After the five game series against the Atlanta Braves, the New York Mets bullpen needed a break. Unfortunately, there wasn’t one in the schedule.
That left Chris Bassitt to get them one.
It wasn’t his prettiest outing, but it was his grittiest. While dancing around eight hits and a walk, Bassitt threw 114 pitches over eight innings.
In some ways, this was a page from the 2015 Mets. Use your dominant starting pitching and only those relievers you can trust.
Back in 2015, the only relievers the Mets trusted down the stretch were Addison Reed, Tyler Clippard, and Jeurys Familia. They had the starting pitching to limit it mostly to just these relievers in the big spots.
In the 2015 postseason, the Mets got innings primarily from Jacob deGrom, Noah Syndergaard, and Matt Harvey. That proved to be a bit of a double edged sword as it allowed the Mets to only have to roll with these relievers, but then, those relievers were exhausted and faltered in the postseason.
Fortunately for these Mets, they’re deeper. In addition to Díaz and Ottavino, they also have Trevor May, who has looked good since coming off the IL.
Seth Lugo has also better better of late. Moreover, Trevor Williams has performed in whatever role the Mets have needed from him. Keep in mind, Showalter isn’t Terry Collins as Showalter will use the next tier of guys when warranted.
That’s something Collins could never comprehend, and it cost the Mets dearly. Part of the reason the Mets could only use three relievers was because he only trusted three.
That led to disastrous decision making in Game 3 of the World Series which caused further bad decision making the rest of the series. However, the underlying principle was correct.
The more dominant innings you get from your starter; the better your bullpen is. Less innings means more rest. More rest means better performance. Better performance leads to wins.
In pressure spots, the Mets don’t want to see the last couple of pitchers in their bullpen. That goes double in the postseason. Of course, with Mets starters going deep, and we know they can, the Mets can lean on their top performers.
At least for this win, eight from Bassitt meant one from Ottavino as Díaz, May, Lugo, and Williams rested. It means the other pitchers will be fresher when called upon to pitch again.
This is how the Mets cover their tracks in the bullpen. Dominant starting pitching going deep into games followed by the 1-2 relievers a night the Mets actually want pitching in a big spot.
With Edwin Díaz, the New York Mets have the best closer in baseball. As for the rest of the bullpen, well, that’s a question mark right now.
The expectation is the Mets will address this at the trade deadline. At first blush, there’s a lot which needs addressing. However, when you dig deeper, maybe the Mets are in much better shape than originally contemplated.
Lets start with the fact Major League Baseball has a 13 pitcher limit. After the five man rotation, which will be further bolstered by Jacob deGrom’s return, a team can carry seven relievers.
We know Díaz is the closer. As a result, the Mets need to fill six bullpen spots. Here’s how they look.
Adam Ottavino has been terrific with a 2.29 ERA, 176 ERA+, and a 10.5 K/9. He’s emerged as a primary set-up man. That’s five spots remaining.
Seth Lugo looks like a different reliever out of the break. He’s yet to allow a run in 4.2 innings. His run goes deeper than that. Since June 8, he has a 2.70 ERA. That’s four spots remaining.
Trevor Williams has been an important pitcher for the Mets all season. With a healthy rotation Williams will now stay in the bullpen.
As a reliever this season, he has a 1.50 ERA striking out 10.9 per nine, and he recorded his first career save this season. He can be a long man, and we’ve recently seen him get some late inning opportunities. That’s three spots remaining.
Trevor May will be coming off the IL. He’s a high leverage reliever who had a 3.38 ERA, 130 ERA+, and a 12.1 K/9 out of the bullpen from 2018 – 2021.
He looked strong during his rehab outings. If he’s back to form, the Mets bullpen gets exponentially better and deeper. That’s two spots remaining.
However, that’s depth, and the Mets understandably aren’t going to rely on them come the postseason. Of course, with the innings they get from the starting rotation, the Mets may never really need anything beyond Diaz-May-Lugo-Ottavino.
Still, you build as strong a bullpen as you can. It’s possible the remaining two spots could bee filled internally.
Of course, that also applied to Drew Smith. However, no one knows if Smith can return this year. That may go double with Megill.
With Joely Rodriguez being a disappointment, and with the needless obsession with LOOGYS even despite the three batter rule, the Mets will likely bend backwards to get a left-handed reliever. It’s dumb, but that’s what they’ll do.
