The key to the Mets success this season is keeping their starters and relievers fresh. In last nights game the Mets used up all of their bullpen arms to come away with a 9-8 victory over the Miami Marlins. The bullpen is going to get tired over the course of an 162 game season but how Terry Collins can keep them fresh is going to be key. The Mets bullpen has pitched 40.7 inning so far in this young season while only giving up 14 runs. That is equivalent to a 2.90 earn run average. Collins has already used Fernando Salas, Jerry Blevins, Hansel Robles and Addison Reed to pitch in 6-7 games thus far.
In last nights game the heroics belonged to the Mets bullpen. Salas pitched 2 scoreless innings before handing over the ball to Reed who mirrored him with an additional 2 scoreless innings. Josh Smoker looked sharp as he pitched 3 innings to keep the game tied in extras. He also topped out at 95 MPH. One thing that impressed me was that 26 of his 38 pitches were called as strikes. In previous starts his control was a concern. After using everyone in the bullpen, Collins was left with no choice but to bring in Robles for his 4th straight game. He managed to close out the game with two anxiety filled scoreless innings.
Through out the course of this season the Mets will call upon minor league relief pitchers to patch up the bullpen in emergency situations such as yesterdays. The Mets originally planned on using Seth Lugo as their long reliever but plans were changed when he injured his elbow in the World Baseball Classic. Instead of Lugo, the Mets have summoned Rafael Montero to step in as the long reliever. In 6 innings so far, Montero has given up 4 runs on 10 hits and 7 base on balls. Today, the Mets optioned T.J Rivera back to Triple A, Las Vegas and called up the long reliever, Sean Gilmartin. It is too early to say that the Mets bullpen is depleted but they should always be looking to add additional relievers.
In news relating to the topic of the Mets bullpen, the Sussex County Miners signed former New York Mets right-handed pitcher Vic Black. He was an eye opener for scouts when he broke out in 2012 at the Double-A level, pitching in 60 innings and compiling a 1.65 ERA. In 2014 he made 41 appearances for the Mets posting a 2-3 record, with an ERA of 2.60 in 34 2/3 innings. However, he has not pitched in the big leagues since 2015 due to lingering arm injuries. His fastball ranged from 95-98 MPH. His secondary pitch was his slider which had tight spin and sharp two-plane movement.
The Mets should keep an eye on Black while he pitches in New Jersey. His 2 year absence from the game of baseball has made Black “rethink life”. “Having to speak reality rather than avoid it was a great place for me to start,” Black told Sports Illustrated. “When you’re able to step back from the situation and realize that baseball is not my identity — it’s just what I do and what I love — it kind of put it in that perspective, it allowed me to free up my mind.” In his Instagram posts on @traveling_roosters, he has expressed his love for the great outdoors as well as his love for crossfit. At the end of the 2015 season after being released by the Mets, Black was interviewed by Sports Illustrated and spoke about his time in New York. “It’s my favorite city in the world, once you weave around the tourists, you find people that care. They love their sports. They love the city. Love what it stands for. What it’s about. Love where they’re from. The heritage. I mean: it’s the best place.”
If Black can rediscover his electric stuff that he displayed in 2014 then the Mets should give him a look. It doesn’t hurt to take advantage of a low cost solution to the bullpen. He could help the Mets down the stretch and provide them with another flame throwing right-hander in the bullpen.