The New York Mets bullpen has been a weakness for a large portion of the season. Fortunately, Seth Lugo’s return from the IL will help give them a trusted arm they can turn to.
The New York Mets wasted no time in getting Seth Lugo back into a game upon his return this weekend. On Friday night, Lugo was summoned to pitch the eighth inning after the Mets had taken a 5-4 lead versus the Arizona Diamondbacks. His inning wasn’t clean, but he got the job done to set up Robert Gsellman for the save.
The band is back together. The bullpen looks smoother. The green rookies and sophomores can wait to pitch again in games where the Mets have a greater lead or are ready to wave a white flag.
We saw just how bad this bullpen is without Lugo in it. Mickey Callaway turned to guys like Tyler Bashlor and Daniel Zamora for big outs. Unfortunately, it was those less-pressurized ones where they were getting the majority of their outs. These big ones were often too hard to handle.
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Though Lugo had a poor start to the season, he managed to right the shape for a full month before landing on the injured list. After a bad outing on April 19 where he did actually earn the victory, Lugo spent few weeks keeping runs off the board. It wasn’t until his final appearance on May 19 where he did allow another run.
With an ERA at 3.00 on the year through 27 innings, Lugo is the squad’s leader at preventing runs. This was a strength of his last year when he completed 101.1 innings and dazzled us with an impressive 2.66 ERA. Compared to the 4.71 ERA he had a year prior in exactly the same number of frames, it was clear he was heading in the right direction.
To make room for Lugo, the Mets demoted Zamora to Triple-A Syracuse. His limitations as a perceived left-handed specialist made his time with the big league club a monetary one.
The narrative of “who can Callaway call upon?” is now gone with Lugo’s return. It has been a tough few weeks finding reasons to trust these relievers.
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Lugo won’t pitch every night so these guys need to do better, too. However, in those big spots where the team desperately needs an out, I think it’s Lugo we all want to see get his chance. Over the past two seasons, no relief pitcher has done it better.