Schott: Mets Hope Bullpen Problem Solved

(David Pokress/Sportsday Wire)

The Mets’ bullpen has become a real concern in the past couple of weeks, but the acquisition of Addison Reed on Sunday will help matters.

Reed will fill the seventh inning role that was filled by Bobby Parnell until he went on the disabled list a couple of weeks ago. With Reed followed by Tyler Clippard in the eighth and Jeurys Familia in the ninth, that is as tough a back-end of the bullpen as anybody in the game.

Reed, 26 years old, is a hard-throwing righter that came up with the White Sox in 2011. He earned 29 saves as the closer in 2012, and followed that up with 40 saves in 2013. He was traded to Arizona, and he had 32 saves last season. This year, he started as the closer, but was removed from the role in May.

Mets Manager Terry Collins said on Sunday morning of acquiring an arm in the next couple days while trades can still be made, “If he gets outs, it means a lot to the team…Well, we’re tired, our bullpen’s out of gas, and to get another quality reliever would be a good move for us. Again, just, you add good people and you add experience, I mean, it helps, it’s gonna help, and again, all that energy knowing help is on the way, or some guy who can really play a big role because that’s been a big inning (the seventh) for us. I think it would be a big lift for us.”

Collins said of the pressure his pitchers face, “Every night you go out there, you’re being judged by, not just the coaching staff, but the front office, and you guys (the media), so I think anytime you take the field, there’s a challenge that you face to perform, and at the end of the season, you let the decision-makers make the decisions, so if we get another arm in here that can help and helps us win, I don’t think anybody’s going to feel bad because we’re all about right now, especially right now, that we want to win this thing.”

Despite the bullpen issues, the Mets have won so much in August that it almost is a shock whenever they lose a game or two, as they have this weekend with the Red Sox at Citi Field.

It happens, teams in baseball are not meant to win every game. The Mets came home riding a seven-game winning streak, as they swept three in Colorado and four in Philadelphia to complete a road trip in which they won eight of nine ball games.

Taking all seven against Colorado (three at Citi Field, four out there), a team that has always given the Mets trouble, shows the pre-conceived ideas on the Mets, derived from the way the last six years have gone, can be thrown out the window.

They entered Sunday with a 5 1/2 game lead over the Washington Nationals for first place in the National League East. Though it feels like ten years ago, the Mets started the month trailing the Nats by 2 games. That was amidst the Mets’ sweep of the Nationals and the arrival of Yoenis Cespedes that changed the scope of the season for both teams.

Entering Sunday, the Mets have gone 19-8 this month. The bumps in the road this month were when they were swept by the Pirates at Citi Field two weeks ago and dropping the first two of the Red Sox series.

The Mets’ schedule in September can be described as a breeze, as the only games against winning teams are the six with the Nationals and the three against the Yankees.

They have seven games with the Braves, six each with the Phillies and Marlins, and four in Cincinnati.

The other thing Mets fans with memories of “Seven-game lead with 17 to play” have to remember is, what have the Nationals shown to make anybody think they can make up a 5 1/2 game deficit with 34 games left?

The Nationals entered Sunday with a record of 65-63. If they go 26-8 down the stretch, they would, that would give them a record of 91-71. The Mets would have to go 21-12 to win it. If you don’t believe Washington will go on such a torrid pace (I want to hear from you if you do), let’s say they go 24-10, that would give them 89 victories, which means the Mets would have to go 19-14 to reach 90.

The other big worry for the Mets have to address is the innings limits for their young starters.

Collins said on Sunday morning that Steven Matz will be a starter when he returns. He also has alluded to the fact, for a while now, that they will add a starter to the rotation in September to help Matt Harvey, Jacob deGrom, and Noah Syndergaard from hitting their innings limits.

One big difference from when the Mets began August and now as it closes is you don’t hear many complaints about the lineup Collins puts out every night.

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