MMO Morning Grind: The Bullpen?!?!

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Good morning, Mets fans!

I was originally going to write about how it was nice to see our bullpen finally do a decent job last night, despite the loss. Then, I started digging through the box scores from the past few games and I realized something…

The Mets’ bullpen has not given up a run in the past 4 games.

That’s right, we’re 8 games into a season in which many horrible things have been said about our bullpen, and yet, in half of those games (the most recent half), the pen has been spotless.

Scott Rice replaced Dillon Gee with 1 out in the 8th on April 5th and retired 2 batters before Carlos Torres came in and pitched a scoreless ninth.

The next day, Gonzalez Germen entered in the 6th to help clean up Jon Niese‘s mess, after which Germen, Kyle Farnsworth, and Jose Valverde each pitched full, scoreless innings.

On Tuesday, Farnsworth and Valverde each tossed scoreless frames after Bartolo Colon pitched 7 strong innings.

And last night, Jeurys Familia and Gonzalez Germen helped the Mets keep the Braves off the board after Zack Wheeler gave up 4 runs in 5 innings.

The jury is definitely still out on the bullpen, but it’s been nice to see some competence from that unit in these past few games. The starting pitching has been pretty good as well, although our starters have generally had poor final innings in their outings this year.

However, the bats, after exploding for 7 runs on Opening Day, have been pretty disappointing. Wheeler wasn’t great last night, but he and the bullpen kept the team in the game and gave us a chance to win. The Mets rallied in the ninth and eventually got the tying run to third base, but you can only string so many hits together against Craig Kimbrel (who hadn’t started the inning, mind you), and the Mets, after struggling at the plate for the first 8 innings, predictably fell short.

The Mets have been lousy in innings 2-8 all season. That’s not a tendency that you see from winning teams. We can worry about the bullpen all we want, but at the end of the day, if the bullpen is being asked to control deficits rather than preserve leads… the come-from-behind, walk-off grand slams won’t always be there to save the day.

So, while our bullpen hurt us a bit in the first few games, it has been on the upswing lately and is not to blame for our more recent losses.  What do YOU guys think about the pen so far this year? Who has impressed you? Who has fallen short of your expectations? Which internal options would you like to see the Mets add to the relief corps, and who would you like to see the Mets bring in from the outside?

Enjoy your day, Mets fans! Let’s take the rubber game tonight; I’ll be back after the game with the recap.

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About Tommy Rothman 180 Articles
Tommy Rothman is a 20 year-old sportswriter who is the owner and founder of the popular Knicks News & Comedy Blog: "New York Knicks Memes." Tommy has also been an avid Mets fan since the age of 5 and joined MetsMerized in the summer of 2013. Tommy is a junior at the University of Pennsylvania and a sports editor for the student newspaper, the Daily Pennsylvanian. You can follow Tommy on Twitter @KnicksMemes
  • HawkZon

    Wheeler has got to cut down on all the pitches he throws.
    If only we had a decent pitching coach for all these young arms.

  • metstastic

    Giving up 3-4 runs is fine. Cutting down on pitches thrown is something to work on, but you’re not going to win if you don’t score runs!!

  • Agee’s Catch

    Maybe Frank Viola can rehab in NY

  • DrDooby

    The performance of the bullpen will be a key to the 2014 season for the Mets. And any judgement is premature.

    The three key pieces in the mix will be Jose Valverde as the closer and Jeurys Familia and Gonzalez Germen as – potentially – shutdown relievers. If these three do well, the Mets should have an asset and at the very least a league average pen – and unlike the past couple of years not one of the worst bullpens in the majors. That these three have looked alright lately is a good indicator – but too early to draw any conclusions.

    Scott Rice is what he is, a classic “LOOGY” who may appear in 75 games, throw 55 innings, get lefties out and struggle vs. righies. Fine.

    Kyle Farnsworth, Carlos Torres and John Lannan have to throw strikes. In that case, they figure to be useful but hardly an asset. They may get hit hard on occasions and will have to be replaced if it happens too often. For now, Farnsworth and Torres have been okay. Lannan has been awful – but in a new role for him. If the SP remains as good as it has been, there won´t be much of a need for a 2nd lefty or a mop-up reliever which´ll relegate Lannan to spot duty which is okay for the 12th pitcher on the staff.

    For now, barring injuries, the Mets should play all of April with this unit and then make an early assessment by the end of the month.

  • Out of place Mets fan

    Cant really complain much about Warthen, Dickey did win a CY under him. Harvey was better then expected from the scouting reports I read leading into the 2011 & 2012 seasons. Gee has already surpassed his projected impact, and scap heap players have actually produced not great but produced non the less under his tutelage.

