Seth Lugo

20/20 Hindsight: Mets Leave Phillies All Wet

With two rainouts, the series between the New York Mets and Philadelphia Phillies turned from a four game set to a Mets three game sweep. There was a lot to unpack here:

1. Due to rain outs and COVID, the Mets have only played in eight out of a possible 13 games.

2. That’s going to mean a lot of seven inning double headers this year, which in turn means, the Mets are likely to set a record for fewest innings played over a 162 game season.

3. The seven inning doubleheaders are terrible. The runner on second in extras is worse. Having a runner on second in the eighth inning is an abomination.

4. For all the nonsense thrown Marcus Stroman‘s way, he took the ball on one day of rest, and he was dominant. The Mets are very lucky to have him.

5. The top of the lineup is now clicking big time with Francisco Lindor heating up and Dominic Smith batting third.

6. Lindor’s defense is difference making. The fact he is also a good hitter is what makes him so special.

7. Brandon Nimmo has been PHENOMENAL. He’s hitting an absurd .464/.583/.571, and he’s reached base at least two times in every game the Mets have played.

8. Michael Conforto has been hit by pitches more than he’s gotten hits. The last one was intentional, and Jose Alvarado should’ve been suspended for it.

9. Conforto’s struggles are giving cover for Pete Alonso who has really struggled this year. He’s not hitting balls out the way he did the last two years.

10. That said, he’s had a couple of big RBI, including driving home Lindor in extra innings.

11. For all the flack Luis Rojas gets, he was aware of the pitcher spot extra inning loophole to get Lindor on base. He’s also gotten his outfield defense playing better than expected.

12. Perhaps the most important thing to happen this young season is Aaron Loup getting five outs. That included that huge double play to escape a jam.

13. With Loup there and Jeurys Familia showing signs of returning to his 2015 form, the Mets may not have to rely on Miguel Castro and Trevor May every night like they had been.

14. It’s interesting Robert Gsellman hasn’t gotten into a game yet. Hopefully, he’s not too rusty before the Mets head to Colorado where bullpens are usually taxed.

15. David Peterson‘s start was so impressive. That goes double when the Phillies have owned him in his young career.

16. James McCann had his first big hit with his first Mets homer, but his real impact has been his work behind the plate where he’s done a masterful job handling this pitching staff.

17. Mets pitchers have a 2.81 ERA, which is third best in baseball. That’s BEFORE Carlos Carrasco, Seth Lugo, and Noah Syndergaard have thrown a pitch.

18. You get the sense you’re in for a special season when Jonathan Villar gets the game winning hit in the first end of the doubleheader, and then he does it again in the second half.

19. Even with Villar doing that, and J.D. Davis coming off the IL, Luis Guillorme continues to prove every game he gets an opportunity, he’s the Mets best option at third.

20. With the Mets being the only NL East team over .500 and their going to play a bad Colorado Rockies and Chicago Cubs teams, they’re going to get an opportunity to put an early stranglehold on the division.

Jed Lowrie And Zack Wheeler Have Outhit Mets Roster And Other Alarming 2021 Stats

After being unable to make more than eight hitless pinch hitting attempts over two years, Jed Lowrie has out-hit the entire Mets team in 2021. For that matter, so has Zack Wheeler.

So much for the universal DH.

Wheeler also has more strikeouts than anyone on the Mets pitching staff including Jacob deGrom. For that matter, so has Matt Harvey. In fact, Harvey has struck out more batters than the entire Mets staff combined.

If you think that’s scary, consider Chris Flexen does as well. In fact, Flexen has more wins that the Mets do this year. Of course, that shouldn’t be too much of a surprise considering Brodie Van Wagenen was horrible as the GM.

Of course, we all know the reasons why Wheeler is out-hitting the Mets, and Flexen has been stats than anyone on the Mets is because the Mets haven’t been able to play their opening series.

Until that point, Noah Syndergaard, Seth Lugo, and Carlos Carrasco are atop all the Mets pitching categories despite their not being able to begin their season for at least a month. Of course, no one is pitching for the Mets now.

