Hansel Robles

Mets Need A Long Man In The Bullpen

There are many problems with the Mets bullpen this year.  One of the most understated is the complete and utter lack of a long man in the bullpen for much of the season.  This has led to Terry Collins needing to trotting out a series of relievers whenever a starter can’t go deep into games.  It has led to Collins pushing relievers past their breaking points.

This has saw Hansel Robles completely break down to the point where he’s not even an effective Triple-A reliever.  Collins stretched Josh Smoker to the point where he first was sent down to the minors, and then to the point where he landed on the Disabled List.  With Smoker gone, Paul Sewald seems to be the guy who gets stretched out for three innings despite his being a 1-2 inning closer in most of his time in the minor leagues.

Doing that means Smoker and Sewald, two pitchers who should have been establishing themselves as late inning relievers this season, have been bounced around in their roles.  We have seen uneven performances from them this year to the point where the Mets really don’t know what they have in either pitcher.  More to the point, it has led to Neil Ramirez pitching in important spots.

The latest example was on Tuesday.  The Mets were riding high after a sweep of the Giants, and the team was in a soft part of the schedule where they could have reasonably been at or even over .500 going into the All Star Break.  At that point, who knows?

And this Mets team looked resilient last night.  Robert Gsellman went down in the top of the fourth.  Sewald came on and gave the team three good innings they desperately needed.  Travis d’Arnaud had two RBI, including a solo home run, to tie the game at 3-3 entering the bottom of the seventh.  With Sewald, one of the better relievers on the team, no longer available, Collins went with Ramirez.  To the surprise of no one, Ramirez would earn the loss.

Why was he and his demonic 6.66 ERA even an option?  Ultimately, it is because of the Mets refusal to carry a long man in the bullpen.  Instead, the team would rather carry a group of pitchers who ideally should be limited to two innings or less that can post high strikeout numbers.

Why couldn’t the Mets carry Tyler Pill as the long reliever.  Sure, he was predictably lackluster, but that is a significant upgrade from Ramirez being an abject disaster. While it is a small sample size, there are indications Pill could be useful as a long man.  In this three games, the first time through the lineup teams are only hitting .250/.296/.292 off of him.  Extrapolating this out, this means Pill could be good to keep the Mets into a game for about three innings.

This could led to the Mets turning the game over to their best relievers late in the game.  Instead, the Mets would rather pitch their pitchers past their breaking points.  They would rather pitch Ramirez in important spots.  While there are many things you can pinpoint for the Mets failures this season, it’s the lack of a long man in the bullpen needs to be front and center.

Mets Last Chance

The Mets have a number of excuses why they are in the position they are.  Those excuses mostly surround the pitching.  Noah Syndergaard went down in April with a torn lat.  Matt Harvey and Jacob deGrom haven’t been the same since returning from their season ending surgeries.  There has been a revolving door at the fifth starter spot that has seen the likes of Rafael Montero, Adam Wilk, Tommy Milone, and Tyler Pill.  This has put stress on the bullpen, and the bullpen broke.

They broke because Jeurys Familia went down for the season.  Hansel Robles couldn’t keep up with the workload and fell apart.  Josh Smoker hasn’t been able to figure it out this year.  Addison Reed is a much better set-up man than a closer.

Through all of this, despite playing a weak schedule, the Mets are seven games under .500.  The Mets are THIS CLOSE to being sellers.

However, there is hope.  Seth Lugo and Steven Matz are coming off the Disabled List.  Last year, Lugo was 5-1 with a 2.68 ERA and a 1.149 WHIP.  He followed that breakout performance with a breakout performance in the World Baseball Classic.

Matz is even better than Lugo.  Before succumbing to the bone spur in his elbow last year, Matz had a stretch from April 17th to June 18th where he was 7-2 with a 1.91 ERA and a 1.047 WHIP.  That was after his rookie season where he was 4-0 with a 2.27 ERA and a 1.234 WHIP.

That combination of Lugo and Matz vastly improves the Mets rotation.  It also bumps a good pitcher like Robert Gsellman into the bullpen.  Lately, Gsellman has figured it out.  In his last four appearances, he’s 2-0 with hold posting a 2.66 ERA and a 1.082 WHIP.  This will give the bullpen a fresh arm.  More than that, it means one of Smoker or Neil Ramirez is going to be gone from the bullpen.

Finally, the Mets will have the pitching to help an offense that has tried to carry this team.  In May, the Mets averaged the second most runs per game (5.7) in the National League.  Things promise to get better with Yoenis Cespedes having played in his first rull rehab game for St. Lucie last night.