  • DrDooby

    Wheeler´s lack of command will probably keep him from becoming an “ace” caliber SP. But besides his nice stuff, he also seems to be tough enough mentally to battle around this deficiency. In the end, an AJ Burnett / Matt Garza type # 2/3 SP seems like a very realistic outcome for him. Not quite good enough to headline a strong staff, but a very nice 2nd or 3rd piece behind a better pitcher or two (Harvey & Syndergaard ?)…

  • The ‘pen will be fine, especially if we’re only shooting to be average – which is still a huge upgrade from the past few seasons. There’s help on the way too. Like all Mets’ pitching these days, we will be fine. Now our “hitting” on the other hand…that could stay ugly for a bit.

  • Alex68

    John Maine…. 2.0
    Like the kid, but he’s all over the place. if he throws strikes he can be a very dominant pitcher. he right now just doesn’t.

  • Sunshine

    And truthfully, there’s nothing wrong with that…

  • Peter S

    The bullpen cost the mets 3 games so far. They have a lot more to prove before I get excited. Speaking of proving something, Wheeler is not exactly takin that “Harvey” jump this year. 0-2 and he’s pitched 11 innings so far. I’m giving him until may 1st before I start calling for him to go to the pen.

  • $14435385

    He reminds me of Darling, who walked the world his first few seasons but was the guy you wanted on the mound in a big game. He’ll be fine. Wheeler is the least of this team’s problems…

  • NewYorkMammoths

    Does anyone know: Where can one go to find team by team stats focused on the performance of the bullpen specifically, excluding starters?

  • Biggle Boy

    With a pen that includes a couple of 37 year old back end guys and a starting pitcher who never pitched in relief before, I pay more attention to young guys like Familia and Germen. They look to be part of the future.

    Last night, I was happy to see Familia pitch well. Darling had said that Jeurys should use his legs more instead of his upper body. Looked like Familia did that. But the offense is weak, and even if the pen can hold its own, 74 wins look likely.

  • StrawberryPiazzaWright

    Bartolo Colón could be a very good pitching coach, eating habits notwithstanding, or at least he can pass some very valuable knowledge on how to pound the strike zone, keeping your pitches, and you pitch count low. Wheeler is no more than a #3 starter at this point.

  • Peter S

    Baseball reference is solid. I’m sure you could find it on ESPN if you dig deeper than the front page.

  • Alex68

    OR, OR, he just might be John Maine with better stuff….

  • StrawberryPiazzaWright

    We have seen it before. We hang on to the hope of whomever “getting it”, and start throwing strikes, after they have been inconsistent with their command their whole careers. John Maine indeed. I think the Mets might be better off trading him, and I say that with a heavy heart, as I, too had high hopes for Wheeler.

  • Peter S
  • NewYorkMammoths

    Thanks! I hadn’t found the “as reliever” option before.

  • Xavier 22

    LOL – Wheeler’s MLB career is not even a full season yet.

  • Peter S

    I think the offense will be ok if guys like TdA and Murphy get hot. Grandy and Wright will be good.

  • TC’s talking head

    Wheeler should talk to Colon more about how to locate and learn to use his change-up more as a strikeout pitch.

  • ThatGuyWhoLeavesComments

    The bullpen? I thought it was Terry Collins. Hmmm. Blame the players for their performance. An interesting concept.

    And calling for Wheeler to the bullpen is going to be an awfully lonely existence.

  • jason bay

    You almost never hear of the pen when things go well but as soon as they blow a lead you’ll hear about them and TC and Alderson and how bad they all are for the next 24 hours.

    Nice to see the rare exception to the rule here.

  • jason bay

    Calling for Wheeler to go to the pen would be idiotic. Why would you do that?

  • jason bay

    Wheeler got a lot of swings and misses last night even though he had one bad inning and you want to get rid of him.

  • peter

    Chris Young should make a difference in the 5 hole if he can continue his more balanced approach from spring training into the regular season.

  • EzRider

    I’d like to see a line-up shift happen. As Darling pointed out last night, Murph is a 6 hole hitter. Duda takes pitches better than Murph so EY could get a chance to steal when it would be useful. Until CY comes back i’d wonder if TC should swap some folks around.
    EY/Duda/Wright/Grandy/Lagares/Murph/d’Arnaud/Tejada. Once CY comes back maybe Lagares takes over for EY.

