Fernando Salas

Mets Bullpen Holds This One

If you like a traditional offense of get ’em on, get ’em over, and get ’em in, this was not the game for you. The Mets were 1-5 with RISP making them much better than a Pirates team that was 1-12.

That one hit wasn’t much of a hit either. In the fourth, Elias Diaz followed a one out Jordy Mercer double with an “infield single.”  It really should have been an error as Wilmer Flores charged the ball and had it go underneath his glove. With that being the one hit, you already know the Pirates did not capitalize on the opportunity. 

In fact, they let Robert Gsellman off the hook. After a 1-2-3 first, Gsellman allowed base runners in all six innings he appeared. 

The only rally they cashed in on was a third inning rally where the Pirates started the inning with back-to-back singled to set up first and third. Gregory Polanco hit an RBI groundout to plate a run. 

The only other run the Pirates would score off Gsellman was a Josh Bell second inning homer. 

The Pirates did have a golden opportunity in the sixth. Despite his having thrown 96 pitches heading into the sixth, Terry Collins went with Gsellman to start the inning. The Pirates put runners on first and second with one out, and Gsellman was up to 109 pitches. Collins then went to Fernando Salas

Salas came on and struck out yesterday’s hero Elias Diaz, and got Jose Osuna to fly out to end the inning and preserve the Mets 4-2 lead. 

With the Mets similarly struggling with runners in scoring position, they had to turn to the home run to win this game. 

The Mets got an early 2-0 lead as Neil Walker hit a two run first inning home run off Pirates starter Tyler Glasnow. After the Pirates tied the score at 2-2, Jay Bruce hit a solo homer to make it 3-2 Mets in the third. Wilmer Flores then hit a fourth inning homer to make it 4-2. That’s where the score stayed besides both teams having a number of chances. 

In the sixth, the Mets had first and third no outs off Pirates reliever Johnny Barbato. Flores and Rene Rivera strikeouts book ended. Curtis Granderson popping out to center. 

In the sixth, seventh, and eighth, the Pirates hand two on, and they would not score a runner. Jerry Blevins and Addison Reed made the pitches they needed, and they preserved the lead.

For his part, Reed was double switched into the game in the eighth and was entasked with the six out save. Prior to this, he had never recorded a four out save. 

Reed buckled  down and did it. It wasn’t uneasy, but he got the job done. The Mets did as well.  It was a good win, and the Mets needed to build off of this win. 

Game Notes: Asdrubal Cabrera made his eighth error of the season thereby surpassing his error total from last year. Jose Reyes took over for him in the eighth when Reed was double switched into the game. 

Mets Win A Pill Of A Game

In the Matrix, Morpheus said to Neo, “You take the blue pill, the story ends. You wake up in your bed and believe whatever you want to believe. You take the red pill, you stay in Wonderland, and I show you how deep the rabbit hole goes.” 

Apparently, Tyler Pill is the blue pill because there were a number of strange things that happened at Citi Field that only the most ardent Mets fans could believe:

Jose Reyes started over a red hot Wilmer Flores. More than that, Zack Davies appeared to strike him out looking. Instead, the home plate umpire called it a call leading to a Reyes bases loaded walk. 
Travis d’Arnaud threw out last year’s stolen base leader Jonathan Villar:

Jerry Blevins allowed an inherited runner to score. 
Fernando Salas not only got an at-bat, but he also got a hit. 

More than that, Pill only allowed one run over 5.1 innings. 

Despite Pill having a minor league 1.60 ERA this year, his peripherals indicated his ERA should be over 4.00.  Long story short, Pill has been extremely lucky this year. While that luck escaped him in his major league debut, he brought it with him today. 

Starting with his warm-ups, Pill was in trouble all night. He hit Keon Broxton, who was the very first batter he faced. He’d be the only one to score against Pill after a Travis Shaw double. 

