You could hear the moaning and groaning rain down from the top of the East River and across the Long Island Sound when the New York Mets placed Anthony Swarzak on the DL and then recalled embattled reliever Hansel Robles, whose stock with Mets fans has reached an all-time low.
Coming off a depressing season in 2017 that saw him post a 4.92 ERA and 1.374 WHIP in 49 appearances with a 4.6 walk rate and 5.14 FIP, you could hardly blame the Citi Field faithful for falling out of favor with the young right-hander.
Robles made things worse with an equally awful showing during Grapefruit League play this spring, and it was no surprise when he failed to make the Opening Day roster and was assigned to Triple-A Las Vegas.
But one must give some credit to Robles, who was called upon on in Wednesday’s 4-2 victory over the Philadelphia Phillies, and quickly turned the boos and jeers to applause and cheers with a dazzling debut.
Robles, 27, made it look all too easy when he struck out all three batters he faced in the seventh inning while preserving the team’s slim two-run lead. He threw 14 pitches, nine of them for strikes, then walked off the mound like a conquering warrior. Mission accomplished.
According to Mets manager Mickey Callaway, “He went down to the minors, worked on the right things like a consistent delivery, and he comes out and pitches a huge inning for us.”
“Dave Eiland gave him a list of things in spring training to work on and the reports that we got from the minor-league guys that saw him pitch said he was lights-out! He was working on everything we asked him to do, and that gave us the confidence to put him in there.”
It’s just one game and just one inning of course, but still a very encouraging start to what hopefully ends up being the breakthrough to a solid rebound season.
So, here’s to great beginnings….