Terry Collins was going to use Noah Syndergaard sometime tonight.
In a perfect world, the manager said he would “be up 8-0 and have him in to pitch the ninth.”
Tonight wasn’t the most ideal situation.
With only a one run lead, Syndergaard came in and pitched a scoreless seventh, but the rest of the bullpen didn’t hold up their end as the White Sox came back on the Mets and won 6-4.
As good as the bullpen has been all season and they came into the game third in the National League with a 3.05 ERA, they were bound for a market correction sometime. With 20 earned runs in 21 innings for an 8.57 ERA, it’s not a Bear Market Pen yet, but definitely into correction territory.
“You can’t walk guys late in the game,” Collins said. “Those hurt us.”
Jeurys Familia, who wasn’t available tonight, had a few rocky outings and Hansel Robles has been prone to the long ball, giving up four in his last two outing for a 23.18 ERA.
“It’s pretty obvious, command of his fastball,” Collins said of Robles. “He’s getting behind in counts… throwing the fastball right down the middle.”
Even with that turbulence, the Mets were 28-0 when leading after seven coming into tonight. No bullpen is perfect, and with the way they are generally used, the Amazin’s will probably need to fortify going into the trading season in July.
But right now, they have to ride through this storm and hopefully use this game as a learning experience, especially for starter Steven Matz.
The Mets lefty has been outstanding all season after that first start against the Marlins. Unlike Syndergaard, who electrified the crowd, Matz comes in and quickly throws strikes, which has been tremendous for him, leading the opposition and the crowd into a sleepy slumber.
However, tonight, he had his first trouble since the beginning of the season and because he lacks experience in adversity, Matz struggled in the sixth, giving up three runs and had to be bailed out by Jim Henderson for the third out.
“When I went to take him out and I asked Kevin (Plawecki) what was difference was, he said he was rushing,” Collins said. “All those balls were in the middle of the plate. We haven’t seen those kind of swings against him since the first outing of the season. You can tell something was wrong.”
With the Playoffs and World Series last season, it’s easy to forget that Matz is still a rookie and he’s bound to have some rough patches along the way.
For him it’s pace.
“He always works fast,” he said. “When you get in trouble a little bit you have to walk around the mound. You have to slow yourself down a little bit and make each pitch mean something.”
That’s easy to fix and you have to believe Matz will learn how to slow everything down. With a 4-3 lead and Syndergaard in the seven, the Mets should have won this game.
But without Familia, the Mets were an arm short for a win. There will be other times this summer when that happens. They are going to need Robles to be better or find someone else to take his role, because the way Collins uses his bullpen there will be other days when Robles will be needed in situations like this one this one.
And next time Syndergaard won’t be a bullpen specialist because he was tossed out of his start three days ago.