The stats are so skewed J.D. Davis is the Mets top fielder . . . and hitter. Right now, Davis can be considered the Mets player because he’s tied atop every statistic. That’s how you know things aren’t great.

Fortunately, the Mets hiatus will be over soon when they take the field in Philadelphia on Monday. When that happens, we should soon see deGrom correct a number of these bizarre discrepancies caused by the Nationals COVID infections.

Mets Will Win 2021 NL East Title

Maybe this is just the excitement which comes from Opening Day. Certainly, that is amplified by new ownership, the Francisco Lindor extension, and Jacob deGrom taking the mound. However, taking everything into account, this New York Mets team is the best one we have seen since 2015 and probably 2006.

Like most times the Mets are good, they are going to be led by pitching. Their starting staff is great, and when healthy, it is the best in baseball. Part of the reason why is deGrom is still the best pitcher in baseball. Behind him right now is Marcus Stroman. Stroman has made adjustments and added new pitches, and he looks set for a career year. That is really saying something considering he has been a gamer his entire career, and he was the World Baseball Classic MVP.

Noah Syndergaard and Carlos Carrasco may be the two most underrated pitchers in baseball. Looking at their FIP, they pitch at or near an ace level. In this rotation, they may be no better than third or fourth starters. It’s not just doing deGrom-Stroman-Syndergaard-Carrasco. This is one of the deepest rotations in all of baseball.

Behind that quartet is Taijuan Walker who was once a top 100 prospect, and he seems poised to take a big step forward after using analytics to help him improve. After Walker, the Mets have David Peterson, Joey Lucchesi, and Jordan Yamamoto, each of whom could be around a three in most rotations. For the Mets, they will eventually be on the outside looking in.

They are all going to be better pitchers because they have the tandem of James McCann and Tomas Nido behind the plate. Both of these players are strong catchers who are excellent pitch framers. Having catchers like that behind the plate make good pitchers even better. When your starting pitching is great and operating at a high level, you are going to win a lot of games.

This is paired with an incredible lineup. They Mets have an embarrassment of riches on that front. Consider Francisco Lindor, Michael Conforto and Jeff McNeil have each been All-Star lead-off hitters, and they aren’t even the Mets best lead-off hitter. That’s Brandon Nimmo. With that group plus Pete Alonso and Dominic Smith, their 1-6 of their lineup can and probably should be hitting in the middle of the order.

Now, this Mets team isn’t perfect. Far from it. The first problem is their bullpen. The good news on that front is between Edwin Diaz and Trevor May, they have the last two innings covered well. The hope is at least one of Dellin Betances, Miguel Castro, or Jeurys Familia can figure it out to become that seventh inning reliever. That is at least until Seth Lugo is good to return. When that happens the Mets bullpen will be in great shape.

Another factor there is the Mets have some other interesting options. Sooner or later, Drew Smith will be healthy and ready to rejoin the bullpen. It should also be noted when the Mets have their full rotation, someone like Lucchesi can move down to the bullpen where his churve could be a weapon on par with Lugo’s curveball.

The other issue is the defense. Simply put, having J.D. Davis at third is unacceptable. He can’t remotely field the position. Having Dominic Smith behind him makes the left side defense one of the worst in baseball. To that, they may not be the worst in the division with the Atlanta Braves probably being worse with Austin Riley and Marcell Ozuna.

It’s very possible Brandon Nimmo can succeed with positioning in center. After all, he’s had positive OAAs in center most of his career, and he does have the speed for the position. Jeff McNeil seems more comfortable at second, and while Alonso has his defensive issues, he is quite adept and receiving throws around first.

While the lineup has serious defensive issues, the bench does not. Luis Guillorme is a Gold Glove caliber defender. Albert Almora and Kevin Pillar are also quite good. With the lead, we can and should see Luis Rojas run all three out with Smith moving to first base. When that happens, the Mets defensive alignment turns from questionable to really strong.

