The Mets bullpen has been in disarray for much too long, and it was understood that the organization would have to work on bolstering it during the offseason. Now, looking at the members of the Mets’ bullpen, one has to be impressed.
They have one of the best relievers of the past few years in Jeurys Familia, the best closer of 2018 in Edwin Diaz, and the impressive and much-improved Seth Lugo. The players comprising the pen are effective and talented, so it all comes down to management.
Mets’ skipper Mickey Callaway has already made some questionable decisions when it comes to dispatching who, and when. On Wednesday, Callaway decided to bring Lugo in to relieve Robert Gsellman. Lugo had an atrocious outing on Saturday, during which he allowed four runs and two walks, and hit a batter while throwing a whopping 41 pitches.
Lugo had been sick, and Callaway was aware of this. Callaway put him in any way and Lugo was abysmal again. He allowed three runs and threw 37 pitches. Not only was the result of this outing unfortunate, but this also practically eliminates the chances of us seeing him again this week.
Callaway also managed the bullpen quite poorly on Wednesday. Luis Avilan came on in relief of Jacob deGrom in the eighth inning and did a solid job. But there was no reason for him to come out and pitch the ninth.
Callaway kept him in, anyway, and the results weren’t great. He didn’t notch a single out and allowed three runs. Just using Avilan in the eighth and starting the ninth fresh with Gsellman should have been the way to go.
Not only did Gsellman come in with men on base but he, too, could not get the job done, and Callaway was forced to hand the ball over to Diaz, as it had turned into a save situation. Of course, Diaz ended the game almost immediately, but things became very ugly, very quickly for the Mets in the ninth inning and Diaz should not have had to been used, at all.
Callaway needs to realize, sooner rather than later, that he cannot and should not stretch relievers. Callaway was not appointed by the newly-hired Mets General Manager Brodie van Waganen. As most of us are aware, General Managers are not particularly tolerant of managers whom they did not personally hire, so Callaway is on a short leash.
If his mismanagement of the bullpen continues and ends up costing the team games, Van Wagenen will not hesitate to replace him.
It seems as though the only reliever who has been of semi-serious concern so far is Justin Wilson. He has not looked entirely comfortable on the mound and has given up more than an optimal number of hits. Even when he doesn’t give up hits, many of his outs have come in the form of very deep fly balls, which is never a good sign. Let’s just hope those don’t end up turning into home runs.
Mets fans should get ready to be spoiled by good pitching and good hitting. However, we mustn’t forget that the Mets are historically quite good at the beginning of the season. They are 38-12 in their last 50 Opening Days, which stands for the best record in all four major sports for opening games in the last 50 years. But, alas, the team has nothing to show for it.
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Let’s hope this is the year where everything changes and the Mets stay hot until the very end.