From there, Pill had no 1-2-3 innings. He somehow stranded seven batters including Eric Thames, who tripled to lead-off the fifth thanks to some poor Jay Bruce defense (that was believable). 

Through of all this, the Mets had a 4-1 lead scoring twice in the fifth and sixth innings. In the fifth, Curtis Granderson and Asdrubal Cabrera hit a pair of doubles to tie the game at one. The Mets would then load the bases, and Reyes drew the aforementioned bases loaded walk.

Neil Walker hit a lead-off double off Brewers reliever Eric Sogard, and he would score on a Lucas Duda homer:

This left Pill on the long side on a night despite allowing six hits, three walks, and a hit batter over 5.1 innings. Despite all of this, he wouldn’t get the win. 

He didn’t get the win because in the seventh inning the unthinkable happened. Yes, it was easy to believe Salas would walk two to help load the bases with one out. It’s easier to believe that happened when you consider he was running the bases in the top half of the inning.

Blevins came on, and it appeared he did what he had to do. He struck out Shaw looking. While he did issue a bases loaded walk to Domingo Santana to make it 4-2, he did get Jett Bandy to pop up to short. 

That’s when the unthinkable happened. The sure-handed Cabrera Luis Castilloed it:

Thankfully, Santana was not hustling like Mark Teixeira did meaning the Brewers merely tied the score on the play instead of potentially going up 5-4. 

The bullpen did its job. Josh Edgin and Addison Reed each pitched a scoreless inning, and Josh Smoker pitched three scoreless. Smoker got into a jam, but he got a huge strikeout to get out of the 10th.  We then saw one of his signature celebrations:

What’s interesting is Terry Collins had the opportunity to double switch both Reed and Smoker into the game to possibly get an extra inning out of them. He passed both times. 

Finally, the Mets got something started in the 12th. T.J. Rivera led off with a pinch hit single off Wily Peralta, and Conforo walked. After Reyes couldn’t get a bunt down, he hit a fielder’s choice with Thames getting Conforto at second. The Mets finally won it with a Bruce single against the drawn-in shifted infield. 

A long bizarre game finally came to an end with the Mets winning a game they have typically lost all year. The final score indicates Mets fans really took the blue pill. 

Game Notes: Walker’s two doubles on the night gave him 1,000 hits for his career. Mets are 3-10 when they walked six or more. They walked eight. 

Las Vegas Doesn’t Have The Solution To the Mets Bullpen Problems

It’s no secret the major league club has had bullpen issues. Jerry Blevins pitches in far too many games. Jeurys Familia is possibly done for the year. Fernando Salas and Addison Reed aren’t the pitchers they were last year. Both Josh Smoker and Hansel Robles have been sent down to Triple-A due to ineffectiveness. Somehow Rafael Montero is still on the major league roster, and he does not appear to be in jeopardy of being sent back to Vegas.

Part of the reason for that is the 51s relievers have been struggling mightily of late. Worse yet, it is the arms who were possibly closest to making the major leagues that are struggling the most.

Kevin McGowan started the year using his big fastball to strike batters out at high clip. More than racking up strikeouts, McGowan was keeping runners of the bases. He had a 0.700 WHIP to go along with a sterling 0.90 ERA. With him harnessing his stuff, and the major league bullpen struggling, it appeared as it he might get his chance sooner or later. Well, it is going to be later. Since May 4th, he’s appeared in six games, and he has allowed two plus runs in four of those appearances. His last appearance was a disastrous 0.2 appearance where he allowed six earned.

Another pitcher who has struggled of late is Alberto Baldonado. The left-handed pitcher was getting both righties and lefties out in Double-A leading to his promotion to Triple-A. Since joining the 51s, Baldonado has been hit hard. In his six appearances, he has a 10.80 ERA and a 1.350 WHIP. He’s become less of a cross-over reliever and more of a LOOGY with right-handed batters hitting .261 off of him. It’s a large reason why Baldonado has allowed three earned runs in two of his last three appearances.