Therein lies the key. Aside from health, Rojas is going to be the biggest key to this Mets season. He is going to need a deft touch as to when to utilize his defensive replacements. He and Jeremy Hefner are also going to have to get their rotation healthy through the season, which is all the more challenging because of the shortened season last year. They are also going to have to find the right mix in the bullpen while making sure they don’t overuse their best relievers.

Right now, the Mets have the right mix to have a great season. They also have an owner willing to invest in the team, and they have Sandy Alderson in charge, who we know will not be shy making a key trade or two to improve this Mets roster.

Looking at the Braves, their pitching has durability issues, and their defensive issues may be worse than the Mets. The Phillies don’t have the starting pitching, and their bullpen was a disaster last year. The Marlins are young and not deep. The Nationals still don’t know what they are going at key positions on the field.

Taking everything into account, the Mets are the best team in the National League East. If Rojas is up to the task, and there is every reason to believe he will be, the Mets are well poised to return to the postseason again and let their pitching take them back to the World Series.

20/20 Offseason Hindsight: Let The Steve Cohen Era Begin

Steve Cohen purchased the New York Mets, and suddenly, everything got better. After Cohen purchased the Mets, things were different, very different:

1. It’s still unbelievable to think the Mets added $92.1 million to the 2021 payroll alone. If nothing else, that announced everything was different.

2. The Francisco Lindor trade was a franchise defining trade. He’s a superstar as future Hall of Famer.

3. It’s still hard to believe a contract extension won’t get done. After him, Noah Syndergaard may get one next.

4. It’s hard to see Scott Boras letting Michael Conforto sign an extension now. However, if he does, he will be poised to be the next captain and break a lot of David Wright’s records.

5. Speaking of breaking records, Jacob deGrom looks primed to have a great year. He cane out in midseason form, and it’ll be a shock if he’s not the Cy Young.

6. When Syndergaard and Carlos Carrasco return, this will be an all-time Mets rotation.

7. It’s still curious the plan to start the year is to put David Peterson in a position where he bounces back and forth all year.

8. Speaking of curious decisions, how do the Mets make all of these moves and build a ground ball staff only to trust J.D. Davis at third.

9. They’re also putting a lot of stock in Edwin Diaz being great, and Miguel Castro figuring it out. Although to be fair, it’s not the same with Davis as this was the result of Seth Lugo‘s injury.

10. Dellin Betances looks done. With him, we may find out just how much Cohen can tolerate and whether the Mets know how to handle a sunk cost.

11. With Jordan Yamamoto not making the Opening Day roster and Luis Guillorme not getting a starting job, we see Spring Training competitions are a complete fraud.

12. For all the lip service Sandy Alderson gave to making the Mats a better defensive team, he did what he always did in putting multiple first basemen in the field.

13. They may be deadening the ball, but Pete Alonso looks ready to murder them. He’s completely locked in and looks poised to have a monster year.

14. Marcus Stroman also looks set to have a great year. He may be a surprise Cy Young contender, and it may behoove the Mets to lock him up before his price tag soars.

15. Stroman is a reminder the Mets never needed Trevor Bauer. Bauer may have another great year, but he’d be a fifth starter on this team, and he would’ve prevented the Mets from extending their stars.

16. All told, this is a team who has a deep lineup and a very good starting rotation. There are holes, but the team seems confident they can win.

17. The black jerseys returning does give this team big 1999 vibes.

18. Luis Rojas may emerge as a surprise manager of the year candidate. This team is that good and so is he. The key will Be how well he utilizes his defensive replacements in Guillorme (who should be starting), Albert Almora, and Kevin Pillar.

19. James McCann seems like the perfect addition to this team. The pitchers seem to be raving about his leadership and work behind the plate. If he hits a little (and he can hit a lot), he’s going to be great.

20. Everything about this organization is different. The team is vastly improved. They’re looking to keep their best players. They’re beefing up their analytics and player development. Overall, it’s a great time to be a Mets fan.

