Going into the season, the back end of the Mets bullpen looked formidable.
Well, Familia has been good, and Swarzak will be a welcome addition when he returns from the disabled list, but Ramos and Blevins have both struggled mightily.
This was on full display in Friday night’s heart breaking 4-3 loss in extra innings against the Milwaukee Brewers.
New York never held a lead in the game, but fought back tooth and nail in the ninth inning to knot the game up at three apiece. The Mets got to Brewers closer Corey Knebel, and it seemed the momentum was swinging their way.
In the 10th, Gsellman allowed a base hit to Eric Sogard but was still able to record two outs in the frame. However, manager Mickey Callaway decided to go with a lefty versus lefty match up with Christian Yelich coming to the dish and yanked Gsellman for Blevins.
This normally would be the right call, however, Blevins has not been the same pitcher this season that he’s been for the Mets in the past. On the year, he has a 5.40 ERA in 21 games. Lefties have also hit .292/.370/.375 against him in 27 plate appearances this year.
Yelich roped a fly ball to right field, which was fielded on a hop by Jay Bruce.
Callaway then went to Ramos, who has been shaky all year, pitching to a 5.21 ERA in 27 appearances.
When Ramos came in, it didn’t feel like a winning move, and it wasn’t.
The longtime Marlins’ closer couldn’t find the strike zone, walking Hernan Perez to fill the bases, then continuing his erratic display against Travis Shaw, who he also walked to hand the Mets a crushing defeat.
A dejected Ramos following the game admitted that he has struggled mightily.
“I haven’t been doing my job, plain and simple,” Ramos said. “There’s no excuse, no rhyme or reason, there isn’t anything going on. I just haven’t been very good.
“I am working on it, trying to get better, but as of right now I haven’t been doing the job and that’s just how it is.”
Callaway defended his decision to use Blevins and Ramos, saying that they are important pieces in the bullpen and need to be used accordingly.
“[Ramos] is in our bullpen and he’s got to pitch in situations like that,” Callaway said. “Tonight … obviously he didn’t have it. He didn’t have anything. It hasn’t been like it was tonight, so you have to chalk that up to, man, he just couldn’t get the ball over the plate.”
Callaway added that he wanted to save de facto closer Familia for later in the game instead of using him in a tie on the road, hence, why he didn’t make an appearance last night.
On paper, the moves from the end of last night’s game makes sense. Blevins is the lone lefty in the bullpen and should get his guys out, but he has been unable to do so this year.
Putting him in in a tight spot like that while he’s been struggling was a questionable move. And yes, you can say, “well, were you criticizing Callaway for not putting Blevins in in place of Paul Sewald against the Phillies when Sewald allowed a home run?”
Different circumstances. Gsellman, who was yanked in favor of Blevins, has been lock down all year and needed just one more out to get out of the frame. Callaway should have used the hot hand and at least allowed him to try and get out of the inning.
At the end of the day, it was a tough loss to swallow. Especially when this team showed fight and clawed back to force extra innings when their backs were right against the wall.
Callaway is a young manager and there is a big learning curve, but he has some great relievers out there who should be used properly.
As for Blevins and Ramos, they should be used in lower leverage situations to gain their footing again, not in tight situations with the game on the line.