Mets blow a late Father's Day lead, underscoring the need for fortification in their bullpen
Seth Lugo allowed a seventh inning grand slam to Marlins rookie Jerar Encarnación
What’s Up with the Mets? ⚾
The Mets fell to the Marlins Sunday 6-2, ending their three-game winning streak (Box)
RHP Chris Bassitt deserved better - He exited in the seventh inning having not having allowed any runs, but RHP Seth Lugo entered the game with the bases loaded and one out and allowed a grand slam
RHP Tommy Hunter made his season debut for the Mets and gave up one unearned run after making his way back from major back surgery
2B Jeff McNeil went 1-for-2 at the plate which extended his hit streak to seven games
SS Francisco Lindor went 1-for-4 with a RBI to give him a more modest four-game hit streak
RHP Max Scherzer (strained oblique) could return as early as Sunday in Miami
Who’s Hot 🔥
Jeff McNeil is raging hot - he has a seven-game hitting streak and is hitting.455/.556/.682 during that span
Francisco Lindor has seven RBI during his current four-game hitting streak
Today’s Game 🗓
Match-up: Mets (44-24) vs Marlins (29-35)
Where: Citi Field — Flushing, NY
Starters: LHP David Peterson (3-1, 3.60 ERA) vs LHP Trevor Rogers (3-5, 5.87 ERA)
When: 1:10 PM EDT
Where to Watch: SNY
The Mets should look for bullpen help at the trade deadline, if not sooner 📝
The Mets loss to the Marlins on Sunday afternoon was frustrating on multiple levels. They were within striking distance of defeating Marlins ace RHP Sandy Alcántara - who entered play with a 1.68 ERA on the year - but the club let this big opportunity slip through their fingers literally with one swing of the bat.
Heading into the seventh inning with a slim 2-1 lead, RHP Chris Bassitt - who had extended his season-long scoreless streak to 14 games with a magnificent effort - left with the bases loaded, which gave way to RHP Seth Lugo, who immediately allowed a grand slam to Marlins rookie Jerar Encarnación, putting the Mets in a 4-2 hole and deflating an otherwise glorious afternoon at Citi Field.
Lugo will deservedly wear much of the blame for the outcome of this game since he gave up the go-ahead grand slam to a rookie making his major league debut. But the blame is multi-pronged - Mets manager Buck Showalter probably asked too much of Bassitt who threw 109 pitches over his 6.2 IP, forcing Lugo and the Mets into a precarious bases loaded situation.
Even so, Lugo couldn’t induce the groundball he needed and instead left a poorly executed fastball in the middle of the plate - he paid a big price for that mistake, to say the least.
Now, a loss to the Marlins in June certainly happens. Bad days for relievers come and go, and of course for the Mets it usually happens in annoying fashion. But overall, it is just one game out of 162 and even the best bullpens in the league blow leads on occasion. And they still have an opportunity to win a series they should win today.
But when looking at this bullpen from 30,000 feet in the air, one has to wonder in a playoff, must-win situation, who can be trusted to get the club out of that same situation Lugo failed to deliver in? Is it Lugo? Drew Smith? Chasen Shreve? Adam Ottovino? Trevor May? Is it any of them?
Other than Edwin Díaz, the Mets don’t really have a money, swing-and-miss arm they can have a high degree of confidence in to get the Mets out of a game-deciding, late-inning jam. And the way the Mets lost on Sunday underscores the need for the Mets to strengthen their posture in the bullpen.
It’s as simple as that.
Sure, the bullpen ERA currently is a respectable 3.70 which is good for fifth in the league. But to get through clubs like the Braves, Dodgers, Brewers, and Padres - all of which have statistically better bullpens than the Mets - they’re going to need to find at least one more stopper to shorten these games. To be fair, the Mets bullpen was the key issue on the roster when the Mets broke camp in early April. Their inconsistencies down there over the first 68 games are representative of that very concern.
The problem for this team will be where will the help might come from.
With expanded playoffs, no August trade waiver deals available, and all contenders more or less looking for the same thing, fewer teams might be in a position to trade away valuable postseason commodities, thereby creating a smaller supply with increased demand and inflating prices in trade in the process. So, might they be willing to part with someone like Brett Baty, Ronny Mauricio or Mark Vientos with perhaps Dominic Smith or JD Davis to get that relief help? Prices at the deadline in 2021 were very high, and that was before the expanded playoff scenario was implemented.
Now, the Mets bullpen will soon be fortified organically by the forthcoming return of Max Scherzer, although they lost Tylor Megill recently to another medium to long-term injury. But Scherzer should be able to eventually give the Mets more length inside the rotation which will better protect the inconsistencies in the Mets bullpen. And when or if Jacob deGrom returns and is finally ramped up - whenever that is - he will help in the same regard. One might argue the Mets should also pursue another innings-eating starting pitcher/swing man to help mitigate risk in the rotation and better protect the bullpen, but this strategy wouldn’t necessarily get the Mets that swing-and-miss arm they sorely need down there.
Bargains certainly can be found, like the one they identified in Addison Reed in 2015, but the Mets cannot count on a bargain when their bullpen is so shaky. Rather, they need a bonafide setup man who is playoff tested they know they can count on, even if it comes in the form of a rental.
Down on the Farm 🌾
Francisco Álvarez (C, No. 1 prospect, Double-A): 1-for-5, HR, 3 RBIs,
Johneshwy Fargas (CF, Triple-A): 2-for-4, HR, 2 RBIs
Ronny Mauricio (SS, No. 3 prospect, Double-A): 1-for-4, BB, SB
Around the League 🚩
Padres 3B Manny Machado suffered an ankle sprain when he landed awkwardly at first base
Pirates RF Jack Suwinski had an historic day when he hit three home runs against the Giants including a walk-off, becoming the first rookie in MLB history to accomplish that feat
Marlins’ RF Jerar Encarnacion had a memorable debut by hitting a grand slam and recording an outfield assist
The Blue Jays rallied from five runs down to defeat the Yankees and end their nine-game win streak
Angels OF Mike Trout powered the Angels to a win over the Mariners capping a series in which he hit four game winning home runs