Both McGowan and Baldonado have presumably surpassed Erik Goeddel on the depth chart. In 2014 and 2015, Goeddel had been a good major league reliever pitching to a 2.48 ERA and a 1.000 WHIP. Last year he struggled, and he would need surgery to remove a bone spur in his pitching elbow. He hasn’t gotten back to the effective major league reliever. In fact, he hasn’t even gotten back to being an effective pitcher. In 16 games, Goeddel is 2-3 with an 8.68 ERA and a 2.036 WHIP. He’s probably closer to being designated for assignment than getting called up.

It is more of the same with the rest of the 51s bullpen. Ben Rowen went from a consideration for the Opening Day roster to a 5.91 ERA. David Roseboom went from revelation last year in Double-A to an 8.31 ERA. Chasen Bradford has a 4.22 ERA and a 1.622 WHIP. Beck Wheeler has a 5.95 ERA and a 1.932 WHIP. About the only reliever with good stats is Logan Taylor, and he is walking the ballpark with a 4.1 BB/9.

Right now, as bad as things are in the majors, it is worse in Triple-A. At both levels, the Mets have talented pitchers who are going to have to make the necessary adjustments to start getting batters out. If they don’t, the Mets will be forced to look outside the organization for bullpen help. That is something no reliever in the Mets organization wants right now.

deGrom Walker All Over the Pirates

Well, Jacob deGrom went out there tonight and reminded everyone why he should be considered the Mets ace.With the bullpen on fumes and the team coming off two embarrassing losses to the Padres, deGrom went out there and played the part of the stopper. 

deGrom became not only the first Mets starter to record an out in the eighth, he became the first Mets starter to throw a pitch in the ninth. He was in that position because he completely dominated the Pirates. 

To put it in perspective, deGrom was 2-4 at the plate. He only had four fewer hits than he allowed. In his 8.1 innings, deGrom allowed just those six hits while walking one and striking out 10. If not for a mistake to Gregory Polanco in the fourth, it might’ve been a shutout. 

On a night like this, deGrom didn’t need much help from his team. Still, the Mets gave him a ton of run support led by native son Neil Walker

Walker was 3-5 with three runs, two homers, and four RBI. His RBI accounted for half the Mets offense on the night. 

The first run the Mets scored came in the second with Lucas Duda and Curtis Granderson hitting a pair of doubles off Pirates starter Chad Kuhl

After Walker hit his first homer in the third, the Mets rallied again in the fourth. Jose Reyes tripled and scored on a Jay Bruce sacrifice fly. Walker followed this with his second homer of the game. He would be heard from again. 

In the sixth, there were runners on first and second and two out due to Michael Conforto and Bruce earning walks off Pirates reliever Johnny Barbarto. Walker blooped a ball just past the out stretched hands of Pirates shortstop Jordy Mercer to make it 6-1. 

Duda followed with a bases clearing double to make it 8-1. With the double, Duda continued a hot stretch over the past few games where he’s hitting .500 with an OBP above that. 

Almost as hot is Granderson. Over the last two weeks, he’s hitting .291/.395/.581. He added to those totals going 1-4 with a double, walk, and an RBI. Both Duda and Granderson need these hot streaks with Yoenis Cespedes playing his first rehab game today. 

But tonight, that was about deGrom and Walker. Both players stepped up big when the Mets needed it the most. 

Game Notes: Jerry Blevins warmed up in the eighth but did not appear in the game. Fernando Salas recorded the last two outs. 

Enough Of Rafael Montero

Either the Mets can no longer afford the black mail or the front office cannot admit they were wrong.  Other than those two scenarios it is hard to fathom why Rafael Montero is still with the major league team.

In 12 appearances, Montero is 0-3 with an 8.10 ERA and a 2.520 WHIP.  He has entered four games this season with the scored tied, and he has allowed the opposition to take the lead in three of those game.  He has allowed a run in seven of his five appearances.  He has allowed two plus runs in four of those appearances.