  • Taskmaster4450

    The pen that matters is the one in AAA. How well is that one doing? The Met BP is not an issue since it was designed to have interchangeable parts. Nobody in the BP was signed to big money. Hence, they are expendable. If one isnt working out, ship him out and bring someone else in. Lannon is a prime example. If he cant cut it, get rid of him. The only problem is the Mets need someone to replace him with, which brings us to Wally’s BP. If those guys are performing, there are options to select from. If not, it is like changing chairs on the Titanic.

  • MetsfanInParadise

    It’s no different from hitting. A few bad outings buried in the middle of the season are less conspicuous, but when your 0-15 or your 3 straight bullpen meltdowns represents your entire season’s output to date they’re hard to hide and easier to freak out about.

  • MetsfanInParadise

    Same thing is available on the MLB stat sort

  • Taskmaster4450

    A big test will be to see how Velverde rebounds after a rough outing the other night.

    Hopefully he brushes it off (which he probably will) and maintains his good performance.

  • HKMetsFan

    I wanna see dice k in the pen pitching innings 6-9 every day mejia starts. And the same situation with Thor and montero. Have Thor pitch 1-5 and montero pitch 6-9. Use the rest of the bullpen for the other three days and get rid of the bottom of the barrel relievers as they only need to cover 60% of the innings of a normal pen. That would keep the young guns from hitting innings limits and get the most innings out of the best arms, while keeping the stability of guys who are used to starting knowing exactly when and how they are gonna be used.

  • Taskmaster4450

    Actually what you could do is do a 5/4 rotation with Thor/Montero where one pitched the first 5 one day with the other taking the last 4. Then switch them the turn in the rotation with the previous reliever starting 5 and the starter going the last 4.

  • USMF
  • Taskmaster4450

    John Maine has more control.

  • Taskmaster4450

    I wouldnt credit Warthen for anything Dickey did since Dickey admitted he was talking to Hough and some of the other guys.

    And for every Gee I mention a guy like Niese who underperformed under Warthen.

  • Taskmaster4450

    “I’m giving him until may 1st before I start calling for him to go to the pen.”

    And who are you?

  • Come on Peter… He hasn’t even had one full season yet. Games like last night are all part of the development process.

  • Taskmaster4450

    ESPN has it too.

    Go to team stats, pitching, and you can select a drop down menu “as relievers”.

    You can also do it for the team stats to see where they rank in baseball.

  • Joe

    I’m being 100% serious when I say Jenrry Mejia is very possibly the best pitcher in our rotation right now. I think people are undervaluing his potential.

  • Taskmaster4450

    It looks like Duda’s days as the “starting 1B” are over since Collins said Ike was going to start tonight.

  • Taskmaster4450

    There never was a question about Mejia’s stuff…just his ability to stay healthy.

    If he can do that, he will be productive until they shut him down after 130 innings or so.

  • Alex68

    I said it from the beginning, he was gonna be the #5 starter but pitch like our #2 and possibly our #1.. he just might

  • Matlack

    Terry’s a tough guy now. Shiny new extension means he’s gonna stand up to the suits and play his guys, by golly.

  • EzRider

    Well Ike’s back to back 1 pitch ground outs to SS must mean he’s making progress and due for a break out. LOL. With Ick Davis in the line-up i’d probably bat him in the clean-up spot. I’d put Grandy in the 2 hole see if he can get some fastballs and get going.

    These are the kinds of things that happen when you essentially have a three man platoon at one position. Besides, Satin will be playing a few games soon when we face some LH.

  • Alex68

    So wait, to defend sandy alderson you guys use that excuse… now it’s not valid!?
    Wasn’t wheeler supposed to be a multiple CY Winner? Wasn’t he supposed to be “the ACE”?
    Now the talk has dyed down big time eh…. SMH….
    This is why we should wait and see how prospects do before crowning them to be some sort of saviors, which is the Kansas City Royal way..

  • Alex68

    Well, before he threw a pitch in the majors he was being crowned as a CY winner and an ACE.. but now, since he’s struggling and not living up to the hype then of course, y’all preaching patient right!?
    This is, again, i like the trade, why we should wait and see how prospect would pan out in the majors before declaring winners and losers on trades of major leaguers for prospects..
    But SL as usual, wanna have it both ways..

  • oleosmirf

    Here’s the question. Does it make sense to move him to the pen when he gets close to whatever the innings cap is for him so he can finish the year in the majors or are they better off just shutting him down.

  • ThatGuyWhoLeavesComments

    “So wait, to defend sandy alderson you guys use that excuse… now it’s not valid!?”

    What isn’t valid? I blame the players when they don’t perform and I blame Alderson for bringing in the players. Seems fair to me.