Jerry Blevins Sticking Around

After missing the pandemic season and becoming a budding TV star commentator, Jerry Blevins decided he wanted one last crack at a ring. There was only one catch. He only wanted to be a Met.

After a good (but not great) Spring Training, Blevins didn’t make the Opening Day roster. Rather than retire or seek his release, Blevins is going to report to Brooklyn thereby extending his chances of winning that elusive World Series ring.

Right now, the Mets bullpen is in a state of flux. Seth Lugo and Drew Smith are hurt. Veterans like Tommy Hunter and Mike Montgomery didn’t make the team. Players like Dellin Betances and Robert Gsellman had some worrisome signs with their velocity.

Aside from that, over that course of the season, there are pitcher injuries, and there are players who are sent down, designated for assignment, or released due to ineffectiveness. By staying Blevins gives himself a shot, and he very well find his way to Flushing soon.

If nothing else, Blevins had his curveball working. Back when he was with the Mets the first time, he utilized that curve to be a very good reliever in the Mets bullpen.

There is still the chance for him to be that again. He showed this spring he still has the stuff to get Major League batters out. There is still room for him to fulfill a role in the Mets bullpen. What role that is or when it will be is still to be determined.

The one thing we do know is Blevins will stick around until that time comes. That’s very good for the Mets as Blevins can very be a part of a bullpen who can get him that ring he returned to get.

Corey Oswalt Should Make Opening Day Roster

If this was just based on performance, Corey Oswalt has been one of the New York Mets best pitchers this Spring Training, and as a result, he should be on the Opening Day roster. If nothing else, we have heard on a number of occasions Luis Rojas has been impressed with how Oswalt has looked.

One of the biggest developments for Oswalt has his finding that extra gear on his fastball. Now, this could be the result of his going shorter stints during the Spring. It could also be the result of the Mets making more advanced data available to their pitchers and coaching staff. Whatever the case, that velocity is there right now.

If the concern is he couldn’t maintain it as a starter, the Mets do have spots open in the bullpen due to injuries this Spring. In his first Spring appearance, he struck out five of the six St. Louis Cardinals batters he faced. Now, it should be noted that came against mostly minor league players for the Cardinals, but it did happen.

More importantly, as noted, the velocity happened, and according to reports, it is something that has carried forward into team workouts and B games. Long story short, Oswalt has seemingly made the jump that took him from a fifth starter ceiling to possibly something more as a Major League pitcher.

In years past, especially given the injury to Carlos Carrasco, that could have meant a shot at joining the Mets Opening Day rotation. However, with David Peterson‘s emergence last year coupled with the acquisitions of Joey Lucchesi and Jordan Yamamoto at the moment, there is no spot for Oswalt in the rotation in the short or long term.

That would mean the bullpen is the best destination for Oswalt. In many ways, it makes sense to send him there. He’s shown the increased velocity and effectiveness in the shorter spurts. Moreover, with Seth Lugo down, the Mets really need someone to fill that role. No, no one is saying Oswalt could be a Lugo in the bullpen, but rather, he can definitively be the type of reliever who can give the Mets multiple innings out of the bullpen.

Given the truncated 2020 season, that is of increased performance. It is also noteworthy with Taijuan Walker and some combination of Lucchesi, Peterson, and Yamamoto for the fourth and fifth spots in the rotation, the Mets are running three 5+ inning starters out there. That puts a stress on the bullpen to pick up the slack, especially when that happens three consecutive games.

Having Oswalt out there can alleviate some of that burden. Really, of all the pitchers currently in camp, it is just him and Robert Gsellman who can fill that type of a role. Given the rotation, the Mets probably need two or more pitchers who can reliably give you 2+ innings.

In some ways, just picking a role for Oswalt is what can best help him succeed as a pitcher. Remember, this is a pitcher who has bounced between starting and relieving for three years now. That has been coupled with abusive use and inexplicable fallow periods. If nothing else, this would put Oswalt in the best position to succeed.