The more you break it down, the worse things are for Montero.  He is walking 7.6 batters per nine innings, and he’s allowing 15.1 hits per nine.   Batters are hitting .378/.478/.500 off of him.  Basically speaking, when Montero actually does throw a strike, he’s not fooling anyone.  Montero makes every hitter look like Mike Trout.

It’s no wonder Terry Collins doesn’t trust him.  That creates another problem.  When the Mets are ahead in games by big margins, Collins does not go to Montero.  Instead, he will try to patchwork his bullpen to bring them to the finish line with the lead.  This is a major reason why the bullpen has been overworked. Jerry Blevins is on pace for 98 appearances. Addison Reed and Fernando Salas are on pace for 87 appearances.  It may also have been a reason why Hansel Robles went from a 1.42 ERA to a 6.23 ERA and a demotion to the minors.  Robles was replaced on the roster by Josh Smoker, who had also suffered under a heavy workload and was previously demoted to the minors.

With respect to Smoker and Robles, they have more than earned their respective demotions.  They needed to go down to Triple-A not just to get themselves straight, but for someone to ease off their workload.  Their respective demotions beg the question as to why Montero is still up with this team.  He’s pitching worse than either Robles or Smoker did.  His mere presence on the roster has led to the overuse of more valuable relievers.  When he does actually get into games, he leaves the Mets in a worse position than he found them.

Montero is really hurting this team, and yet this organization continues to stick by him.  It is unfathomable.  Sooner or later, someone needs to press this organization and find out why Montero is still a Met.

Quality Start Begets Brutal Loss

Due to the ineffectiveness and injury to Tommy Milone, the Mets put Robert Gsellman back in the rotation. 

Gsellman went out there and gave the Mets what is technically considered a quality start, which is three earned over six innings. Things might’ve gone better for him, but Yangervis Solarte got to him twice knocking in all three runs against Gsellman. 

After the top of the sixth, Gsellman had thrown just 84 pitches. There would be no seventh inning though because Gsellman was due to lead off the inning. That and the fact Gsellman hasn’t started in a while. 

Still, it should not have mattered. The Mets were up 5-3 against the team with arguable the worst offense in the National League. 

Well, the Mets look like the worst bullpen in the National League, and Terry Collins used all the quality arms last night. Well push came to shove, and Fernando Salas was the one who got hit. 

Salas loaded the bases with two outs following a pinch hit single by Chase d’Arnaud with back-to-back walks to Matt Szczur and Solarte. At that point, Collins decided to make the worst possible move he could’ve made. He went with Neil Ramirez and his 10.32 ERA to pitch to Wil Myers:

Thanks in part to a little luck and some Timo Perez-esque base running, the Padres only tied the score. Fortunately, Josh Edgin got the Mets out of the jam. 

Unfortunately, Collins went to Josh Smoker to pitch the eighth. For the second straight night he was greeted with a long home run. This one was hit by Hunter Renfroe

Renfroe would return the favor to the Mets in the bottom of the eighth. He flat out dropped a Juan Lagares fly ball. To his credit, Lagares hustled on the play and got to second base. The Mets would strand him there. 

That was about all that the Mets offense had done wrong on the night. Michael Conforto continued to rake going 2-3 with a run, RBI, and two walks. Wilmer Flores hit a bases clearing double in the third. He scored on a Curtis Granderson single. Overall, every Mets starter except Rene Rivera reached base at least once. 

The Mets offense would get one last chance against Brad Hand who came on to save the Padres 6-5 lead. 

Neil Walker got the rally started with a lead-off single. Lucas Duda had a tough at-bat drawing a well earned walk, his third of the game. He came off for Matt Reynolds. The bases were then loaded as Flores hit a seeing eye single just past the shortstop. 
Granderson and Rivera then struck out putting the game in Lagares’ hands. Renfroe wouldn’t drop this flyball leading to yet another brutal loss created by a bullpen meltdown. At least we know Collins won’t learn from this game either. 

