If you’re going out to Citi Field over the next two days, you won’t catch a glimpse of the New York Mets’ two most effective relievers. Converted starters Seth Lugo and Robert Gsellman have both been shut down for the final series of the season, Anthony Rieber of Newsday reports, after heavy workloads this year. Mets’ manager Mickey Callaway noted that the pair have “probably done more than we could have ever asked to this point.” The team is planning on using the final three games to look at some of the younger relievers on the roster, such as Drew Smith and Tyler Bashlor, in late game situations.
Both Lugo and Gsellman entered the year competing for a spot in the starting rotation but ended up working out of the bullpen for most of the season. Gsellman showed that he could be an effective late inning reliever, going 6-3 with a 4.28 ERA, 1.30 WHIP, 13 saves, and 70 strikeouts in 80 innings pitched. The Mets probably leaned a bit too heavily on Gsellman early in the year as he began to wear down as the season progressed, but if he is used properly Gsellman can be an effective cog in the bullpen next season.
Lugo actually worked more than Gsellman thanks to five mid-season starts when the Mets’ rotation was rattled by injuries. In 54 appearances this season, including five starts, Lugo tossed 101.1 innings and went 3-4 with a 2.66 ERA. Lugo pitched to a 1.08 WHIP and struck out 103 batters, but he was notably more effective as a reliever (3.45 ERA) than a starter (4.50 ERA). The Mets could opt to let Lugo stretch out again as rotation depth for next season, but they will likely need him and Gsellman to be key pieces in the bullpen if they hope to contend in 2019.