That leaves the team finding one more big arm. Given his success in New York, and how he’s pitched this year, David Robertson is THE perfect fit. Of course, there are other options.
Then again, if the Mets get no one, they will still be fine.
As noted, the starting pitching goes deep. So far this year, they average 5.2 innings per start. Remember, that’s without one deGrom start and the team getting 30 starts outside their projected Opening Day rotation.
Keep in mind, one of those five moves to the postseason bullpen. That takes one of the two needed slots. Maybe they also carry David Peterson even if he struggled in his two cracks at the short relief route.
Really, when you break it down, the Mets already can go with what they already have in October. That goes double if Megill and/or Smith return.
While very true, the Mets still should get Robertson. That’s a move that puts this bullpen in a different stratosphere and pushes them closer to being World Series favorites.
The New York Mets responded to losing their first series of the season by taking three out of four from the St. Louis Cardinals. However, that does not mean the Mets did not sustain major losses.
1. The worst thing to happen with the Mets this week was the death of Starling Marte‘s grandmother, a woman who began raising him when he was nine after his mother died. This is on the same week as the anniversary of his wife’s death. Nothing related to the Mets can be worse than this, and fans should greet him with a standing ovation when he returns to Citi Field.
2. In terms of on-field, the Max Scherzer news is devastating. The Mets need him atop the rotation, and really they are at the point where they cannot afford to lose another starter.
3. It would appear Scherzer and Jacob deGrom are on a race to see who will be the first to return. Never did we think this would happen this season, and yet, here we are.
4. This makes the Chris Bassitt acquisition all the more important. He’s a legitimate top of the rotation pitcher (not an ace) for this team when they need one. We saw him be that in the series finale.
5. Mets pitching from unlikely sources have stepped up all season, so maybe we will see it again. For example, Colin Holderman just picked up his first career win.
6. In fact, pitchers not on the Opening Day roster to begin the season – Holderman, Adonis Medina, Stephen Nogosek, Jake Reed, and Yoan Lopez – have combined to allow just three earned over 17.1 innings.
7. Speaking of stepping up, Trevor Williams stepped up big time pitching four scoreless innings. Really, he has been very good for the Mets eating innings over his last three appearances allowing just three earned over 11 1/3 innings. That’s great because he now needs to fill-in for Scherzer.
8. In the series finale against the St. Louis Cardinals, Pete Alonso hit a two run walk-off homer with an accompanying jump shot to give the Mets yet another series win. It was the capper for a big series for Alonso which saw him hit two homers with seven RBI.
9. Alonso is having a big month. Over 18 games so far, he is hitting .309/.397/.618 with three doubles, six homers, and 19 RBI. It’s about to get a lot better with him and the Mets headed to Coors Field.
10. Again, Luis Guillorme needs to be an everyday player on this team. He was 5-for-12 in this series with a double and RBI. He’s hitting .323/.382/.484 in May. Really, there is zero reason not to play him everyday.
11. Buck Showalter makes some baffling moves sometimes like lifting Guillorme late in the game for Travis Jankowski only to bunt him over. Really, the Mets brought in a pinch runner to be sacrificed over and worsened their defense in what was then a tight game where the Mets had a lead.
12. For all the nonsense hysteria over Francisco Lindor. he was 4-for-12 in this series with six walks and has reached base safely in eight straight games. He’s fine and still a great player.
13. Time and again, Brandon Nimmo comes up huge. Whether it was the RBI triple or another big hit or great play, Nimmo is one of the best players in all of baseball and needs to be extended.
14. Speaking of great plays, Jeff McNeil scaling the wall and throwing out a player tagging up was just a phenomenal play. Really, between the versatility, improved defense, and his hitting, this is the best he has ever been.
15. Good for Dominic Smith for backing up his talk of wanting to play every day by going 3-for-7 with a run, double, two walks, and two RBI. This is the type of player who needs to play everyday.
16. Of course, the Mets followed his hot hitting by forcing J.D. Davis into the lineup who promptly went 0-for-4 with three strikeouts. The Mets really just need to stop forcing him into the lineup whenever Smith gets going. It’s just counterproductive.
17. With the Mets dealing with starting pitching injuries, they just need to play their best players. That isn’t Davis.
18. Eduardo Escobar is hurting this team with his defense, and he’s still not back to hitting. The Mets may be forced to find a third baseman at the trade deadline.
