Jacob deGrom had the formula tonight for the Mets win. Just eat up innings and use the bullpen as little as possible.
Going 8.1 innings tonight, it was almost impossible for the arsonist ‘pen to implode in the Mets’ 8-1 win in Pittsburgh.
“Every time I go out there I want to stay in the whole game. That’s the goal,” deGrom said to reporters in Pittsburgh. “I was able to stay in there pretty late tonight. …The bullpen got used quite a bit (Thursday). To go out there tonight and kind of give them a night off was a nice thing too.”
This is the formula the Mets need every five days deGrom takes the mound. If you feel Addison Reed, in the ninth with the lead, is pretty much money in the bank, then the Mets have to get 24 outs efficiently to close out games.
That means front line starters like deGrom needs to go seven innings (21 outs) and then Terry Collins only needs to worry about getting three in the eighth.
Last season and in the second half of 2015, this wasn’t an issue because the Mets had an eighth inning setup man and a closer. But with the loss of Jeurys Familia, the back end of the ‘pen needs to be piecemealed together without the definitive setup man, until the trade market opens up.
So, if they are pitching with leads, you need to get deGrom, Zack Wheeler, and even Matt Harvey into the seventh inning to get the bulk of the 21 outs. Understand when Steven Matz comes back next week, he will be babied and will probably only allowed to throw a certain amount of pitches as he gets stretched out. The same with Seth Lugo, so on those days or when back-end guys pitch, the ‘pen will be expected to get more outs as a bridge.
Tonight was just an extreme example of what the Mets need to do to win these days.
“(DeGrom) did exactly what we needed he got us extremely deep in the game which really gave our bullpen a day off and it was well-needed,” Collins said. “He’s our guy right now and we got to have him go out and shut the other team down and he did that tonight.”
It will also be interesting to see what the Braves do with Bartolo Colon. With a 6.96 ERA, Big Sexy is in danger of losing his rotation slot and may even be designated for assignment. If that happens, the Mets may take a flier on the fan favorite, especially if it means just paying him the league minimum.
Being reunited with the Mets may help him find his old form, not to mention being able to pitch at Citi Field rather than the launching pad known as SunTrust Park. It also will help with the innings issue, since his rubber arm brought him into the seventh inning a number of times last season.
Right now, though, Colon is still with the Braves and scheduled to take his next turn and the Mets will have to deal with what they have.
That means they will have to take the gloves off on Harvey and Wheeler and hope deGrom has found that form, which made him one of the most feared pitchers in baseball two years ago.
Because if they can get the Mets to the eighth on a regular basis, then this team has a shot to turn it around.
Otherwise, it will be more of the same for Terry Collins team.