As the Mets rotation has increasingly become a desperate bunch of relatively interchangeable substitute scraps, their bullpen hasn’t fared any better. Over the past month, the team’s relief corps has been the worst in baseball—below replacement level as a unit, actively costing wins rather than doing anything to help earn them.
One telling number here is how many times they’ve pulled their relievers. The median figure among all teams over the past month has been 56. The Mets? 81. They’ve played 26 games in that time, and they’ve pulled relievers on 81 separate occasions—eight more than the second-place team here, even though the Mets are only eighth in bullpen innings pitched. This is not from any brilliant use of match-up strategy. It’s simply because the Mets have so few quality relievers and manager Terry Collins seemingly cannot think of any quality way in which to use them.
He’s asked relievers to go on zero days’ rest far more often than has any other team—a practice that R.J. Anderson wrote about at CBS Sports two weeks ago, which has only gotten worse since. The Mets have used their bullpen arms on back-to-back days 58 times so far this season, while no other team has done it more than 45.
Last night was particularly illustrative here, a 5-4 loss to the Pirates in 10 innings:
Neil Ramirez, who signed with the team two weeks ago after being placed on waivers by the Giants and then cut by the Blue Jays, is suddenly the seventh-inning man. Fernando Salas has been a disaster, pitching here for the fourth time in five days and allowing 37 baserunners in 22 relief innings this season. Jerry Blevins and Addison Reed have been by-and-large perfectly adequate, if not deployed in a way that makes particular use of that adequacy. Who is Tyler Pill??? (A 27-year-old rookie, apparently.) This is the set that the Mets have been relying on lately, with closer Jeurys Familia out courtesy of a blood clot in his shoulder and Hansel Robles demoted to Triple-A.
The Mets. Beautiful.