19. When you hit a game winning homer, you can do whatever crazy celebration you want including the one Alonso did.
20. For all the troubles right now, the Mets are 12 games over .500 with a seven game lead in the division. They did what they needed to do through this part of the season, and now, they just need to keep playing well to win this division regardless of who is healthy or not.ba
Often times, fans have this notion that their team is singled out or treated unfairly. It is a natural part of fandom, but realistically speaking, it’s not the case. Case-in-point, New York Mets fans have long thought Angel Hernandez had it out for their team, but in reality, Hernandez is just that bad of an umpire.
Then, there are times when fans can see their suspicions are actually correct. That’s what the Buck Showalter suspension was.
Let’s make no mistakes here, Yoan López was out there to try to hit Kyle Schwarber. He tried twice until Jeremy Hefner went to the mound and told him to knock it off. We can also be honest that Showalter absolutely was aware of what López was going to do because in his last outing López buzzed Nolan Arenado leading to the benches clearing.
This is the type of policing which has been left to Mets pitchers because Mets batters have been hit 21 times. That’s five more times than any other team, and it’s more than the bottom four teams in the majors combined. It’s not just the hit by pitches but where they have been.
Now, there were warnings issued by the umpires, and López would actually hit Alec Bohm with a pitch. However, one more strike and the game would be over. It was very clear López was not trying to hit him, and as a result, the umpires were rational and did not eject anyone.
That’s an important pretext for what happened in St. Louis. As noted, López buzzed Arenado, which led to the benches clearing. Like with the series against the Phillies, Cardinals pitchers were hitting Mets batters at-will, and there were zero repercussions. Again, that led to López doing what he did, and it led to Cardinals first base coach Stubby Clapp attacking Alonso:
Buck Showalter and Yoan Lopez both got suspended for allegedly throwing at Kyle Schwarber—he was never hit.
Stubby Clapp got zero games for this.
— Michael Mayer (@mikemayer22) May 2, 2022
The Cardinales teamed up to grab Alonso from behind and drag him to the ground. Now, if Alonso was out there throwing haymakers, sure, go ahead. However, Alonso was in the mix but not doing anything more than the typical pushing and shoving. Despite that, Clapp singled out a player hit in the helmet a day before and attacked him.
Clapp wasn’t disciplined by Major League Baseball. The same goes for Cardinals manager Oliver Marmol. Now, Arenado and Genesis Cabrera were both suspended, but again, no one from the Cardinals coaching staff was disciplined. Again, that includes a coach who attacked a player.
Yes, López absolutely earned his suspension. This was the second time he threw at a player in retaliation. Like it or not, it’s worthy of a suspension. That said, if a coach doesn’t get fined or suspended for attacking a player, Major League Baseball is going to have to explain why Showalter was suspended and hours before a game against a division rival. Truth be told, there isn’t a justification.
Overall, the message is clear. Major League Baseball has no issue with pitchers throwing at Mets hitters, and they don’t have an issue with Mets players getting attacked. However, if the Mets dare try to stick up for themselves, there will be consequences.
We’ve seen this story time and again. It’s just something about those wretched Atlanta Braves uniforms. The New York Mets are going great, and then, it stops abruptly.
Seriously, the Mets had more bad luck and miscues than they had the previous 33 games combined.
You knew something was off in the first. Brandon Nimmo was on second with no outs. Francisco Lindor hit a ball center fielder Adam Duvall caught while pedaling backwards. Nimmo has a mind cramp not tagging and going for third, and he knew it almost immediately.
It’s notable neither player scored. You could argue they weren’t scoring anyway. That said, it just spoke to how the Mets were just slightly off.
It’s one of the reasons the Mets blew a lead and lost this game. The other was just bad luck.
Heading into the sixth, the Mets had a 2-1 lead. The first run came pure courtesy of Starling Marte‘s speed.
Marte hit a one out double against Braves starter Max Fried, and he advanced to third on a McNeil flyout. That put him in position to score on a wild pitch.
It’s noteworthy Travis d’Arnaud was under assault all night. Braves pitchers were very wild spiking a number of pitches in the dirt. All night, it seemed like Marte was the only one who took advantage.
That lead grew to 2-0 in the third when Mark Canha hit his first homer with the Mets:
— New York Mets (@Mets) May 3, 2022
In between innings, Chad Fairchild owned up to Chris Bassitt for missing a strike call on Dansby Swanson pic.twitter.com/yPWhnSgymx
— SNY (@SNYtv) May 3, 2022
What’s difficult to know is how much that blown strike call impacted the rest of the game. Bassitt had to expend energy facing two more batters he didn’t need to face.
