What should have been a terrific win in the desert last night turned into another horror show for the New York Mets. The Mets saw a 5-1 lead go to waste thanks to poor performances from Jeurys Familia, Robert Gsellman, and Tyler Bashlor, resulting in an 11-inning 6-5 loss. None of them have been particularly good this year, with Familia’s 6.56 ERA a good indicator of how bad he has performed, but the situation hasn’t been helped by questionable bullpen management from Mickey Callaway.
Mets’ fans long complained about bullpen management under former manager Terry Collins, who overworked guys like Pedro Feliciano to the point that they became completely ineffective pitchers. That was supposed to change with Callaway, a former pitching coach who came in speaking about how it was important to avoid “dry humping” guys by having them warm up only to not enter the game. Callaway has actually been worse than Collins in terms of abusing his relievers, and some of the poor performance isn’t surprising when you factor in how overworked the bullpen has been.
Part of the problem has been that the starters don’t get deep enough into games, forcing Callaway to go to his relievers to get more outs than necessary. The Mets haven’t had a day off since May 13th either, making it harder for them to avoid using anyone, but Callaway hasn’t helped matters by relying way too heavily on certain relievers. Let’s take a look at the usage of five bullpen arms since that date, when the Mets have played 19 games:
Edwin Diaz: 9 Games, 8 Innings Pitched, 3 Saves, 2 Blown Saves, 4.50 ERA, 1.50 WHIP
Jeurys Familia: 10 Games, 9 Innings Pitched, 1 Blown Save, 7.00 ERA, 1.44 WHIP
Robert Gsellman: 10 Games, 11 Innings Pitched, 1 Save, 2 Blown Saves, 5.73 ERA, 1.55 WHIP
Tyler Bashlor: 9 Games, 8 Innings Pitched, 3 Blown Saves, 6.75 ERA, 1.25 WHIP
Drew Gagnon: 7 Appearances, 8.2 Innings Pitched, 1 Blown Save, 4.15 ERA, 1.38 WHIP
Those are the five relievers Callaway has deployed in almost half of the Mets’ games over this stretch, and they have all gotten worse as it progresses. That comes as no shock since the Mets don’t have many dependable options, but Callaway has made matters worse by overworking these relievers to the point that they are becoming ineffective. Part of the blame goes to GM Brodie Van Wagenen for becoming the next Mets’ GM to fail to assemble a bullpen, but Callaway isn’t helping the cause with his overuse of the key arms. Callaway even said before the game on Thursday, the day after Diaz horrifically blew a save and threw a combined 46 pitches in the prior two games, that his closer could be available if necessary. Diaz told reporters he wasn’t available, which is the latest sign that Callaway does a poor job communicating with his players.
The bullpen has given away leads in three of the Mets’ four losses on those road trips, and their situation would be a lot different if even two of those were held. The Mets would be guaranteed to come home above .500 if that was the case, and instead they need a win today to avoid a 2-5 trip where they fell back to three games below .500. That is, in essence, a microcosm of the Mets’ underachieving season.