just these relievers in the big spots.

In the 2015 postseason, the Mets got innings primarily from Jacob deGrom, Noah Syndergaard, and Matt Harvey. That proved to be a bit of a double edged sword as it allowed the Mets to only have to roll with these relievers, but then, those relievers were exhausted and faltered in the postseason.

Fortunately for these Mets, they’re deeper. In addition to Díaz and Ottavino, they also have Trevor May, who has looked good since coming off the IL.

Seth Lugo has also better better of late. Moreover, Trevor Williams has performed in whatever role the Mets have needed from him. Keep in mind, Showalter isn’t Terry Collins as Showalter will use the next tier of guys when warranted.

That’s something Collins could never comprehend, and it cost the Mets dearly. Part of the reason the Mets could only use three relievers was because he only trusted three.

That led to disastrous decision making in Game 3 of the World Series which caused further bad decision making the rest of the series. However, the underlying principle was correct.

The more dominant innings you get from your starter; the better your bullpen is. Less innings means more rest. More rest means better performance. Better performance leads to wins.

In pressure spots, the Mets don’t want to see the last couple of pitchers in their bullpen. That goes double in the postseason. Of course, with Mets starters going deep, and we know they can, the Mets can lean on their top performers.

At least for this win, eight from Bassitt meant one from Ottavino as Díaz, May, Lugo, and Williams rested. It means the other pitchers will be fresher when called upon to pitch again.

This is how the Mets cover their tracks in the bullpen. Dominant starting pitching going deep into games followed by the 1-2 relievers a night the Mets actually want pitching in a big spot.

Mets Neglect Bullpen At Trade Deadline

The New York Mets thought their offense needing addressing at the trade deadline, and they set out to do it. Apparently, that was really their objective.

It’s undeniable Tyler Naquin, Darin Ruf, and Daniel Vogelbach make this a more potent offensive team. When you look at the high prospect cost, it appeared the Mets were not going to let prospects stand in the way of a World Series.

So, then, how does Billy Eppler and the Mets explain only coming away with Mychal Givens to bolster the bullpen at the trade deadline?

Keep in mind, Colin Holderman was having a better season than Givens. Yes, Givens is having a good season, and he has a good track record, but overall, Holderman was better leaving the Mets in a worse spot than when they entered the trade deadline.

This is where you wonder what Billy Eppler was thinking.

He traded Holderman because of a purported robust relief market. Then, on the trade deadline, he admits it wasn’t all that robust, and that the prices were too high.

This doesn’t pass the smell test.

The Philadelphia Phillies acquired David Robertson from the Chicago Cubs for prospect Ben Brown, a soon to be Rule 5 eligible pitcher who has not reached Double-A. Sure, he’s the Phillies seventh best prospect, but their system is one of the very worst in the game.

The Minnesota Twins made an intra-division trade to acquire Michael Fulmer from the Detroit Tigers. The cost was pitching prospect Sawyer Gipson-Long. He’s a 24 year old former sixth round pick with a 7.17 ERA in Double-A.

Baltimore Orioles All-Star closer Jorge López went to the Twins as well. Admittedly, it took quite a haul to get him. Really, he’s just about the only reliever who came at a steep cost.

Raisel Iglesias was basically a salary dump to the Atlanta Braves. The Mets could’ve thought outside the box to bring Noah Syndergaard back to recreate Game 5 of the NLDS. That Mickey Moniak led return was laughable.

Then again, so is the notion the Mets are going to the postseason with Tommy Hunter and Joely Rodriguez in their bullpen.

Now, it’s imperative Trevor May is healthy, effective, and has the stamina the rest of the way. Seth Lugo needs to further prove he’s all the way back. Adam Ottavino needs to continue this run.

Drew Smith and Tylor Megill may need a miracle to be 100% in time for the postseason, and Megill has to show he can pitch in the pen. David Peterson has shown he couldn’t, but now, he needs to be in that mix again.

That’s hope, and hope is not a plan. Whatever the case, that’s what the Mets are left with after the trade deadline. They just have to hope it’s enough.

That’s a dereliction of duty by Eppler, and that goes double when you consider his excuses in trading Holderman. What makes this all the worse is the relatively low prices at the deadline, and the Mets overpaying for bats.

In the end, we just have to hope the Mets have enough. If not, they’ll forever lament not going all-in as their trades indicated they were. They’ll be left wondering why they didn’t try to do all they could to win the World Series and why they gave up so much just to fall short.