1. Jacob CyGrom
Lost in another bullpen meltdown was Jacob deGrom having another great start to not just further cement his status as the ace of this staff, but to also remind everyone he is one of the best starting pitchers in all of baseball.
After pitching seven scoreless innings and striking out 10 Braves, his record now stands at 2-0 with a 2.35 ERA, 1.031 WHIP, and an 11.3 K/9.
With all the big names and personalities the Mets have on their staff, we can sometimes forget deGrom has consistently been their best pitcher since 2014. He can go out there and pitch with anyone, and as we can recall from 2015, he can go out there and beat anyone.
2. Cabrera Carrying Offense
It is a miracle the Mets are 14-6 with Yoenis Cespedes hitting 195/.258/.354, Jay Bruce hitting .194/.280/.328, Michael Conforto slugging .340, and the team getting next to nothing from third and fourth string catchers. One of the reasons why this team is still winning games has been Asdrubal Cabrera.
Cabrera gets key hit after key hit after key hit. In this series, Cabrera was 5-for-14 with two doubles, a walk and four RBI, and he had what should have been the game winning RBI on Saturday.
That terrific series was more of the same for Cabrera who is now hitting .354/.391/.608 with eight doubles, four homers, and 12 RBI. He is the National League leader in hits (28), Offensive WAR (1.3) and total bases (48).
He’s the most surprising and the best everyday player the Mets have right now. He’s the guy you want at the plate because deep down you know he is going to find a way to deliver in a key spot.
3. Gsellman’s Feet
Gsellman immediately rewarded his manager by getting plunked with the pitch, and later than inning, he would show off his wheels by scoring from second on a Cespedes RBI single.
In that game, he showed off not just his wheels, but also just how well he is pitching out of the bullpen. Gsellman had kept the Mets in the game pitching two scoreless innings allowing just a fit and a walk while striking out three.
His pitching kept the Mets in the game, and his wheels helped the Mets win the game.
This is all part of an excellent rebound year for Gsellman in the bullpen. He is now 2-0 with a 2.19 ERA, and a 1.135 WHIP. With those numbers, Gsellman has helped sure up a bullpen with a number of question marks, and he really is out there giving the Mets another weapon out of the bullpen.
1. NL East Gauntlet
With the Mets having lost their past two series, both to division rivals, the team has now lost five of their last eight games. It’s safe to assume the Mets hot streak to start the season is now in the rear view mirror, and they now stand with the second best record in the National League.
Their large division lead is all but gone now too. At 14-6, they are only a half-game up on the Phillies and two games up on the Braves with both teams still having prospects in the minors who can give them a boost.
There is also the scuffling Nationals, who just took two of three against the Mets this past week. Sooner or later, that team will expect to Anthony Rendon, Daniel Murphy and Adam Eaton back in the lineup.
Overall, the Mets didn’t get the separation they needed from some better than expected teams, and they are now in a position to have a dogfight for this division.
2. Blevins, Ramos and Meltdowns
Twice in the past week, the Mets had a lead of at least three runs in the eighth inning, and the bullpen was unable to lock the game down. Front and center of both bullpen meltdowns were Jerry Blevins and AJ Ramos.
The reason for Ramos’ struggles has been his handing out free passes. He has an absurdly high 9.0 BB/9, has handed out the third most walks in the majors among relievers, and he has actually walked more batters than he has struck out.
With respect to Blevins, he’s just not getting his job done, and that job is to get out key left-handed batters in key situations. Overall, left-handed batters are 6-14 against him with two doubles.
Freddie Freeman is 2-for-2 with a double and two RBI. Bryce Harper is 1-for-2 with a walk and two RBI. Overall, these are the types of hitters Blevins is paid to get out, and he’s not getting them out. This has helped lead the Mets bullpen to two meltdowns this week.
3. Curious Callaway
With Bruce battling plantar fasciitis and struggling at the plate, Mickey Callaway is keeping him on the field everyday for every play. This means Brandon Nimmo, who is hitting .333/.533/.714 and Juan Lagares, who is hitting .379/.424/.414 with a Major League leading UZR/150 among center fielders, are on the bench in deference to an injured and under-performing veteran.
That’s even in the late inning when Lagares needs to be on the field when the Mets need to protect the lead, and he wasn’t on Saturday as the Mets blew another lead. Sure, Lagares may not have made a difference, but it’s also true your best defender can’t make a difference while sitting on the bench.
Of course, this is part of some odd moves Callaway has made of late, including how he is handling his bullpen. In the the meltdowns, he has primarily relied on his veterans, who are not pitching up to snuff, and he is not turning to his best set-up men (Seth Lugo) and (Robert Gsellman). It should also be noted with the way Callaway has handled the bullpen, the team has had to dip into the minors three times already to get a fresh arm.