Then again, Bassitt was not hit hard. Really, in the sixth, he was dinked and dunked to death.
There were runners on first and second with one out when d’Arnaud hit one a foot off the plate which dropped perfectly on the line for an RBI double tying the score.
Duvall hit a ball to medium right center. Nimmo had no momentum on the throw whereas Marte could’ve thereby allowing a better throw to home. That said, Pete Alonso made a good cut getting the last out at third.
It was 3-2 Braves, but this isn’t where they won the game. That would be the seventh. They had that chance partially because Nimmo absolutely robbed Ronald Acuna in the top of the inning.
— New York Mets (@Mets) May 3, 2022
After two quick outs, the Mets loaded the bases leading to the Braves going to Collin McHugh. Canha, the Mets best hitter with RISP, watched two go over the middle of the plate before striking out.
The Mets went to Trevor May, who had struggled all year. This was another example even if it was purely bad luck.
He issued a lead-off walk to Matt Olson, but he’d get two quick outs. Then, Ozzie Albies hit an infield single. May would then throw a pitch up and in on d’Arnaud. Somehow, d’Arnaud muscled it for a two RBI double.
This was another example of d’Arnaud being a Mets killer. Since that flat out dumb DFA, d’Arnaud has absolutely worn out the Mets.
Travis d'Arnaud is now 15-for-32 in his career against the Mets.
— Michael Mayer (@mikemayer22) May 3, 2022
d’Arnaud accounted for three of the five RBI against the Mets in the Braves 5-2 win. He did it hitting doubles on pitches he shouldn’t have even made contact.
The Mets chances to get a rally started in the ninth were ended before they got started. After Marte hit a one out single, Brian O’Nora made an atrocious check swing call on Jeff McNeil ringing him up.
That’s just the way it goes with the Mets and Braves. The Mets just find ways to lose their edge, and they suffer bad luck leading to them letting games slip through their fingers. Hopefully, these Mets don’t let history repeat itself.
Game Notes: Right before the game, Buck Showalter was advised he and Yoan Lopez were suspended for one game due to the ninth inning against the Philadelphia Phillies. After a four hit night, Dominic Smith did not start. With the left-handed pitcher, J.D. Davis started. He was 0-for-4 with two strikeouts.
The New York Mets traveled to St. Louis for another litmus test, and once again, they proved they’re this good. More than that, they proved they’re mentally tougher.
2. On that note, Alonso needs to start hitting for power again. These opposite field singles aren’t going to cut it.
3. Chris Bassitt basically said he dominated the Cardinals without being able to get a grip on the ball. He’s that good.
4. Miles Mikolas is an idiot. Bassitt threw his pitchers a life-line saying it was MLB’s fault the Cardinals hit his teammates, and Mikolas, who hit Mark Canha with a pitch, basically said, no, it’s not the ball. We’re going it on purpose, or we’re that incompetent.
5. Sooner or later, Canha has to get an extra base hit, and it has to be more than an attempt at a hustle double. With him coming out of games last for Travis Jankowski, he’s not good enough to be a glorified slap hitter.
6. Jankowski has proven himself to be a valuable contributor. He cannot be DFA’s May 1. That goes double when you consider how bad Robinson Cano has been.
7. That may not be an issue with J.D. Davis getting hit on the foot and having to get taken out of the game. The x-rays were negative, but if it’s a lingering issue, there will be an MRI and perhaps an IL stint.
8. Jacob deGrom‘s MRI was a mixed bag. On the one hand, he is healing, but it does not appear he is on schedule to return when we all hoped. Still, it’s progress, so we should take it.
9. Max Scherzer has been just as advertised. He’s out there pitching like an ace, and he’s as fierce a competitor as there is. He was in the dugout telling the Cardinals to shut up, and then he was the first one out of the dugout when the benches cleared.
10. Oliver Marmol is a fraud. His pitchers hit Mets batters in the head. Steven Matz threw one up at Brandon Nimmo‘s head. His team knocked Davis out of a game with an injury. He is then going to get up there and complain like the Mets have been throwing at his batters all series, and then he goes and defends Clapp.
11. Nimmo has been great to start the year as has Jeff McNeil. Those are two homegrown Mets who have been the Mets best players, and they are leading them to first place.
