Mets take series from D-Backs, the starting pitching keeps rolling, and a tale of two bullpens
The club’s starting pitching is off to the best ten-game start since the advent of the earned run in 1913
What’s Up with the Mets? ⚾️
The Mets defeated the Diamondbacks by a score of 5-0 to take the rubber game of their three-game series against the Snakes (box)
Mets starting pitching had another strong outing, this time by David Peterson - he hurled 4 1/3 IP scoreless to earn the win
Pete Alonso hit his third home run of the season - all three of his home runs and 11 of his league-leading 14 RBI have come as a designated hitter
The starting staff holds a 1.07 ERA through the first ten games of the season, the best ten-game start since the advent of the earned run in 1913 (Sportsradar)
Mets starting pitching has allowed one or no runs in eight straight games. That is tied for the longest streak in team history (Elias Sports Bureau)
Taijuan Walker (shoulder bursitis) will likely head to Port St. Lucie and pitch in an extended spring training game, followed by a brief major league rehab assignment
The Mets renamed the press box to honor longtime PR executive Jay Horwitz on Sunday (Mets.com)
David Peterson did not give up a run in a little over four innings of work against the Diamondbacks. He hasn’t given up a run in his two appearances this season as he fills in for Taijuan Walker.
Francisco Lindor picked up another hit and a walk after his big day in the home opener. Over the past seven days he is hitting .292/.433/.708 with three home runs, six RBIs and two stolen bases.
Drew Smith pitched a scoreless eighth inning on Sunday with a strikeout and has yet to give up a run in his five appearances so far this season.
A tale of two bullpens📝
It was the best of times, it was the worst of times. The starting pitching has been outstanding so far this season despite being down two of its arms, but the bullpen decidedly less so.
On Sunday, however, the bullpen was outstanding. They helped contribute to the shutout of the Diamondbacks with the combination of Trevor Williams, Chasen Shreve, Drew Smith, and Edwin Díaz, with Shreve and Smith having been pleasant surprises in limited appearances so far this season.
Smith - who has always shown promise despite dealing with a number of injuries throughout his career - is sporting a cool 0.00 ERA in five appearances out of the gate with seven strikeouts and a WHIP of 0.71.
Chasen Shreve was brought in on a minor league deal to give the team a left-handed arm before the team traded for Joely Rodríguez. Shreve’s ERA is currently 1.69 in just over five innings pitched. He has struck out seven and his WHIP is a miniscule 0.38. Obviously the sample sizes on both him and Smith are small but they have brought a teeny bit of stability to an otherwise volatile bullpen.
Díaz has been Díaz so far this season, and his slider has more movement on it as well to start the year. The team felt his absence when he unfortunately had to go on the bereavement list after the death of his grandfather, and Buck Showalter had to reshuffle the deck and put pressure on the bullpen while the starting staff was ramping up their innings and pitch counts. To make matters worse, they were briefly without Trevor May due to a minor triceps injury he sustained in Philadelphia.
Those absences didn’t go unnoticed, either.
Despite these standout performances, a legitimate argument could be made that the Mets three losses can be attributed to the bullpen, with two of those losses coming while on or both of Díaz and May were absent. Seth Lugo and Joely Rodríguez have been downright disappointing so far. Lugo is sporting an unsightly 8.31 ERA which is concerning after his subpar season last year. His WHIP is 1.85 thanks to a lack of command of his breaking pitches and not where it needs to be for a late-inning reliever.
An argument can be made Smith deserves more meaningful opportunities late in games, perhaps at the expense of Lugo right now.
Rodríguez’s numbers are even worse. His ERA currently sits at 13.50 with a WHIP of 1.50. Granted, he has been forced into unfavorable matchups against right-handed hitters (they’re hitting .333/.433/.833 against Rodriguez, versus .143/.250/.143 against left-handed hitters) He is clearly better served as a LOOGY, but that role has been diminished around baseball thanks to the three-batter minimum rule.
Bullpens are notoriously volatile and it is still way too early to properly draw any meaningful conclusions. But coming into the season, the bullpen was a chief area of concern for the Mets, and that has stood to reason early on despite the club’s strong start to the year. Of course, the bullpen will be tested with stiffer competition this week against the Giants, who sport the best team ERA in the league and have a 7-2 mark to reflect that success.
With May and Díaz back in the fold, they will help to restore some stability and take the pressure away from the other arms in the bullpen. Hopefully Shreve and Smith can continue to contribute with hopes Lugo and Rodríguez turn things around and quickly.
Down on the farm 🌾
AAA: The Syracuse Mets’s (1-10) struggles continued as they lost to the Columbus Clippers 4-3. Mike Montgomery took the loss after giving up two runs in his start (box)
AA: The Binghamton Rumble Ponies (3-5) scored nine runs against the Bowie Bay Sox and took the game 9-6. Francisco Álvarez blasted another home run in the win (box)
High-A: The Brooklyn Cyclones (6-3) defeated the Jersey Shore BlueClaws by a score of 6-1. Brandon McIllwain hit a home run while the rest of the offense also had a successful day at the plate with every player in the starting lineup reaching base (box)
Single-A: The St. Lucie Mets (7-2) defeated the Clearwater Thrashers 5-4 at Clover Park. Omar De Los Santos enjoyed a big day at the plate going 2-for-3 with a double and home run (box)
Around the League 🚩
The Twins placed RHP Sonny Gray on the injured list with a hamstring strain (CBS Sports)
Nestor Cortes had a brilliant day on the mound for the Yankees against the Orioles including an immaculate inning (MLB.com)
Angels superstar Mike Trout exited the game early after getting hit on the hand with a pitch but is considered day-to-day (ESPN)
The Blue Jays placed LHP Hyun Jin Ryu on the IL with forearm inflammation (ESPN)
Toronto broadcaster and former big leaguer Buck Martinez announced he will be stepping away from the both as he undergoes treatment for cancer (Toronto Sun)