With that, the Mets will have as complete a team as they can expect for the reason for the season.  Now, they just have to take advantage of their opportunities.  That starts with the four game series with a Braves team who is a half game up on the Mets for second place in the National League East.  Sweep them, and the Mets will find themselves just three games under .500.

After that, the Mets have a seven game home stand.  First, there are the Chicago Cubs, who are not the same team they were last year.  After that, the Mets have a four game set with the Washington Nationals.

If the Mets take care of business against the Braves and Cubs, that could be a HUGE series for this Mets team.  Sweep the Nationals at home, and all of a sudden the Mets could be just eight games back in the division or better.  That’s still a large deficit to overcome, but it’s not as daunting as the 12 games they are now.

The Mets don’t take advantage of this opportunity?  It’s time to sell.  At that point, the team should look to move everyone to pave the way for Amed Rosario, who frankly should be here now, and Dominic Smith to become the David Wright and Jose Reyes of this generation.

If the Mets don’t want to do that, it’s time to take care of business.  That starts tonight with a huge start for Matt Harvey.  This used to be the exact moment you wanted him on the mound.  It is time for that to happen again. 

Ya Gotta Believe In This Team

Let’s be honest.  With nearly two months gone in the season, there is not a lot of reason to believe in the 2017 Mets.  The team is five games under .500 and just 14-16 against their own division.  Important players like Yoenis Cespedes, Jeurys Familia, Steven MatzNoah Syndergaard and David Wright have had extended stints on the disabled list.  Presumably, Familia, Syndergaard, and Wright are done for the season.    The team features two everyday players who are fighting to get and stay atop the Mendoza Line, and the entire pitching staff has underperformed.  And despite all of these problems, and many more which have not been mentioned, there are very real reasons to be optimistic about the Mets as we head into the summer months:

1.  The Starting Pitching Is Improving

In case, you haven’t noticed the Mets are no longer have the worst ERA in all of baseball.  A huge reason for that is the starting pitching is not only improving, but they are also pitching deeper into games.  That has started with the re-emergence of Jacob deGrom.  Before last night’s debacle, in his last two starts, deGrom pitched 15.1 innings allowing just one earned run.  He threw down the gauntlet, and the other starting pitchers have responded.

The Mets are now starting to put together quality starts with some regularity.  Matt Harvey and Robert Gsellman are coming off their best starts in over a month.  Zack Wheeler continues to pregress well in his first season in over two years.  Matz and Seth Lugo will soon join the rotation.  As we have seen time and again, this team goes as its pitching goes, and the pitching is trending in the right direction.

2.  The Bullpen Is Settling Down

With the starters failing to go deep into games and Familia essentially being a non-factor this season, the bullpen has struggled.  The struggles stem from both overwork and trying to slot guys into different roles than had previously been anticipated.  With the starters going deeper, the bullpen is starting to get some rest, and the bullpen is starting to look better.

Another factor is the emergence of Paul Sewald.  A player the Mets were willing to risk losing in the Rule 5 Draft has now become the Mets most important reliever.  He has been used for multiple innings and to nail down the eighth inning.  He has shown his success in Vegas was no fluke pitching to a 2.21 ERA in 20.1 innings.  His emergence has allowed Terry Collins to ease up on some of his other relievers.Salas has responded by lowering his ERA by almost two runs in the month of May, has not blown one lead,  and he has not allowed an earned run in 11 of his last 14 appearances.  A rejuvenated Salas is good for the Mets.

Another key factor is the composition of the bullpen.  Rafael Montero is gone. Neil Ramirez is on his way out as well.  He should be gone once Hansel Robles figures things out in Vegas and/or Gsellman is moved to the bullpen with the return of Matz and Lugo from the disabled list.  Certainly, the composition of arms is going to be much better down there, and with the starters going deeper, they will be better rested.

3.  Help Is On The Way

As noted, Matz and Lugo will soon rejoin the rotation.  Behind them, we may also see Robles return to the majors prompting the Mets to send down one of the more ineffective arms in Ramirez and/or Josh Smoker.  But it’s not just on the pitching side that the Mets will improve, it’s also on the offensive side.

According to various reports, Cespedes is about 7-1o days away.  When he returns, the Mets will be adding an MVP caliber player to play alongside Michael Conforto in the outfield, who is having an MVP caliber season himself.  Cespedes not only lengthens the lineup, but he also adds a right-handed power threat which the lineup is sorely lacking right now.  While the offense isn’t the issue so far, a team that is fighting to not only get back to .500, but also to get back to the postseason needs to upgrade everywhere it can.