    “Wasn’t wheeler supposed to be a multiple CY Winner? Wasn’t he supposed to be “the ACE”?”

    Are you asking me if I said that? I didn’t. I don’t know anyone who said that and I never read the words “ace” or “Cy Young” near his name I mean, if people feel that way, that’s up to them. Personally, I want to trade him.

    Who cares about the Kansas City Royals. All teams treat their prospects like saviors. Sorry Wheeler isn’t an instant success.

  • What exactly are those innings limits for him? Have you heard a number? One beat writer reported as low as 130 IP, but then another said 160-180. Which one is it? That’s a pretty big window. I wish someone would just ask Sandy or Terry that instead of the usual first base question.

  • ThatGuyWhoLeavesComments

    By WHO? WHO crowned him a CY winner and an “ace.” You throw these statements around with nothing to back them up. Ooooo. Fans had those expectations? What a surprise.

  • StrawberryPiazzaWright

    I said the Mets MIGHT be better off trading him. Big difference. And the knock on Wheeler has always been his inconsistent command, and that was back in 2011, and he is STILL inconsistent with his command. And that is regardless of him being in the majors or not. Again,as I said before, I did have high hopes for him (read, I like him), I am just weary of situations in which we are “hoping” that miraculously some pitcher “gets it”, and us as fans suffering the consequences. I really HOPE he lives up to his “stuff”, but there is that word again…get it? Enough said.

  • The bullpen has actually not been that bad. Especially when you consider that Parnell’s rough opening day was thrown with a ripped up arm.
    These guys have basically had 2 -3 bad games and several great games.
    It’s the same as EVERY year with the Mets – THEY CAN’T HIT!
    Seriously, when was the last time that they scored a lot of runs and gave up too many? 2007?

  • Peter S

    Sure but who is coming out of this rotation when Montero and Noah are ready?

    Gee – I don’t see it.
    Mejia – maybe, but he is looking better.
    Niese – no way.
    Colon – not happening.
    Wheeler – hmmmmm

    I know it’s an overreaction, but the reality is, he is not even close to what was billed. I hope he turns it around but haven’t we been saying that about pitching prospects forever?

  • Peter S

    Oh I’m sorry. Didn’t realize I wasn’t allowed to voice an opinion.

  • Peter S

    Someone has to come out of that rotation when Montero and Noah are ready. Probably an overreaction but at some point, Wheeler has to show me a reason why he should be counted on in this rotation.

  • Peter S

    The problem is wheeler was billed as the next great pitcher for the Mers. So far, he is not as advertised.

  • WilponsNeed2Go

    I think the BP is going to be one of committee again this year. To have success here, management will have to keep a sharp eye out for slackers and replace them with fresh arms from the minors. This should be done thoughtfully and allow enough playing time to get a decent feel for what the pitcher can do.

    By the end of the month, management should send down anyone with a 4.00+ ERA, if they can be replaced with a minor league relief pitcher.

  • Peter S

    I personally would like to see Lagares lead off. And the pitcher moved up to 8. Let Wright protect Grandy at this point.

    Lagares
    Murphy
    Grandy
    Wright
    Ike
    TDA
    Tejada
    Pitcher
    Young

  • derek murphy

    They need to work on there asset management. DeGrom and Montero are ready to pitch in the majors now. They should sell high on gee and look to see what they could get for Niese. Niese we may be better off on holding so he can show he’s healthy and increase his value. Watching the marlins with all there young kids and knowing we have the youth to combat it but ours is stuck in the minors.

    There is no reason for them to not have Puello in LF. At the very least he should be out there till CY gets back. I’d like to see Flores at short also but that’s not going to happen. This was the year I thought we would put our best players on the field but I guess not.

    What DeGrom has done is amazing. Missing a season cause of TJ then flying through the minors. Everytime he pitches he’s better than his previous outing. Montero and Thor get all the attention but he’s now on there level. It wouldn’t surprise me if he beat them to the majors.

  • BadBadLeroyBrown

    The problem with the bullpen rears its head when the Mets have a lead and they need to close out a game.

    Lannan should be DFA’d

    They signed him in a cheap attempt to recreate Chris Capuano instead of just resigning Capuano

  • ThatGuyWhoLeavesComments

    He was billed as a top pitching prospect like all top pitching prospects are. What’s your point? Guys like Alex expect instant success. He thought Sandy would turn the team around in one offseason and he thought Wheeler would have won a Cy Young by now I guess.

  • ThatGuyWhoLeavesComments

    What did you realistically expect from Wheeler? Nobody “billed” him as anything. He was labeled a top pitching prospect because that’s what he was.