If he succeeds, he can then help the Mets succeed in 2021. He has the increased velocity, and he has the ability to eat some innings for the bullpen. Looking at performance and need out there, Oswalt should be in the Opening Day bullpen.


Projecting Mets 2021 Opening Day Bullpen

The New York Mets bullpen has been through for a loop with the injury to Seth Lugo to start the season. Things have grown increasingly complicated by diminished velocity of Jeurys Familia and Dellin Betances. With all that said, the bullpen has talent, and there are many spots accounted for already.

Guaranteed – Miguel Castro, Edwin Diaz, Jeurys Familia, Aaron Loup, Trevor May

Obviously, Diaz is going to be the closer coming off of a strong 2020 season. May is going to figure into the equation as a late inning reliever, and Loup was brought on to be the LOOGY. That’s the easy part.

Castro is out of options, and it is very likely he would be picked up off waivers if the Mets tried to send him down. Fortunately, that does not seem to be an issue with Castro having a great Spring striking out four in 4.0 scoreless and hitless innings.

After him, with Familia seemingly getting his elite level stuff back, he is a lock to make the bullpen. If nothing else, he can pitch the middle innings while the Mets hope Jeremy Hefner gets him back to his dominant form.

Bubble – Dellin Betances, Robert Gsellman, Drew Smith, Daniel Zamora

The 13 pitcher roster rule has been suspended for the 2021 season, but that may be a good general construct. Considering a five man rotation with the aforementioned five guaranteed spots, that leaves three remaining spots.

Given his salary and history of building up his velocity in-season, it is likely Betances makes the Opening Day roster. That leaves two spots available in the bullpen. Given the performances this Spring, that is going to be a difficult decision.

Gsellman has been a mainstay in the bullpen over the last few seasons and based on seniority he gets the call. Notably with him, the Mets did have the option to stretch him out as a starter, but they opted not to do that this spring with Gsellman only throwing 4.0 innings over three appearances.

Smith was the one reliever from the 2017 trade deadline debacle who has proven he could pitch in the majors. So far, he looks good, and the Mets are going to have to go out of their way to try to keep a pitcher with three scoreless appearances with no walks and three strikeouts off of the roster.

Finally, there is Zamora who probably presents the Mets best option to carry two left-handed pitchers in the bullpen. He has been a little wild with two walks over 3.2 innings, but he has also struck out three batters. That is typical for Zamora over the last few years.

Fifth Starter Competition – Joey Lucchesi, David Peterson, Jordan Yamamoto

The injury to Carlos Carrasco certainly changed the complexity of the fifth starter battle. With his injury, that opened up two spots instead of one. Given the nature of the injury, the Mets could feel more comfortable putting Peterson in the Opening Day rotation as the fear of having to send him down at one point isn’t as strong.

If Peterson were to make the rotation, the Mets could put one or both of Lucchesi or Yamamoto in the bullpen. Both pitchers have been great this Spring, and they have both more than made the case they deserve to be on the Opening Day roster in some way, shape, or form.

Outside Looking In – Jerry Blevins, Tommy Hunter, Arodys Vizcaino

Blevins probably has a much better chance than this given his curveball looking great. However, he has only appeared in two games walking two and striking out three. While this arguably puts him ahead of Zamora, especially with his track record, adding Blevins would require the Mets to make a roster move.

With respect to Hunter and Vizcaino, they may well both prove to have an impact on the Mets in 2021. That said, neither quite seem ready to pitch Opening Day at the moment. That goes double for Vizcaino who has only made one apperance so far.

Wild Card – Mike Montgomery, Corey Oswalt

With Carrasco suffering an injury, the Mets are said to begin stretching out Montgomery. That would seemingly be an indication they are looking for him to begin the season in Syracuse instead of Flushing. Still, it is hard to overlook his ability to be another lefty in the bullpen and a pitcher who can give you multiple innings. That said, Lucceshi could offer that himself.

Oswalt has had a very good Spring Training with Luis Rojas being very impressed. His velocity is way up, and he has looked quite strong. In fact, we probably shouldn’t completely rule him out in the fifth stater competition. If it is about competition, Oswalt has a strong case to make the Opening Day roster. That said, the fact it’ll require a 40 man move serves as a significant impediment.

