It was the best of times; it was the worst of times. Regular season baseball had come back to the world when the Mets bullpen hung Jacob deGrom out to dry in their first relief opportunity of the season.
Then sloppy defense delivered the final blow.
In the bottom of the eighth of the Mets rescheduled Opening Day, the bullpen’s meltdown in Philadelphia marked the thirty-third time in the two-time Cy Award winner’s career that the Mets pen had cost him a win in a game he left with a lead.
While the Mets may look very different on paper from past seasons, their Opening Series performance highlighted that the same issues continue to haunt this franchise.
Collectively, they played very sloppy baseball: 4 errors, a 5.14 ERA from the seventh inning on, and questionable managerial decisions from the get-go.
deGrom struck out his final nine batters while going 2-for-2 with an RBI single before being pulled by manager Luis Rojas, and exiting with a pitching line of 6.0 IP, 3 H, 0 ER, 2 BB, and 7 Ks. Then the bullpen imploded with new-Mets relievers, Trevor May and Aaron Loup, giving away the lead before an uncharacteristic throwing error by INF Luis Guillorme cost them the game.
The bullpen’s ineffectiveness continued throughout the rest of the series with relievers Miguel Castro, Dellin Betances, Jeurys Familia, Jacob Barnes, and Joey Lucchesi adding to a horrendous combined pitching line of 9.0 IP, 13 H, 10 R, 7 ER, 3 BB, and 11 Ks.
Fortunately, with news that Seth Lugo is ahead of his rehab, perhaps he can begin the process of curing the Mets bullpen woes.
Conversely, the team’s manager has already made several questionable decisions this season. One of which included starting Kevin Pillar in center field on Opening Day, pushing Brandon Nimmo to left field and leaving slugger Dom Smith on the bench. Later in the first game, he then refrained from pinch-hitting Smith with the bases loaded in the fourth inning and the team up by two, only to watch Pillar hit into an inning-ending double play.
Hopefully, lessons were learned, and no one will question why Brandon Nimmo must leadoff every game, Dominic Smith must be in the lineup, and that the bullpen needs better management.
The rest is on the Mets lineup to improve. The team’s hitting with RISP in their first three games back in action was atrocious, leaving a total 14 men on base and finishing 1-for-12 with runners in scoring position.
At the end of the day, they own the blame for their bats being cold.