The New York Mets bullpen has been brilliant this season. You name a reliever that has stepped on the mound for them and chances are he has lived up to or exceeded expectations.
Through some starting pitching woes, the bullpen has helped hold it all together. Luis Rojas has been able to turn to Miguel Castro, Aaron Loup, Trevor May, and even Jeurys Familia for huge innings. Edwin Diaz is looking like the dominant pitcher he was during his time with the Seattle Mariners. All is well with the bullpen and the team even has Seth Lugo back.
Following the Mets as closely as we do, there’s no chance we’re celebrating yet. We know better than to relax on this bullpen. And this is precisely what leads me to a major concern I would like to confess.
I can’t be the only one worried the Mets relievers are going to get run into the ground
MLB starters go fewer and fewer innings each year. The Mets are no exception. Their starting pitchers, even the brilliant ones, rarely go up to 100 pitches. This means more innings for the bullpen and more taxation on their shoulders, elbows, and ligaments we abbreviate because they are too hard to spell and pronounce.
The Mets bullpen has been relatively healthy this year sans Lugo’s spring training injury. Luis Rojas has had no hesitation to turn to them for the final outs of games. If they were anything like past Mets bullpens, this team would be a few games under .500.
Fortunately, a few new faces and some familiar ones have gotten the job done. Pitching as often as they have, I’m terribly scared an injury is one pitch away.
Because the main Mets relievers have been able to stay off the IL, I get the feeling we’re bound to see someone go down for a lengthy period of time.
Fortunately, the Mets do have some bullets in the chamber they can turn to
If my self-fulfilling prophecy does come true, the Mets do have a few places to turn. Sean Reid-Foley was brilliant during his brief time with the club. The team could always decide to give a “bullpen promotion” to guys like Drew Smith or even Robert Gsellman for some more vital innings.
The approaching trade deadline also can provide some relief (laughs hysterically to himself at the pun) with the availability of multiple bullpen arms on the market. The two worst times to suffer an injury are at the beginning of the year and the end. At those two points, you can regret not doing enough in the offseason or at the trade deadline. Right now, the Mets have time to figure things out and give others an opportunity to shine.
Paranoid? A little bit. The Mets have overachieved this year when we consider how beaten up they are. Yet somehow, they have managed to win a lot of ball games.
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The relievers aren’t key to this club’s success despite their importance. I say this now, full well knowing the moment we lose a single guy for any significant portion of time, my thoughts may change.