Injuries to the New York Mets starting pitchers and their “familiar” closer have increased the workload of their bullpen. Their response has been far from satisfactory. Have we been expecting too much?
After undergoing surgery in May to rid an arterial embolism in his right shoulder, Mets closer Jeurys Familia isn’t projected to return to the team until mid-August. While fill-in Addison Reed has done a fabulous job in Familia’s absence, the majority of New York’s bullpen has been underwhelming at best.
Throughout the 2017 MLB season, New York’s limited success has been the result of either incredible starting pitching or offensive outbursts.
If there’s one thing we know for sure, it’s that the bullpen has rarely been able to play a role in New York’s wins this season, and because of that, the starters aren’t able to even lay an egg, something Steven Matz did yesterday.
After Matz exited Sunday’s contest with seven earned runs in one inning of work, New York’s bullpen continued to allow runs. Aside from two shutout innings from Erik Goeddel, the next three relievers, Fernando Salas, Chase Bradford, and Neil Ramirez all allowed two earned runs each.
For the season, that trio’s combined ERA is an ugly 6.68.
Following two blowout wins over the Colorado Rockies, New York’s bullpen has once again reassured their fans and the Majors that their second-half will most likely continue to be inconsistent and a repeat of the first half of the season.
The starting pitchers have at times provided the bullpen with comfortable leads only to see the leads consistently blown. The bullpen has given New York’s loyal fans absolutely nothing to be optimistic about.
Take a game against Milwaukee on May 14 for example.
Jacob deGrom left the game with a 6-3 lead that would soon be blown by the bullpen. Jerry Blevins, Salas, Josh Edgin and Reed combined to allow seven runs, and the Mets lost 11-9.
Reed is the only Met reliever that has pitched a minimum of one inning that boasts an ERA under 3.00.
New York’s starters have the added pressure on their shoulders of carrying a lead deeper into the game because any lead they hand over to their relievers has not proven to be safe.
Yesterday, New York’s NL East rivals, the Washington Nationals, upgraded their bullpen drastically by acquiring left-handed pitcher Sean Doolittle, and right-handed pitcher Ryan Madson.
Is this the answer for the New York Mets?
Sandy Alderson has not made a move to bolster his bullpen. Tinkering with your bullpen midseason usually means spending money or overpaying for players whose usefulness is usually short-lived at best.
If the Mets were serious about competing in the second half, they would have made some moves by now.
Throwing money at the bullpen usually yields less value versus spending money on starting pitchers and position players, and that is probably Alderson’s thinking.
The bullpen is set at the beginning of the year and you roll the dice and hope for the best. Injuries have been all too “familiar” a story this year, it’s the greatest impact has been felt by the Mets bullpen.
Don’t expect a turnaround to start in the bullpen in the second half of the season.