Game Notes: Jay Bruce sat with a back injury. 

Debunking The Rosario Excuses

Fact is, the Mets season is on the brink.  They need to upgrade anywhere they can in order to help get the Mets season back on track.  For many, that starts with calling up Amed Rosario.  In response, many have offered excuses as to why the Mets shouldn’t call-up Rosario.  In reality, they are flimsy excuses.  Let’s go through them one-by-one:

EXCUSE #1: The Pitching Is the Problem and Rosario Doesn’t Pitch

Yes, the Mets and their MLB worst ERA is a big problem, and no, Rosario doesn’t pitch.  However, the Mets right now are playing Jose Reyes and his .189/.269/.310 batting line at shortstop.  Assuming the pitching doesn’t get any better, the Mets are going to have to out-slug teams to win games.  Reyes is not going to help that.

Also, the Mets defense at short has been terrible.  They rank dead last with a -9 DRS.  Better defense at an important defensive position like shortstop will only serve to help a pitching staff.  Take Robert Gsellman for example.  He has a 58% ground ball rate, and he is allowing a .368 BABIP.  With a better shortstop, especially one like Rosario who projects to be a very good defender, that BABIP can go down.  That is the result of Rosario being able to get to more balls and the rest of the infield being better positioned as a result.  That could result in a lower BABIP, which means base hits becomes outs.  Rallies thereby end sooner or don’t begin in the first place.  Gsellman can then go deeper into games and take pressure off the bullpen.

EXCUSE #2 You Don’t Want Rosario Up On a Short-Term Basis

Who says is has to be on a short-term basis?  Even assuming Asdrubal Cabrera is ready to come back at the end of his 10 day disabled list stint, why couldn’t Rosario stay in the major leagues?  You have the option to move Rosario to third base if you so choose.  You also have the option of moving Cabrera and his poor range to third base.  If Rosario comes up, and he’s shown he can play well defensively and hit well, he has shown he belongs to play at the major league level.  If that is the case, keep him up.

EXCUSE #3 He Doesn’t Have Enough Triple-A At-Bats

There is no precise formula detailing how many at-bats are needed in Triple-A.  Miguel Cabrera never played in Triple-A before his call-up, and he is well on his way to the Hall of Fame.  Matt Reynolds has 1,145 at-bats in Triple-A, and he is still not ready to consistently hit major league pitching.  There is no tried and true formula to follow.  Rosario has shown he can hit in Triple-A.  You either believe in him, or you don’t.

Excuse #4 You Don’t Want Him to Struggle and Be Sent Down

Why?  Keith Hernandez struggled as a 21 year old, and he was sent down.  After that, Hernandez won an MVP, 11 Gold Gloves, and two World Series titles.  After jumping on the scene in 2015, Michael Conforto had a nightmare of a 2016.  So far this year, he is hitting .327/.413/.654 with nine homers and 24 RBI.  Overall, if you are going to be great at the major league level like many believe Rosario will be, one set-back is not going to prevent you from fulfilling your potential.

EXCUSE #5 You Don’t Want to Bring Him Up into a Losing Situation

The corollary of this is you don’t want to bring up a prospect expecting him to be a savior.  In 1983, the Mets were nine games under .500 when Darryl Strawberry was called-up to the majors.  In 2003, the Mets were seven games under .500 when Reyes was called-up.  In 2004, the Mets were one game under .500 when David Wright was called-up to the majors.

Each of these players were immensely talented, and they have each had successful careers.  Being called-up into a losing situation or being asked to be a savior didn’t prevent them from being terrific players.

