If I had to pick out the strengths of this New York Mets, I would have to go with their starting pitching, followed by their bullpen and then their defense. The Mets’ bullpen has been on point for a good portion of the season; it went from being one of the team’s glaring weaknesses to a strength in a matter of months. On the season the Mets currently have the fourth-best bullpen ERA in the National League at 3.13.
Despite their success, the Mets need to give the bullpen some sort of breathing room. I don’t care how good a bullpen is, it is tough on any pitcher to come into a one or two run game virtually every night. That is exactly the way it seems of late, and we have seen games lost over the past week because the bullpen couldn’t hold it down. In the series finale against the San Francisco Giants, the Mets lost 4-3 and Jenrry Mejia and Jeurys Familia struggled. Yesterday afternoon saw Carlos Torres give up a walk-off two run home run to Washington Nationals‘ Bryce Harper.
All three of those guys along with Vic Black, Josh Edgin, Dana Eveland, Daisuke Matsuzaka and Buddy Carlyle have done fantastic jobs out of the pen this season at one point or another. My point is you can’t expect these guys to be perfect every night; off-nights are going to happen, and the offense needs to pick up the bullpen. Yesterday was a great example of that. The game ended in the 13th inning, but prior to that the Mets’ bullpen threw six consecutive scoreless innings.
The offense was just nowhere to be found yet again, and that has been the problem all season long. The Mets need to stop relying on the pen every single night, the bats need to get going and they need to score more than just two or three runs.
The Mets have finally gotten the pitching that is needed to compete night in and night out; whether it comes from their starting rotation or bullpen, the pitching is there on all ends. The bats have to support the solid pitching, because what good is it if you lose a game 2-1? Yes, the pitching was solid and only gave up two runs, but at the end of the day you still lost the game.
Another thing I’m afraid is going to happen with this bullpen is that the guys who have been the biggest contributors are going to get taxed. Familia has made 55 appearances, Torres has made 50 and Mejia has made 41 which includes seven starts. Those are some big numbers, especially when there are almost two full months left to play.
The last thing I want to see is any of these guys run out of gas or even worse get injured. If that were to happen it would just be horrible because each guy in this bullpen — especially the young arms in Mejia, Familia, Black and Edgin — has made great strides over this year. You just have to hope that the Mets can finally start hitting, but honestly it doesn’t look like that is going to happen anytime soon.
It’s tough to score runs when only two guys on the entire team are hitting, those two being Daniel Murphy and Lucas Duda. Everyone else on this team has gone ice cold, and it has shown with the lack of run support. The bullpen has been fantastic, and I hope it stays that way, but they can’t expect them to be lights out every time out. Off days do happen, and that is when the offense needs to bail them out.
Whether the Mets score runs or not, it is great to see that they finally have a bullpen they can run out there and be consistent. That has not happened in a long time for this team, and it is something they need to appreciate because bullpens are the hardest things to come by in baseball.