Mets settle for series split with Braves, and a need for creativity in the bullpen
The Mets allowed seven runs in the sixth inning in their loss to Atlanta on Wednesday
What’s Up with the Mets? ⚾️
The Mets got blown out by the Braves Wednesday afternoon by a score of 9-2 at Citi Field (Box)
The Mets streak of seven consecutive series wins to open the season ended at seven
Tylor Megill was spotless into the fifth inning and ran his hitless streak to nine innings when Braves OF Adam Duvall singled to end the streak. He ended up allowing three runs over five innings in the loss, although he struck out a season-high nine batters
According to the Elias Sports Bureau, the nine consecutive hitless innings by Megill are tied for the fifth most by a Mets pitcher, the longer streaks as follows:
R.A. Dickey (12.0 IP, 6/13-6/18/2012)
Jack Hamilton (11.0 IP, 5/4- 5/8/66)
David Cone (10.0 IP, 6/13-6/19/88)
Johan Santana (10.0 IP, 6/1-6/8/2012)
Brandon Nimmo extended his on-base streak to 17 games, the fourth longest active streak in MLB
RHP Trevor May (stress reaction in humerus) is expected to miss 2-3 months
The Mets are 9-5 against NL East opponents so far in 2022
Pete Alonso has reached base in seven of his last eight games, recorded three extra-base hits, five RBI and has posted am .853 OPS during that span
Despite his 0-for-3 on Wednesday, Jeff McNeil is hitting .378 over his last 13 games played
Luis Guillorme is 9-for-30 with three doubles and a home run in his last nine games
Today’s Game 🗓
Match-up: Mets (18-9) at Phillies (11-15)
Where: Citizens Bank Park - Philadelphia, PA
Starters: RHP Taijuan Walker (0-0, 0.00 ERA) vs. RHP Aaron Nola (1-3, 3.90 ERA)
When: 6:45 PM EDT
With Trevor May out long-term, creativity is paramount for the bullpen 📝
Needless to say, Wednesday wasn’t the best day on the baseball calendar for the Mets.
Before the game, the Mets announced Trevor May - a key, depended-upon cog in their bullpen - had a stress reaction in the humerus in his right arm, and May said after the game he could miss up to three months.
Then came the game itself, which started off well with Tylor Megill looking like Tylor Megill as he extended his hitless streak to nine innings into the fifth inning.
But, the fifth inning didn’t go too well for Megill or anyone who was given a baseball to throw in the frame.
Megill’s hitless streak ended with a hit to Adam Duvall, as did the game in large measure. He ended up departing with the bases loaded in a scoreless game in the fifth, with Mets manager Buck Showalter assigning the tall task of getting out of this jam to Adam Ottavino, who had worked the previous two days.
This is when things got ugly for the Mets.
Ottavino allowed all three inherited runs to score and allowed three runs of his own to score before giving way to Trevor Williams, who didn’t fare much better in his outing although he did provide the Mets necessary length, bridging the rest of the bullpen to the end of this rout against their division rival.
“I felt good and I like to pitch a lot,” Ottavino explained. “I have good numbers pitching a third day in a row, so really it’s immaterial to me.”
In between, the Mets didn’t hit a lick, leaving nine runners on base while going 2-for-8 with runners in scoring position. Pete Alonso did double in the fourth, as did Eduardo Escobar in the ninth, and Luis Guillorme continued his encouraging start to the season with a ninth inning home run off of former Met Darren O’Day, but it was all for naught as the Mets had to settle for a series split in an ugly loss against a primary division rival.
To be fair, the Braves played awfully tough in this series, and nearly every break went their way between the officiating and some timely defense to keep runs off the board (including an unreal catch by former Met Guillermo Heredia to rob Jeff McNeil of a home run in the second inning yesterday). Yet the Mets still managed to get two games out of this despite that adversity and that is certainly representative of the character and fight in this ball club. The Braves will not be under .500 for very long - that was the toughest series the Mets have played to-date, the Braves record not withstanding.
“We’ll take the two wins against a very good team and move on to another very good team in Philly,” Mets manager Buck Showalter said afterwards.
Turning to the bullpen, it’s been said repeatedly this is the weakest link on the roster, and that is with everyone being healthy and properly used. They needed one more reliable piece down there anyway.
Unquestionably, Seth Lugo, Drew Smith and Edwin Díaz have been excellent on the back end of the bullpen overall, but with May now out for the foreseeable future (and otherwise ineffective to-date), the middle innings for the Mets maybe more problematic for them. They have two specialty relievers in Chasen Shreve and Joely Rodriguez who really shouldn’t be used in multiple innings very often. The load fell on Ottavino for a third straight day yesterday (which again, didn’t go well) and it may continue to fall on him until the Mets find another dependable bridge to the eighth and ninth innings.
And, it isn’t exactly trade season, either.
But knowing May is going to be out for a while, Mets GM Billy Eppler may have to get a little creative in finding some additional relief and buy time to the trade deadline, if only to spread the butter a little more even in the bullpen and balance the innings out so to not burn the likes of Ottavino or Smith out.
Until that happens though, Smith will likely get more high-leverage opportunities, all of which are well deserved given his performance in the early part of the season. It’s an opportunity for him to step up even more than he already has and establish himself as an elite reliever in the league.
“You can tell he is walking a little taller right now,” Seth Lugo said of Smith, according to the New York Post.
It’s also a chance for the next man up in the bullpen, today’s contestant being Adonis Medina who has modest big league experience over three years. Maybe they’ll consider taking a look at Colin Holderman who is off to a strong start with Triple-A Syracuse and impressed during spring training.
But it’s never good when the weakest link on the roster weakens further. This is where Eppler’s creativity and acumen will be tested as he has to quickly pivot to find a solution, whether it comes from the outside or from within.
Down on the Farm 🌾
Alex Ramirez: (SS, No. 6 prospect - St. Lucie): .372/.413/.547, 8 2B, 2 3B, 1 HR, 10 RBI
José Chacin: (RHP - Binghmaton/Brooklyn): 24.2 IP, 5 ER, 18 H, 25 K, 4 BB
Colin Holderman: (RHP - Syracuse): 8.1 IP, 4 H, 6 K, 3 BB, 2 Saves
Around the League 🚩
The Yankees 11-game winning streak ended with a 2-1 loss to the Blue Jays
The Dodgers swept the Giants in their three-game series at Dodger Stadium
RHP Mike Clevinger made his long-awaited return from Tommy John Surgery by throwing 4.2 IP for the Padres against the Guardians on Wednesday