The biggest positive coming out of the sweep of the Washington Nationals for the New York Mets had to be the performance of the bullpen.
By David Hong
With their strong starting rotation and their much improved hitting, one of the biggest question surrounding the New York Mets lately has been their bullpen. Other than setup man Tyler Clippard and closer Jeurys Familia, everyone else in the bullpen was a concern.
But the Mets bullpen has come up huge in the first two games of this big Mets-Nats series.
After Niese was lifted in the fourth inning, with the Mets trailing 5-3, the Mets bullpen fired 5.2 scoreless innings in relief. This, despite their first reliever Carlos Torres leaving the game with a calf injury. Some of the guys who came up were Dario Alvarez making his major league debut against Bryce Harper. After falling behind 3-0 in the count, Alvarez bounced to strike out Harper to end the 6th inning. Then another rookie Hansel Robles, who’s had an up and down rookie stretch, may have had best outing so far this year. Had a perfect 7th and 8th inning, while striking our 4 batters during that stretch, before Familia came in the 9th to close it out, striking out the heart of the order in Rendon, Harper and the red hot Ryan Zimmerman.
Then on Tuesday after Matt Harvey gave up a career high 7 runs and lifted in the sixth inning, trailing 7-1, while the Mets bats went to work vs the Nats bullpen, the Mets bullpen did their job again. 3 2/3 scoreless innings of relief. Addison Reed and former Nats Tyler Clippard pitched a scoreless 7th and 8th inning respectively and each of them struck out two batters. Then in the 9th, after Familia put two runners on, got Escobar to ground into an game ending double play, to cap off the impressive 8-7 Mets comeback win.
Overall in the first two games, the Mets bullpen has thrown 9.1 shutout innings and the relief corps have been a huge part in the Mets taking the first two games in this all important series with their second place division rivals. As a result the Mets are now 6 games ahead in the NL East division leading standings.
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