Opening Day Bullpen

Joining the aforementioned group of Castro, Diaz, Familia, Loup, and May will very likely include Betances giving the Mets two more spots to figure out. With Lucchesi and Yamamoto now poised to start the season in the rotation, it would seem the final two spots can go to pitchers who are strictly relievers and not converted starters.

At the moment, it looks like one of those two spots should go to Smith. It’s possible the last spot goes to Gsellman due to his ability to give the Mets an extra inning here or there, but it would seem his spot is about as tenuous as Betances’ is right now. Overall, there are two weeks to go and a lot can happen. It will be very interesting to see where things go from here.

Dellin Betances Dangerously Close To Not Making Opening Day Roster

If you looked at last season, there was legitimate reason for optimism for Dellin Betances in 2021. If nothing else, he showed his ACL was healed, and he was still able to generate a very good whiff%.

We should have seen Betances build off of last year with a regular offseason. Instead, this Spring, it seems like he’s regressing and could be in real danger of not making the Opening Day roster.

Betances seemed the acknowledge his 98+ MPH fastball was forever gone. Last year, he more than made 94 MPH work, at least in terms of swings and misses. He looked to build upon that, and he worked with Rockland Peak Performance to optimize his spin and to maybe regain some velocity.

So far, the results haven’t been great. Through four appearances, he has allowed six runs on five hits and three walks while only striking out two. While we should typically ignore Spring Training performances, this one merits analysis.

The main reason is his velocity, or better put lack thereof. While Betances is known for low velocity at this time of the year, his velocity so far this Spring is trending in the wrong direction.

Instead of Betances building up his velocity, it’s dropping. It’s now at the point where his fastball is dipping below 90 MPH. While he was able to make 94 work, it’s very debatable he can make sub 90 work.

The biggest reason is his control. With the high number of walks he issues, he really can’t afford lower velocity. The dip in velocity makes it easier for a batter to either lay off a pitch or square one up. That decrease in velocity could end any chance Betances has at being an effective reliever.

If Betances sees his velocity continue to drop, it’s going to become more and more done difficult for the Mets to put him on the Opening Day roster.

The only saving grace Betances has is his relatively high $6 million salary and Seth Lugo‘s injury. For those two reasons alone, he may very well get the chance to be on the Opening Day roster. If so, he can hopefully follow his career pattern of increasing his velocity in-season.

If not, Betances may well soon find himself as a DFA candidate. In fact, he’s probably one already. For now, he has about two weeks remaining to give the Mets some reason to bring him to Washington to begin the 2021 season.

Don’t Forget About Corey Oswalt

While Luis Guillorme understandably grabbed all the headlines, he was not the only Mets player who impressed. Corey Oswalt also had a strong performance.

Oswalt pitched two scoreless innings striking out five of the six batters he faced. It was a reminder Oswalt may still have an impact at the MLB level.

At this point in his career, it is difficult to say he’s been good. There have been glimpses here and there, but overall, as his career 63 ERA+ would indicate, he’s struggled.

One of the biggest reasons why is how he’s been used, or better put, abused, by the Mets. He’s sat unused for far too long stretches, had him pitch on three or fewer days rest, and they’ve bounced him between roles with zero preparation.

Put another way, the Mets did not put Oswalt in a position to succeed, and he hasn’t. However, that doesn’t mean he can’t or won’t.

Oswalt is a true four pitch pitcher who is willing to throw any of his pitches at any count. One of the reasons he can do this is his control. While not exceptional, it’s still quite good, and he can locate his pitches where he wants.

Oswalt does not have great velocity averaging around 92 MPH on his fastball. He also has not shown much spin on any of his pitches. As noted, he does combat this by locating.

That said, his change has nice drop to it. That helps allow the swings-and-misses, and it helps induce weak contact. The issue is he hasn’t really had that chances. That’s something the Mets really haven’t had.