  • Tectaru

    Murph would be a good 6 hitter if there were 5 people who could get on in front of him.

    The lineup shuffle should include shuffling EY out of the lineup and moving Lagares/Tejada to lead off. I’d only give him another week or so before they start looking at folks in AAA to replace his .143/.233

  • Out of place Mets fan

    While all knuckle ball pitchers communicate and discuss their art with each other, (it really is a fraternity unto itself) Warthen was the one in the clubhouse and there for off day routines.

    Neise was touted as a LH #3 starter and when healthy that is what exactly is, Some real good games and some bad stretches.

    I am not saying that Warthen is Mazzone or Duncan, or even close to being in the same category, but for all the Mets problems I don’t see him being near the top of the list. Now if we are talking Hudgens…

  • Alex68

    Guys like me!? I am just going by what the reaction was when we acquired him… we were told we got an ACE and that sandy was a genius for holding out for him etc…
    #3 pitcher at best imo… he’s John Maine 2.0

  • Peter S

    Right they only billed as a top prospect. They never called him a top 1-2 with Harvey. Very low expectations.

  • StrawberryPiazzaWright

    The knock on Wheeler has always been his inconsistent command, and that was back in 2011, and he is STILL inconsistent with his command. And that is regardless of him being in the majors or not. Again,as I said before, I did have high hopes for him (read, I like him), I am just weary of situations in which we are “hoping” that miraculously some pitcher “gets it”, and us as fans suffering the consequences. I really HOPE he lives up to his “stuff”, but there is that word again…get it? Enough said.

  • ThatGuyWhoLeavesComments

    The kid hasn’t even made 20 starts and you’re already crying in the corner about…what exactly? That he hasn’t won a Cy Young yet? That he hasn’t won 20 games yet? That he gave up runs? I guess Justin Verlander posts 0.00 ERAs every year.

  • SaberMets

    I’m not disagreeing but how can you make that assessment when the guy has not been able to play an entire season? His stuff looks great but lets not put the cart before the horse. He needs to stay healthy.

    Also,there were a lot of Minaya sympathizers (not you) that killed TDA and said he was injury prone; why aren’t they saying the same about Mejia? I think I know why……

  • mr. belvedere

    he’ll be fine for now, he’s commanding the fastball…it wouldn’t have been rough outing if he could throw the damn ball to 2nd base any way that was a game ending double play

  • mr. belvedere

    DFA’d for who though…Lannan made the last bullpen spot by default because Edgin, Black, Leather, Kolerek all were terrible in ST (and have continued to struggle)…I know I’m coming off as a Lannan defender because this is like the 20th defense comment I’ve made about him because I think he sucks too but seriously he’s the 2nd loogy/mop up/emergency starter that has appeared 3 times that’s it, I’d give him til the start of May to collect dust on the end of the bullpen or get it together…I mean this is a new role for him and I’d rather see a bum like him collecting dust down there than Black or Edgin right now…this is why you sign guys like Lannan to minor league deals, he can hold the spot until the young guys get their sh*t together, he’s a nobody but he has a role…he had 2 bad performances and wasn’t effective last night either but Freeman probably gets a hit off of Koufax there last night the dude is on fire

  • SaberMets

    Dont worry…..as soon as it fails the same group of idiots will be on here spewing their hate.

    To my knowledge none of those morons made any mention of wright getting a hit in the ninth or TDA coming through in a “clutch” situation off Kimbrel.

    They have their agenda and they stick to it…..gotta give them credit for that!

  • Taskmaster4450

    “There is no reason for them to not have Puello in LF.”

    Puello has a cannon of an arm and you want to put him in LF with Grandy in RF?

  • mr. belvedere

    I love what I saw out of Familia last night…if the kid can learn to always command the fastball and be fearless like Colon and Valverde (the old soldiers of the Dominican Mafia) and Edgin gets straightened out soon, our bullpen will become a strength instead of a question mark…Familia has ELECTRIC stuff, throwing strike one is the key

  • Taskmaster4450

    Amazing how sometimes the names can come back to bite you.

    The As got Johnson from the Os in a trade (and to the tune of $10M this year) and they just decided to go to closer by committee.

    I guess a big name reliever who was good the year before costing big bucks isnt a slam dunk either.

  • derek murphy

    Carreno? He’s probably next up as far as lefties go. He would certainly be an upgrade over lannan but they need Leathersich n edgin to pitch up to there potential.

    They should call up kolarek. He is fantastic and would be a long term solution.

  • mr. belvedere

    I think Carreno is a righty