12. The Mets are withstanding slumps from Eduardo Escobar, Francisco Lindor, and Starling Marte to win games, and they are doing it against good teams like the Cardinals. That’s a very good sign for the season.
13. With respect to Marte and Scherzer, there is a real edge to this team. We see it in how the players stick up for one another, and we see it in moments like that comeback against Giovanny Gallegos. This is just a special team.
15. There is a lot Buck Showalter is getting wrong here. For example, batting Cano during that ninth inning was indefensibly bad. That said, the way he has handled the time share with James McCann and Tomas Nido has been a masterpiece. He’s starting to get the best out of both of them, and as a result, the Mets pitching staff.
17. There are some serious 1986 vibes with this Mets team. They are not just beating teams on the field, but they are also taking a mental edge. That is a very large reason why we see miscues like we did from Arenado and why Marmol was so bent out of shape.
18. it may be a golden rule not to make the last out of the inning at third, but you can give Luis Guillorme a pass trying to stretch a double to a triple because that throw from Dylan Carlson was the best you’ll ever see.
19. If you want an idea of how good the Mets are right now, the San Francisco Giants are the second best team in the majors with a 13-6 record. Half of their losses have come against the Mets.
20. The New York Yankees have been surprisingly good to start the year. Aaron Judge has been great, and he has a contract situation. Anthony Rizzo has been phenomenal. Gerrit Cole is struggling mightily. They’re in first place. Despite all of that, right now, they seem to be taking a back seat to the Mets. That is really the most shocking development of the year.
Over the course of a 162 game season, there are going to be games like this. Frankly, Carlos Carrasco just didn’t have it, and as a result the New York Mets just weren’t going to win.
With the Mets winning six straight series to open the season, we shouldn’t be dwelling too much on a game like this. That goes double with the Mets resting players in advance of a travel day.
Where the focus needs to be is how the Mets comport themselves and are rattling their opponents.
Nolan Arenado's reaction following the pitch from Yoan López: pic.twitter.com/7zCFzGh3pw
— SNY (@SNYtv) April 27, 2022
Pete Alonso was pulled to the ground by the Cardinals during the incident: pic.twitter.com/RtlmJRk7x1
— SNY (@SNYtv) April 27, 2022
That was done by the Cardinals first base coach Stubby Clapp, a coach whose name is reminiscent of what Jimmy Duggan advises young boys to avoid. Things might’ve gotten worse, but Albert Pujols stepped in and de-escalated the situation.
At this point, the Cardinals had hit five batters. That included hitting Alonso in the helmet. Then, they went after him in a scrum.
Chris Bassitt tried to throw the Cardinals pitchers a lifeline by blaming MLB. Instead, Miles Mikolas effectively called Bassitt a liar and said Bassitt needed to take responsibility for his own control issues. Again, this was in response to Bassitt trying to absolve Cardinals pitchers of throwing at his teammates.
After the game, Cardinals manager Oli Marmol not only whined after the non-HBP, but he went on to defend attacking someone from behind:
Oli Marmol said he had "no issue" with how Stubby Clapp tackled Pete Alonso during the benches-clearing incident
"I'm okay with it" pic.twitter.com/TWDhdjy8sJ
— SNY (@SNYtv) April 27, 2022
When Buck Showalter was asked about the same course of events, his reaction was markedly different. He noted how when Alonso was ACTUALLY HIT IN THE HEAD, he went to first base.
Does Buck Showalter think Nolan Arenado's reaction was out of line?
"I know our player got hit in the head and went to first base" pic.twitter.com/E8W0XhW1N0
— SNY (@SNYtv) April 27, 2022
This is where the Mets and Cardinals could not be more different. The Mets are angry they keep getting hit by pitches, but they’re channeling that anger towards beating you. So far, it’s not only worked, but it’s also galvanized the team.
With respect to the Cardinals, they couldn’t handle it. They threw with reckless abandon and kept hitting Mets batters.
When the Mets said, we get what’s happening here. It’s not your fault. The Cardinals response was to tell the Mets to take responsibility.
When the Mets three inside, the Cardinals freaked out and attacked Alonso from behind. Then, they went and pretended like all of their actions were justified.
In the end, the Mets are better than the Cardinals because they’re a better and more mature team. Every time you hit them, they get you back by winning. As for the Cardinals, well, they’re there to whine, complain, and point fingers.
The Mets took two of three, and they’ll have the mental edge when the Cardinals come visit Citi Field.