For the first time in what seemed like an eternity, I went to sleep last night and slept like a baby. After a satisfying Mets win over the Yankees on Sunday night it felt like a great big weight was lifted off me. Sure, I know the Mets are still in some dire straights and that there’s still much work to be done, but after eight straight losses, a win against our crosstown rivals offered me a much needed reprieve and something to feel good about. They say that all great comebacks begin with just one victory, so who knows, maybe this was the one for our down on their luck Amazins.
There were some great takeaways from Sunday’s 2-0 nail-biter and yes, a not-so-great takeaway as well. For a brief moment we all held our collective breaths in that dramatic 8th inning when Jose Reyes gave us two errors for the price of one. We braced ourselves for what would surely be another gut-crushing episode of the Mets snatching defeat from the jaws of a clear victory. But on this one damp and sweltering night, the baseball gods shone down on Flushing and somehow the Mets navigated their way out of their perilous predicament and made it to the winner’s circle.
And maybe more important than salvaging another demoralizing sweep, was the emergence of one Seth Lugo who delivered a remarkable closing argument on why he should be a fixture in the Mets starting rotation.
The Louisiana native spun six masterful shutout innings, allowing just two hits and striking out a career-high eight batters en route to his second win of the season. If you ever needed any clear and convincing evidence that this young man deserves to be slotted behind Jacob deGrom and Noah Syndergaard, his 1.77 ERA now ranks as the fourth-best in the Major Leagues among qualified starters. Case closed.
Overshadowed perhaps, but certainly not forgotten, was yet another scoreless performance by right-hander Robert Gsellman who continues to take to his late inning relief role like white on rice. Hailing from Santa Monica, Gsellman looks more like a surfer than a baseball player, that is until you see him on the mound and watch him deal. He held the baby bombers to just one hit in three scoreless innings of relief this weekend, and more and more as this season unfurls, he’s looking like the heir apparent to Jeurys Familia, who may be vacating his closer role after the season when free agency beckons.
Gsellman, 24, has made it look too easy working out of that Mets bullpen, holding the opposition to a .219 batting average and collecting six holds, five wins and two saves in the process. All in a day’s work for the G-Man who now has a 2.91 ERA and 1.235 WHIP on the season with a 8.6 strikeout/9 rate. He may not look that dominating when you observe him, but he relies on a craftiness usually reserved for southpaws like Mark Buehrle and Jamie Moyer. He’s so much fun to watch and even when he’s in trouble, nothing seems to faze him. I love that about him.
I don’t know what the future holds for Robert Gsellman, but for now he’s exactly what the Mets need out of that bullpen; a workhorse who can grind it out whenever he’s called upon and is able to deliver multiple innings at a time. He’s already pitched more than one inning in 11 of his 30 appearances this season and now ranks second in the National League with 39.2 innings pitched, less than one inning away from the leader T.J. McFarland. Well done, G-Man.
Thank you to both Lugo and Gsellman for finally allowing me to get a good night’s sleep. And a hat tip to Todd Frazier too. LGM