The best part of the 2021 New York Mets has been the trio of Jacob deGrom, Marcus Stroman, and Taijuan Walker. All three starters have more than made up for the poor performances from the other two spots in the rotation. All three are pitching lights out nearly every game they step on the mound.
The second best part of the Mets isn’t what one might expect. On a team with a struggling and inconsistent offense, expectedly below-average defense, and few unexpected stars, it’s the bullpen I want to tip my cap to. They have earned the early season silver medal.
The Mets bullpen still has something to prove but I’m beginning to feel confident in them
I look at the numbers from the relievers this year and can’t help but wonder when it will all fall apart. Yet, each time I do, many of the ERAs go down.
The core of the bullpen has Edwin Diaz as the closer and setup work from Miguel Castro, Trevor May, and Aaron Loup. All have done their job. Diaz’s worst outings have been the ones where a save wasn’t on the line. I dismiss these. When the Mets have needed him most, Diaz has been awesome.
Then there are the other relievers to consider. Robert Gsellman has been exactly what the team needed from a long-man and Jeurys Familia has found a niche as a guy who can actually get big outs, whether they’re trailing or not. Just as soon as I think it’s time to start believing in Familia, he inches closer to the center of the circle of trust.
Even without Seth Lugo, the bullpen has been reliable. Through the first 29 games, they only have a pair of losses on the record book. Many of the early season losses have fallen on the starting pitching performance or a lack of run support—more often the latter.
The difference this year has been how deep the bullpen is. If Diaz, Castro, May, and Loup are the lone pitchers getting the job done, the Mets are in trouble the day after each steps on the mound. This hasn’t been the case. Unexpected important innings from a guy like Sean Reid-Foley have mattered. This has separated them from having two groups of relievers: those we trust and those we do not.
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Right now, there are a lot of bullpen arms we do trust. When the starter exits, it’s not the time to hold our breath. Instead, there’s the eerie sense of confidence we haven’t had in a long time.