Mets Bullpen on Wrong Side of History as they Aim not to Repeat it Heading into 2018
It was kind of an appropriate place for it to happen. After all, Marlins Park back in April is where some people believe the Mets bullpen struggles began. Wednesday afternoon, Erik Goeddel gave up four runs in the eighth of the Mets’ 9-2 loss to the Marlins.
They were inconsequential runs really. They added up to 298 runs allowed so far this season by the bullpen. That ties them with the worst bullpen in franchise history, the one in 1962, in runs allowed this season. The 1962 bullpen had a 4.76 ERA, the current one is at 4.84.
In a miserable season that has been filled with injuries and sub-par play, the bullpen has been a constant letdown. It is also one of the issues Mets GM Sandy Alderson is going to have to make a priority to keep his promise that this losing season is merely a “reset,” and the team will be back to competing in 2018.
The 298 runs are the third most allowed by any bullpen in the majors. Their 246 walks are the fourth most in the majors. They have taken 26 losses, eighth most in the majors, and allowed 78 home runs, putting them in the top six in the majors.
“It’s been tough, we’ve had some injuries and with the injuries to the starting rotation it’s been a big workload,” bullpen coach Ricky Bones said. “I think this is just been a rough year and we have a good group for next year.”
Injuries, a suspension and struggles in the rotation to stay healthy and go deep into games definitely put the bullpen on the ropes early. Back in April was a perfect example and one of the first we saw the drain on the bullpen. The Mets came here and won a 16-inning game, it was a grind on the bullpen, which became more typical as the season went on. After Robert Gsellman went just 4.2 innings, the Mets, with closer Jeurys Familia suspended for violating MLB’s domestic violence policy, had to scramble. They used Josh Edgin, Rafael Montero, Jerry Blevins, Fernando Salas, Addison Reed, Josh Smoker and Hansel Robles to pull out the win.
“You look at some of those guys and they were worn down early this year,” a scout who watched the Mets often this season said. “Salas struggled early and he never recovered. Edgin struggled with heavy usage and Hansel Robles has been inconsistent all year.
“They weren’t getting depth from their starters, so they had to go to their bullpen,” he continued, “and it wasn’t that good of a bullpen to start with.”
Usage is a problem the Mets have been concerned about for years now, but even Alderson admits they need to rethink it.
With all but one starter on the DL this season and having three suffer season-ending injuries last season, Alderson may only be able to count on five guys going five innings every five days. So, the Mets need to revamp a bullpen that can handle a bigger workload, meaning they will likely carry eight relievers all season, including two long men and will only be able to carry one specialist.
They are trying out their young pitchers as pieces for 2018 and will likely consider some of their extra starters like Robert Gsellman, Zack Wheeler and Steven Matz — if all are healthy to round out a bullpen in 2018. They feel they have their core in the backend with lefty specialist Jerry Blevins, who they have an option for 2018, and have Familia and AJ Ramos, who has been shaky as a closer so far, under their control for next year.