After losing four in a row, the Mets desperately needed this win. Sure, it’s still Apr. 19 and it was a crisp night in the 40s, but as April games go, the Mets needed to stay over the .500 mark.
With a 5-4 win over the Phillies, they did.
But even with the tally in the positive, the club still showed the same problems they had had during the four-game skid. They waste great starting effort and generally score with the home run. And that bullpen has been terrible.
Correct that, these have been the Mets problems for the last year, going back to Opening Day 2016 and no, you are not suffering from déjà vu with Lucas Duda and Travis d’Arnaud leaving the game with injuries.
There is some good news here, besides everything about Jay Bruce, today was the 15th game of the season, meaning tomorrow the Mets will activate Jeurys Familia from the restricted list because his MLB mandated debt will be paid in full.
Frankly, he can’t get here fast enough, either. Familia will slot right in at the end of the bullpen, giving Addison Reed the eighth. Manager Terry Collins will just have to piecemeal together the seventh, but with those two workhorses, it makes the bullpen machine much more well-oiled.
Look, it’s not Collins fault the bullpen has been rather porous this season. We knew going in this was a top-heavy squad with a number arms in the middle looking better in Las Vegas than Citi Field. But Collins was forced to use the Josh Smokers and Josh Edgins of the world in places where they probably should have been used.
And because Familia was on the shelf, Fernando Salas was overused these past 15 games, making it tough for the reliever to stay sharp every time out.
Familia is not going to be a savior, but he is going to be a big piece. When the suspension came down with a light 15 games, you hoped the Mets would be able to endure and not feel the loss. As these things go, though, they did over the past week. You have to think the Mets would have one one or two of those losses if Familia was on the club.
If you are MLB, then they see the system working, because the Mets were punished along with Familia, so the system works.
Much like the game plan in tonight’s game with Robert Gsellman pitching into the eighth, while the offense was centered around the home run.
“We really needed him to go deep tonight with the bullpen being exhausted,” Collins said.
But without Salas available tonight, the Mets had to watch Jerry Blevins give up the tying run, only to be saved by Bruce again.
Last season, Reed did so well in that setup role, teaming with Familia to form a deadly combination at the end of the game.
Tomorrow, Reed can go back to that role, with Familia shutting down the ninth.
And the rest of the bullpen can fall into place.
Tonight the Mets stopped the bleeding and tomorrow the bullpen crisis will be hopefully over with the Nationals coming in on Friday.