EXCUSE #6 He’s Had Too Many Errors This Year

Reyes and Cabrera have combined to post a -9 DRS, which again, is the worst in the majors.  Looking at how the team was built top to bottom, defense has been not incentivized.  Now all of a sudden, the Mets are going to care about defense when it comes to a player with plus range for the position?  Further, if he’s struggling, get him away from the terrible infield at Cashman Field, and get him some major league coaching.  You’re likely going to see a better defender out there.

EXCUSE #7 Calling Him Up Sends a Signal the Team is Panicking

Shouldn’t the Mets be panicking at this point?  The team has the worst ERA in baseball.  Their ace and closer are likely gone for the season.  They are already nine games behind the Nationals.  By all means, the Mets should be panicking.  Even if they aren’t panicking, they should be concerned.  The best way to address this would be to address the concerns the team has.  One of those concerns is the offensive and defensive production they get from shortstop.  Rosario can alleviate those concerns.

EXCUSE #8 He’s Not Ready to Hit Major League Pitching

On this front, you have to defer to the front office.  Despite Rosario’s terrific Triple-A numbers, we don’t really have a breakdown on his ability to hit a fastball or breaking pitches.  They can justifiably be seeing something we don’t see.  Still, the team is willing to go with Reyes, his poor defense, and his .189 batting average at the position.  Even if Rosario were to put up similar offensive numbers to Reyes, he’s going to do that with much better defense.  As a result, the Mets would be a better team with him on the field.  Furthermore, it should be noted that if he needs to make some improvements at the plate, he would be better served by working with Kevin Long.  \n

EXCUSE #9 What Do You Do With Him When Cabrera Returns?

Thumb issues like this are tricky.  We saw Juan Lagares try to play through a torn ligament in his thumb until he was finally forced to have surgery to repair the tear.  We still do not know if Cabrera needs surgery.  We don’t know if this is a two week or two month injury.

Assume for a minute Cabrera will be back sooner rather than later, the Mets have an opportunity to give Rosario a brief look at shortstop.  At the very least, it’s a reward for him being the time in to become an improved player.  It presents an opportunity to see if Rosario is ready.  When and if Cabrera comes back, the Mets can then judge if Rosario should stay up with the team or go back down to Triple-A.  If he were to go back down, he will have a better idea of what he needs to work on in order to stick at the major league level.

EXCUSE #10 You Don’t Want to Have Rosario Become a Super Two Player

So what?  Now the Mets aren’t all-in?  Did that only apply to signing Jerry Blevins and Fernando Salas?  If you are all-in, be all-in regardless of Super Two deadlines.

Overall, that’s the point.  If you are truly all-in, you do everything you can do to improve your team.  You do everything you can do to win games.  Every day the Mets keep Rosario in Vegas is another day this team is not all-in.  Rather, the team is letting everyone know they would rather lose with what they have this year.

Gsellman And Montero Were Used In Pivotal Spots

For the past seven games, the Mets have found new and interesting ways to lose. Today, it was a tried and true method for this team. Not getting hits with RISP and some truly bizarre managerial decisions from Terry Collins

Like most of the games on this road trip, things started well for the Mets. Michael Conforto, who Collins has spent the better part of two years telling us can’t hit lefties, hit a two run homer off Patrick Corbin to give the Mets a 2-0 first inning lead.  

From that point forward, the Mets would go 1-6 with RISP. 

Matt Harvey would give up that lead. In the first, he allowed a lead-off triple to Rey Fuentes. Fuentes then scored on a Chris Owings ground-out. In the third, Harvey allowed an opposite field two run homer off the bat of Jake Lamb
It was all part of a maddening start by Harvey. He did not have one 1-2-3 inning. He walked four batters including the opposing pitcher. He allowed his 11th homer of the season. He needed 95 pitches to get through 5.1 innings. 

And yet, there were positive signs. He didn’t allow a hit with RISP. He had big strikeouts of Paul Goldschmidt and Yasmany Tomas. He left the game in line for the win. 

