How the Mets used their bullpen on Opening Day could hint at a plan for Adam Ottavino

Mar 2, 2023; Port St. Lucie, Florida, USA; New York Mets relief pitcher Adam Ottavino (0) prior to a
Mar 2, 2023; Port St. Lucie, Florida, USA; New York Mets relief pitcher Adam Ottavino (0) prior to a / Rich Storry-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Mets went from Max Scherzer to Drew Smith to Brooks Raley to David Robertson on Opening Day. It wasn’t a big surprise. The main guy missing was Adam Ottavino.

Ottavino spent last year working primarily as the setup man for the Mets in front of Edwin Diaz. He excelled. It’s what he was going to do this year except now that Diaz is out for the season, the Mets may have answered the original question we had: how exactly would they use ex-closer Robertson?

Robertson is the easy choice to close games for the Mets because of his experience. Ottavino didn’t get the ball in the eighth to open the season. What gives? It was a perfect opportunity. What’s Buck Showalter cooking up?

The Mets could have plans to separate Adam Ottavino from David Robertson as much as possible

Eight games to begin the season without an off-day is a lot. The first seven are all on the road before the Citi Field opener next Thursday. It’s a lot of wear and tear on the already battered bullpen. Running Robertson out there for every save opportunity could get him unnecessarily exhausted too soon in the year.

At least to begin the season, separating Ottavino and Robertson may be something the Mets will try to do. If Raley ran into trouble in his Mets debut, Ottavino may have been summoned even if this was a part of the club’s strategy to survive without Diaz. He didn’t and the Mets now have a completely fresh back-of-the-bullpen arm for game two.

This doesn’t mean that throughout the first week of the season we won’t see Ottavino and Robertson back-to-back. On Friday’s game, I’d guess both would be available as long as nobody slept funny or is hiding an injury. Pitching on back-to-back nights is not ideal for Robertson. I’m sure Showalter would like to avoid it as much as possible. Ottavino is one of the top candidates to save games for the Mets this year. Having him on a different schedule than Robertson will ensure the team always has at least one of these veterans armed and ready.

Over a longer period of time, not having to put either pitcher on the mound for three consecutive games is more important. The Mets showed their cards early. To no one’s surprise, Smith and Raley are late-inning options. If they can get at least one other pitcher whether it’s Tommy Hunter or John Curtiss into the circle of trust as well, managing the bullpen may become a lot easier.

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