A fantastic outing from veteran Jose Valverde notwithstanding, the New York Mets‘ bullpen was utterly pathetic on opening day. It was the catalyst in the Mets failing to close out the game despite a pair of home runs from unlikely sources and a solid performance from starter Dillon Gee.
Three different Mets relief pitchers walked the first batter they faced. One pitcher doing that would have been disconcerting, but to have three pitchers do so is unacceptable. Even worse, both Carlos Torres and Scott Rice walked their first and only batter on four pitches, doing so against back-to-back hitters with the Mets leading late in the game right after Gee left following a stellar performance.
At one point, Mets’ closer Bobby Parnell was one strike away from ending the game, but he failed to close the door, hurt in part by allowing a walk. Perhaps most troubling about Parnell’s outing was his velocity. The first pitch he threw was just 89 mph, a pitch that put the tying run on base. Parnell eventually increased his velocity, but despite a solid spring, it’s clear that he is not completely healthy after offseason surgery for a herniated disk, which could be a concern for the Mets if Parnell can’t be in the low to mid 90s every time out.
The late-inning meltdown on opening day shines a light on one of the Mets’ biggest question marks this season. Parnell’s health and velocity is obviously an issue but not necessarily something the Mets can control. However, the control issues of several of the Mets’ relievers that doomed the team on opening day is something that can improve, and something that needs to improve in short order, because the performance of the bullpen on opening day was abysmal and the reason for the Mets’ loss.