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January 17, 2019

Ackert: Disastrous Mets bullpen bounces back in second game of doubleheader after imploding in afternoon

May 29, 2018

ATLANTA — The Mets hit a new low Monday afternoon and very early Tuesday morning, they began clawing their way back. After a gut-punch of a loss in the afternoon game of a day-night, rain-delayed doubleheader, the Mets rallied for a comeback win long after midnight.

The bullpen blew yet another Jacob deGrom start and the Braves walked off a 4-3 win in the first game of a Memorial Day split doubleheader and then dropped to .500 for the first time this season.

Then in a nightcap delayed by rain for nearly three hours, the Mets bullpen backed up P.J. Conlon and the offense rallied three times for a 8-5 win at SunTrust Park.

Hours before, when the Mets season sunk to 25-25, Mickey Callaway acknowledge that it has felt like gray rain clouds have followed them around for the last month.

“Right now, the way things have been going, I feel OK that we’re 25-25. To tell you the truth,” the first year Mets manager said. “That’s how bad it’s been going.”

The once sunny prospects for the Mets after their red-hot start to the season, were looking cloudier with this shaky bullpen and a rookie manager figuring out how to get the most out of it. Callaway, who seemed to make every right call when the team started the season 11-1, knew that losing the first game, with his ace on the mound was a gut-punch of a loss for the team and the bullpen.

Seth Lugo has been mostly dependable for the Mets, but he let two leads get away Monday. (John Bazemore/AP)

“Things just aren’t going our way. They’ll snap out of it eventually,” Callaway said. “It’s tough right now. I am sure they are feeling a lot of pressure that we’ve got to get the job done and they will.”

And maybe when most of their fans had already called it a night, the bullpen did get the job done. They pieced together seven solid innings with three scoreless from Hansel Robles, a tough one-run inning from Robert Gsellman, a perfect inning from Jacob Rhame that was finished off by two from Jeurys Familia

That has to help ease the sick feeling that the afternoon game left the Mets with when the bullpen blew yet another brilliant start by deGrom.

Callaway had a plan going into the day with two games scheduled, bad weather in the forecast and an already taxed bullpen.

“Going into the day, if deGrom went seven (innings) we were going to go Lugo for two,” Callaway said of his move to Lugo. “If he didn’t go seven we were going to mix and match and close with (Jeurys) Familia. We got exactly what we wanted out of deGrom, we just didn’t get what we wanted out of Lugo.”

Robert Gsellman and the Mets bullpen redeemed themselves in Game 2.
Robert Gsellman and the Mets bullpen redeemed themselves in Game 2.

Though Lugo had been one of the Mets’ most reliable relievers lately.

Ozzie Albies led off with a bunt against Lugo, who made a wide throw to Jay Bruce at first, and Freddie Freeman singled. Nick Markakis’ sacrifice fly snapped Lugo’s scoreless streak and tied the game. Lugo got out of the inning without doing any more damage.

When Devin Mesoraco homered in the top of the ninth to give the Mets the lead, Familia got up in the bullpen. Amed Rosario singled with one out and Callaway sent Lugo to the plate. Familia, who has not pitched since blowing a save Wednesday night, stopped warming up at that point.

“If Lugo’s spot in the order would have come up where we could have impacted the game, we would have hit for him and closed with Familia, then you are down again,” Callaway said. “We had one of our best relievers in the game. We just lost it.”

Lugo struck out, Brandon Nimmo struck out and Rosario was stranded.

Jacob deGrom leads the National League in ERA, but the Mets are just 5-6 in his starts.
Jacob deGrom leads the National League in ERA, but the Mets are just 5-6 in his starts. (John Bazemore/AP)

And in the bottom of the inning, Charlie Culberson hit a two-run, pinch-hit walk off home run off of Lugo.

It was the 22nd time in his career deGrom handed a lead off to the bullpen and they blew it.

“He’s doing what he always does. We have to be better than that,” Lugo said. “Those are the games we have to win. We have to make some adjustments and make better pitches.”

At least in the early morning hours of Tuesday, the Mets bullpen rebounded from a very bad afternoon.

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