The Mets ain't got time to bleed with Jake Diekman in high-leverage spots

The Mets don't have a lefty reliever they can trust in an already untrustworthy bullpen.
New York Mets v Washington Nationals
New York Mets v Washington Nationals / Jess Rapfogel/GettyImages
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And the award for the most frustrating New York Mets relief pitcher this year goes to…

The Mets were hoping for something much different out of Jake Diekman. A walk machine, it was a base on balls to CJ Abrams which first got him into trouble on Wednesday. A double. A single. The Mets lead was gone for good. All of this came with two outs in the seventh.

There are a lot of bad numbers for Diekman this year but maybe the most damning is pitching only 26.2 innings in 36 games. Far too regularly he’s gone before even recording a third out.

The biggest weakest within the Mets’ biggest weakness is the lack of a trustworthy lefty reliever

Dedniel Nunez is something special, but it’s a knock against Diekman to see Nunez already throw 26 innings. Hey, even Jorge Lopez who has been gone for more than a month logged 26.1.

The Mets have tried several lefty relievers this season. Josh Walker and Danny Young own identical 5.11 ERAs. Each looked good for a time. Reality set in.

Entrusting Diekman with such important moments wasn’t a part of the original plan. It’s Brooks Raley whom they continue to miss. Diekman was meant to be the lower-leverage southpaw. As things tend to go, the Mets were kicked in the teeth early on with Raley needing Tommy John surgery after only 7 innings.

The Mets have a couple of theoretical options before making a trade. The rotation currently includes three lefties, but there are problems there. Despite pitching from the left-side, Jose Quintana and Sean Manaea haven’t handled themselves well against them. Lefties are hitting .274 against Quintana and .277 versus Manaea. Even worse is the more likely candidate to move to the bullpen. David Peterson has a .313 batting average against him when a lefty is at the plate.

Among all Mets pitchers, Diekman actually owns one of the best batting averages against lefties at .140. Only Sean Reid-Foley, who should be joining the team again soon, at .133 is better. Jose Butto who recently rejoined the team as a reliever has held them to a .141 batting average. Could relying on them instead work?

The problem within the problem is how Diekman’s struggles aren’t about facing certain hitters necessarily. It’s finding the strike zone. Even righties are batting just .188 against him but 12 walks in 13.1 innings along with 3 home runs has been a death sentence.

Diekman isn’t giving the Mets too many options on how to best use him because of his inability to find the strike zone on a regular basis. When to use your only lefty in the bullpen shouldn’t be this complicated but it is.

The Mets don’t have time to bleed about his latest loss. An early bird game on Fourth of July to finalize their series against the Washington Nationals will need to happen before any solution arrives.

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