Mets Bullpen Woes Continue

AP Photo/Seth Wenig

Can we officially declare the Mets bullpen is the worst in baseball? Sunday afternoon at Citi Field it became official with another ninth inning implosion, though not uncommon because the Mets lost for the sixth time since May 1 when leading after eight innings.

And without closer Edwin Diaz, injured list (right shoulder impingement) Manager Carlos Mendoza has to play shuffle the deck, not your ideal situation. But, again, the bullpen is a concern as the Mets lost 5-4 to the Diamondbacks and settled for a split of the four-game series.

And no other team this season has lost more games when leading in the ninth, a statistic that defines their bullpen and team woes. A total disparity from the month of April with a bullpen that got the job done, once among the top three in baseball.

Difficult to comprehend, then again this is baseball. Is it location of pitches this time that caused the latest implosion? Pinch hitter Gabriel Moreno doubled to open the ninth against Jake Diekman. Then Ketel Marte hits a go-ahead two-run homer, his second of the game.

I don’t think I’m executing well enough in certain situations,” Diekman (1-2) said. “The homer, just two more inches in it, might be swing and miss. It might be a double down the line, but they would score one run.”

Diekman would go on and say the situation was different, if that can be explained. No matter, it was another bullpen woe that Mendoza has to fix as the Mets fell to a season high 11 games under .500 (24-35) and completed a 3-7 homestand of misery against NL West opponents.

These are woes the manager and Director of Baseball Operations David Stearns will have to fix. If not the Mets will continue to sink and they are currently closer to last place than first in the NL East. Already, the Mets are fading in the NL wild card hunt and drifting further away from the pack.

It has left a Mets fan base in disgust, and who can blame them from feeling their woes. They’re watching a team that was expected to contend yet could be irrelevant by the All-Star break.

Not good,” said Mendoza about the latest bullpen implosion and losing homestand. “We have to play better, especially here at home in front of our fan base. Now we go on a road trip, and we have to start some W’s.”

The road trip includes three at the Nationals, a team ahead of them in the standings, mixed with two off days and going across the pond to oppose the league leading Phillies in London.

A Mets fan and Mendoza can look at the Diamondbacks of last year, a team that had a horrendous first half and also with bullpen struggles. They rebounded, inched in as a NL Wild card team with 84 wins and eventually went to the World Series.

Though this appears much worse because Stearns has to be looking at the late July trade deadline and roster reconstruction, while inside the quiet Mets clubhouse they won’t quit. They continue to say the obvious about a team that stays close in ballgames. Then again, they won’t point the finger at anyone about who is to blame for their bullpen woes.

It was that type of homestand and bullpen implosion, highlighted with Jorge Lopez tossing his glove into the stands, a misinterpretation of postgame comments, and then designated for assignment the following day.

Mendoza had more shuffling to do in the ninth and could not use right-hander Drew Smith who was activated from the injured list. The move backfired with the switch-hitting Marte and his home run off Diekman. Fellow right-hander Sean Reid Foley came out of the pen after the Mets lost the lead. The struggle was an attempt to get a win and it was moving along with four scoreless innings from Dedniel Nunez, Danny Young, Reed Garrett and Adam Ottavino before the latest implosion.

I decided to go with a clean inning,” Mendoza said, knowing the Diamondbacks were going to a pinch-hit situation. “At some point, you are going to have a match up you didn’t want. It didn’t work.”

A taxed pen, yes especially when the starters fail to go five innings, a recurring theme during this stretch. Jose Quintana provided four innings, allowing three runs. He walked two, hit two batters and gave up two home runs (11 home runs- 62.2 innings) tying his mark of last year.

Regardless, Mendoza has to continue this shuffle because Diaz, also ineffective during the homestand, is not expected to return anytime soon. Indeed, the Mets have to find a way and soon as their season continues to slip away.

Mendoza said bits and pieces were put together until that ninth inning. Once again, those pieces added more woes to a bullpen and another Mets loss.

Rich Mancuso: X (Formerly Twitter) @Ring786 Mancuso

About the Author

Rich Mancuso

Rich Mancuso is a regular contributor at NY Sports Day, covering countless New York Mets, Yankees, and MLB teams along with some of the greatest boxing matches over the years. He is an award winning sports journalist and previously worked for The Associated Press, New York Daily News, Gannett, and, in a career that spans almost 40 years.

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