The question fo Oswalt is whether he’ll get that chance now. That’s certainly up for debate partially because of the Mets.

Overall, this was a strong 2,0 innings for Oswalt. He showed why the Mets can’t give up on him. That goes double with the Mets starting staff beginning the year without Noah Syndergaard and Seth Lugo.

That right there is the key. The Mets need to pick a role to permit Oswalt to thrive and work within that role with Jeremy Hefner. That could be as a reliever, and it could be as a fifth starter. That’s up to the Mets.

With Oswalt off the 40, he has to reprove himself to get that call up again. He then has to stick. He has the talent, and he’s got the ability to work on things. Where he goes from here depends on his development).

Mets Second Starter Should Be Taijuan Walker, Joey Lucchesi, Or Jordan Yamamoto

When teams assemble their pitching rotations, they typically assemble them in order of the talent of their top starters. Taking the New York Mets as an example, Jacob deGrom will be the Opening Day starter. After him, with Carlos Carrasco possibly delayed to start the season and Noah Syndergaard on the 60 day IL, it is fairly clear right now Marcus Stroman would be the second starter.

If you are taking the long term view of the season, Stroman should not be the second starter. Yes, he is the second best starter available, and if this was Game 2 of a postseason series, you would definitively be handing him the ball. However, in the regular season, that does not make any sense.

Looking at deGrom, since he has been the best pitcher in baseball, he has averaged 6.1 innings per start. If you look at the two seasons prior to 2020, he averaged 6.2 innings. That means whenever he takes the ball, the bullpen is getting a break. That is important when you consider the bullpen gets increasingly taxed and taxed with each start. To that, here is the average innings per start over the last four seasons for the Mets projected 2021 rotation options:

Now, the Mets seemed to be blessed with pitchers who tend to go deeper into games than most teams. Still, when fully healthy, this will be a rotation with two 5+ inning starters at the back end of their rotation. That means a bullpen who gets increasingly used after deGrom starts will be asked to provide a lot more without much of a break.

That was something which truly presented an issue for the Mets during deGrom’s first Cy Young campaign. Yes, he received little to no run support far too often that season. However, he also would see the bullpen blow a number of late leads for him. Part of the result is that the bullpen had been taxed heading into his starts. Rather than having the bullpen in the best possible shape to secure a win from their ace, they were on fumes hoping for deGrom to give them a break.

That is partially how you take a season for the ages and turn it into a 11-10 record for deGrom. That is both a reflection of how wins and losses for a pitcher are overrated. However, it is also an indication that something is going wrong that a pitcher who is setting records can’t buy a win.

If we were to look at the current Mets rotation, the bullpen is going to be well rested when deGrom takes the mound. Typically speaking, they will need to get about 6-8 outs in a game. That will leave them well rested. That is exactly the right time to line up the bullpen for a Walker start.

Typically speaking, Walker provides 5+ innings in a start. After deGrom, the bullpen will be well poised to provide that. Of course, after that, the Mets will have run through some of their bullpen. That is when you combat that by going to Syndergaard or Carrasco (if healthy) or Stroman. The Mets can then go to their 5+ inning fifth starter whether that is Luccesi, Peterson, or Yamamoto. Finally, the Mets could then go to Stroman who can eat some more innings before handing the ball back to deGrom.

By restructuring the rotation in that fashion, the Mets are positioning their bullpen to get breaks here and there. You are getting them regular work, and you are avoiding some fallow periods where they are not getting work because the top pitchers are eating up innings. Overall, the general concept is to stagger the pitchers by the innings they will reasonably provide instead of just lining them up without any concept on the impact it will have on the bullpen and staff as a whole.

Hopefully, that means a better rested Edwin Diaz. It could mean less of a need to rely on Seth Lugo for multiple innings when he returns. It could mean not needing to have the Triple-A to MLB shuttle for pitchers like Drew Smith. Instead, pitchers are put in a position where they get regular rest and work. That should help them succeed, and it should help prevent them from blowing games for deGrom.