It’s more than Cespedes.  At some point, the moving target that is the Super Two deadline is going to comfortably pass clearing yet another hurdle for the Mets to call-up Amed Rosario.  If Rosario does get called-up, it would significantly improve the Mets infield defense, and it could also improve the lineup.  Through his first 50 games, Rosario is hitting .354/.393/.519 with 13 doubles, three triples, five homers, and 37 RBI.

With all that, there is legitimate reason for hope the Mets will be a better team over the final four months of the season.  That team could catch the Nationals in the standings especially when you consider the two teams have 13 games against one another remaining.  That is enough games to make-up the 9.5 game gap between the teams in the standings.  That goes double when you consider the Nationals have bullpen issues of their own, and they are just 15-12 since losing Adam Eaton for the season.

If the Mets play as well as they can play, this is going to be an exciting summer at Citi Field.  If the Mets play the way they are capable, this will soon become a pennant race.

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.

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.

Conforto The Padres Daddy

When Michael Conforto stepped up to the plate in the bottom of the first, he set the tone for the game:

In what was another huge game for Conforto, he ignited the Mets offense. In that first inning, the Mets knocked out Padres starter Jhoulys Chacin with two outs in the first. 

After Conforto’s keynote address, the Mets loaded the bases with no outs. Curtis Granderson knocked in the second run with a sacrifice fly. Wilmer Flores, who can suddenly hit righties, hit an RBI single. Flores and Neil Walker would score on a bases clearing two RBI Lucas Duda double. 

Conforto came back up the second time that inning, there were runners on second and third with two outs. Conforto ripped a two RBI single making it 7-0 Mets. At that point, the game was essentially over. 

It was another huge game for Conforto. He added another homer in the fourth. Overall, he was 3-4 with a HBP, two runs, two homers, and four RBI. 

It was enough run support for Matt Harvey, although it did look shaky for a while there. 

Harvey didn’t have his pinpoint control. In fact, he’s been missing it for a while now. Tonight, it lead to him issuing four walks.  There was just one 1-2-3 inning. It also led to Harvey’s pitch count escalating. He needed 103 pitches to get through five. 

Still, Harvey bore down when he needed. The Padres did get him for two in the second but no more. For the first time in six starts, he didn’t allow a homer. In fact, it was just the second time this season Harvey didn’t allow a homer. 

With the Mets offense exploding, and Harvey showing some grit, Harvey would earn the win. His final line was five innings, three hits, two runs, two earned, four walks, and six strikeouts. 

From there, there was some interesting moments with the Mets bullpen. Josh Smoker, who was just recalled from Vegas, was greeted with. On the first pitch he threw Ryan Schimpf hit a monster home run. 

Paul Sewald got into some trouble in the seventh leading Terry Collins to get Jerry Blevins up despite the Mets having a 8-3 lead at the time. 

Don’t worry, Blevins got into the game. Apparently, it was because no eighth 9-3 lead in baseball is safe. Because a right-handed batter was coming up with two outs in the eighth, Collins then had to go to Fernando Salas with two outs. 

Aside from Collins’ continued abuse of his bullpen, the only real issue from the game was Jay Bruce. Bruce was forced to leave the game early in the sixth with back issues. 

Overall, the Mets looked every bit of a good team pounding a poor team. Conforto continued his brilliance, and Duda started to turn things around. It was a good 9-3 win.   Mets need more of these to get back to .500 and back in the NL East race. 

Game Notes: The seven first inning runs were the most scored in the first inning by the Mets in 13 years. Hansel Robles was demoted before the game. 

Look Elsewhere For Sunday Fun

Originally, I was supposed to be watching this game with my brother, but with him being rushed to the hospital for emergency surgery on Friday, those plans were nixed.  By the way, Happy Birthday to him.  His gift was being discharged from the hospital.  It is a good thing he was going through the discharge process because I’m not sure even his painkillers would have been sufficient to dull the pain of watching that game.

Before you could blink, it was 5-0.  It would have been worse but Michael Conforto nailed Danny Espinosa at home plate.  Believe it or not, it got worse from there.  Mike Trout and Jefry Marte would hit back-to-back homers off Tommy Milone to make it 8-0.  At that point, Milone was done for the day.

To put is succinctly, Milone was absolutely terrible.  He threw 43 pitches with only 27 of them being strikes.  When he did throw a strike, it was hit hard.  Overall he pitched just 1.1 innings allowing eight runs (seven earned) on seven hits and two walks.  As bad as that was, Rafael Montero came into the game.

