Mets Bullpen – The Up’s and the Down’s

The Mets bullpen has been one of the biggest surprises of the early 2016 season. The bullpen which was a major question mark in the offseason is currently 5th in the majors and 2nd in the NL with a 3.10 ERA. The hard throwers the team has combined together are 10th in the league in strikeouts with 173. Teams haven’t reached base too often against this group as they have a combined opponents batting average of .220, which is good enough to be 6th in the majors.

Positives : 

Jeurys Familia has converted  all 17 of his save opportunities, which is good enough to be tied for the MLB lead in saves. Addison Reed has been the perfect set-up man thus far, only allowing 5 ER’s (1.90 ERA) with 31 strikeouts in 23.2 innings. Jerry Blevins has been the dominant lefty the Mets expected him to be, allowing only 3 ER’s all season, and limiting lefties to only a .200 batting average. Veteran reliever Jim Henderson has been a very pleasant surprise for the Mets as he’s regained some of his velocity and the feel for his breaking ball. The only thing he has struggled with is pitching on consecutive days, but that’s expected from a guy who hasn’t pitched in about two years. Henderson has a 3.03 ERA with 26 strikeouts, and an opponent batting average of .222. Big free-agent signing Antonio Bastardo has had his moments where he shined, including when he pitched out of a bases loaded nobody out situation with three huge strikeouts. Logan Verrett has served as a decent spot starter/long man out of the bullpen. However, his stuff is starting to be picked up by opposing hitters which is shown through his .269 opponents batting average.

Negatives :

It hasn’t all been pretty for this group as of lately. In it’s last 21.0 innings pitched, the Mets bullpen has allowed 20 ER’s (8.57 ERA). In the past week, they: allowed 9 runs to the Dodgers, gave up 2 go-ahead runs in the 9th, allowed a 3 run 8th inning resulting in a 6-4 loss, and the lowest of lows allowed a double to a reliever who hasn’t had a hit since 2007. Yeah it was pretty ugly!

Where to begin? Mr. Hansel Robles. I haven’t liked Robles for a long time, I feel he is still very immature and is very cocky. I think that TC has way too much trust in him in high leverage situations. A couple of weeks ago he allowed a walk-off homer to Trayce Thompson of the Dodgers after shaking off his catcher calling for a slider in favor of his fastball. Just the other day against the White Sox Robles came in to protect a one run lead in the 8th. He issued a lead off walk, then a batter later on that same 95 MPH fastball Robles allowed a go-ahead two-run homer to Tyler Saladino. With that outing Robles has given up four home runs and six runs in his last two outings (2.1 innings), and since May 1 he has an ERA of 6.75. Robles misses spots a lot and has some serious command issues, which leads to his struggles. Those aren’t two good qualities to have while pitching in big late game situations. The trust level TC has in him better go down if it already hasn’t, otherwise the Mets are going to be in some trouble.

Antonio Bastardo has had both his ups and his downs. The ups were expressed above, now the downs. Bastardo has a 4.09 ERA, he’s allowed 10 ER’s in 22 innings. From May 18 through the 28th Bastardo has sported a 14.73 ERA in 3.2 innings. He was supposed to be brought in as the set-up man, but Addison Reed has taken that spot right out of his hands. This is not the guy the Mets expected him to be when they signed him this offseason. I don’t see it happening but Josh Edgin and Sean Gilmartin have looked strong in AAA, so if Bastardo’s struggles continue his spot in this bullpen may be in jeopardy.

Closer Jeurys Familia as mentioned above is perfect in save situations thus far. Things however, haven’t been smooth sailing in non-save situations for Familia. In non-save situations, Jeurys has a 7.71 ERA in 9 innings. Opponents have a .357 batting average in these situations, compared to his .197 in save situations. This is rather concerning as these struggles have never come about before and Familia did struggle in the spring as well. TC should limit using Familia in non-save situations if these struggles continue.

This bullpen has been real solid for the most part. Aside from some minor and major bumps in the road they have really all held their own. This bullpen is a huge asset to this team and they really need to be solid on the backend. When one struggles someone else has to come pickup him up. Hopefully the bullpen can get off this little schnide and get back to wheeling and dealing.

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