The Mets had a 4-3 lead when Harvey departed. The additional two runs came in the fourth. Juan Lagares hit a long home run to tie the score at three. Matt Reynolds followed with a walk, and he would score on a Jose Reyes RBI double. As we know, the Mets wouldn’t win this one. 

For some reason, Collins went to Robert Gsellman and his 7.07 ERA to pitch the seventh. This is the same Gsellman the Mets have just removed from the rotation for the next couple of weeks. Depending on the ETA of Steven Matz and/or Seth Lugo, Gsellman may not start another game this year. Despite this, Collins felt Gsellman was the right man to protect a one run lead to help the Mets break a six game losing streak. 

Gsellman would walk Goldschmidt, and he would score on a Tomas RBI double. Just like that, the score was tied. 

The Mets would mount subsequent rallies to try to get another lead. In the eighth, there were runners on first and second with two outs, and Lagares grounded out. In the eleventh, the Mets had the same situation, and Reyes struck out. That would be the Mets last chance. 

The real part of the Mets bullpen had done a good job. Josh Edgin got Harvey out of the sixth unscathed. Jerry Blevins (8)and Addison Reed (9 & 10) pitched perfect innings to get the Mets to the 11th. At that point, Collins did the complete opposite of what he should have done. 

He brought in Rafael Montero. Not the red hot Paul Sewald. Not Fernando Salas who has been better of late. Not Neil Ramirez who the Mets signed to help the bullpen. No, he brought in Montero, and his rationale was absurd:

First batter Montero faced was Chris Herrmann. Herrmann is a career .207/.277/.338 hitter who entered the game hitting .160/.250/.280.  He injured his hand in this game. Naturally, he did this:

To recap, Collins brought in a guy with a 7.07 ERA to preserve a one run lead, and he used a guy with a 9.00 ERA to keep the game scoreless. At this point, you have to wonder if he’s trying to get fired. 

Game Notes: Reyes tried to go to second on a play in the second on a throw to the cut-off man. The play wasn’t even close, and it killed what could have been a big rally. 

Insight Into Terry Collins

Yesterday, when Terry Collins spoke with the media prior to the game, he said, “You just think in your heart he’s going to break out, so you want him in there.”  (Mike Puma, New York Post).  That quotation there perfectly summarizes how Collins manages this team.

During Collins’ tenure with the Mets, we have heard different philosophies as to how Collins manages the team.  At points, he has gone with “You hit, you play.”  Like many other managers, Collins has at times stated his belief that people will eventually play to the back of his baseball card.  He’s talked about playing the hot hand.  He’s referenced playing a hunch.  At different points in time, those may have been true.  However, overall, that’s not what Collins uses as his guiding principle in managing.

Typically speaking, Collins has an undying faith in his players.  That goes double for his veteran players.  This is why we see Curtis Granderson and Jose Reyes in the lineup despite both of them hitting below the Mendoza Line.  This is why it takes forever for T.J. Rivera to crack the lineup despite his hitting at each and every level he has played.

This is why he uses the same guys over and over again in the bullpen.  It’s not that he doesn’t have faith in Paul Sewald.  It is that he is supremely confident in Addison Reed, Fernando Salas, and Hansel Robles.  Collins has seen them perform in huge spots time and again.  He has confidence they will come up big in huge spots again because deep down Collins believes it.

Last night, Granderson rewarded him for his faith.  Despite being mired in what is among the worst slumps of his career, if not the worst, the .144 hitting Granderson went out there last night and went 1-3 with a bases loaded walk and a solo home run.  But that’s just one day.  Granderson and frankly the rest of the team is going to have the reward the faith Collins has in them.

If they don’t, things are going to get worse before they get any better.  Yes, things can actually get worse than they are right now.  They can because Collins is going to to rely on the same guys who are floundering time and time again until they fail, and even after that.  Deep down Collins has faith in his team.  It’s time they return the favor by playing much better much in the same way Granderson did last night.

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.