Bringing in Montero was the right move because it’s already 8-0, and you don’t want to rip through an already tired bullpen.  However, Montero is really just a white flag.  When he comes into the game, it really means “Game Over.”  It was a gorgeous day, and I have a three year old.  I decided to go out and have a fun day away from the team.  There was no sense watching anymore.

And really, it is getting to the point where you don’t want to watch the Mets on Sundays anymore.  Since winning their first Sunday game of the season, the Mets have lost five straight Sunday games.  Overall, they are getting out-scored 65-24 in Sunday games.  The losses have been a mixture of disheartening losses and blowouts. They have made you feel worse about series losses, and they have overshadowed series victories.  It makes me happy that the Mets no longer offer the Sunday Plan because I otherwise would have been at the game watching that mess again.

Sure, in turning the game off, I missed the Mets making a game of it with the Curtis Granderson and Jay Bruce homers.  I also missed the continued struggles of Hansel RoblesInstead, I got to ride on a train and drink soda from an animal sippy cup.  I also got to see a sea lion up close.


With that, I at least had a fun Sunday, which is something I would not have had if I continued to watch that Mets game.

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.

Today’s Bullpen Meltdown Brought To You By Robles

The best way to summarize Zack Wheeler‘s start is he answered the bell. Despite throwing 89 pitches through five, he went out for the sixth. Even with him throwing 103 through sixth, he came out for the seventh. 

In the sixth, it backfired a bit as Wheeler allowed a lead-off homer to Jake Lamb to tie the game at one. In the seventh, he gave up a lead-off single to the eighth place hitter Jeff Mathis. After that lead-off hit, Terry Collins lifted Wheeler. 

Unfortunately, that meant Wheeler would not get the win despite a very good outing. He didn’t get the win because the Mets offense only registered one hit against the Diamondbacks starter Zack Godley

The Mets did make that one hit off Godley count. In the second, Godley issued back-to-back one out walks to Jose Reyes and Curtis GrandersonRene Rivera then got the Mets lone hit off Godley giving the Mets a 1-0 lead. 

With the Mets not scoring more runs for Wheeler, he got a no decision despite striking out six and allowing just one run on seven hits and one walk.  

He also didn’t get the win because Collins lifted him after one batter in the seventh. Wheeler started that inning despite his having an at-bat the prior half inning. In what was an obvious pinch hitting situation, Collins instead elected to play matchups. 

Despite the lead-off hit to start the seventh, the Diamondbacks would not score a run. Jerry Blevins relieved Wheeler to face the left-handed hitting David Peralta. Peralta hit a shallow bloop to center that Granderson made a nice sliding play on. 

Granderson couldn’t get to a bloop hit by the next batter Rey Fuentes. However, Granderson was able to nail Mathis who tried to go from first to third on the play. The one thing we learned on that play was just how slow Mathis is. 

Collins then brought in Hansel Robles to pitch to Chris Owings. Look, anytime you can go through three pitchers when one would’ve sufficed, Collins is going to do it. 

Mets dodged a huge bullet in the eighth when Paul Goldschmidt hit what appeared to be a go-ahead homer off Robles. Upon replay, it was ruled a double as Goldschmidt’s ball hit the yellow line. It should be noted for a manager hell-bent on playing matchups, Goldschmidt is now 5-6 off Robles. 

The Mets good fortune was short-lived. After Lamb was intentionally walked, Yasmany Tomas hit a no-doubter to center giving the Diamondbacks a 4-1 lead. Later on in the inning, Mathis would hit a two run homer to make it 6-1. At that point, Robles would be lifted. 

It should be noted Robles has had two rough appearances after he has been overworked like the rest of this Mets bullpen. In his first 18 appearances, Robles allowed three runs. He’s now allowed nine runs in his last two appearances. He’s apparently gassed. It’s not an excuse. It’s a fact. 

Speaking of gassed, Collins went to the overused Josh Edgin who was greeted by Daniel Descalso with a home run. After that, Edgin finished the eighth in what could only be described as mop up duty. 

That’s mop up duty for a reliever on pace to make over 80 appearances while Rafael Montero sat unused. If Montero isn’t being used in mop up duty, why is he on the team?  

Wilmer Flores hit a two run pinch hit homer in the ninth to make the final score look more palatable. Still, whether it is 7-1 or 7-3, a loss is a loss. 
The Mets have now lost five straight games and four straight on this road trip. All four of those games were winnable at some point. That point was up until a gassed bullpen was asked to get some outs. Something has to change and fast. 

Game Notes: Asdrubal Cabrera missed the game with a thumb injury. The Mets are debating whether or not to put him on the DL. 

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.