MLB: San Diego Padres at New York Mets

Game recap June 3: When the bullpen moves actually work

Welcome to pitcher abuse weekend! Throughout the country, college managers will ask their pitchers to go further than ever before or come back on short rest to try and survive playing up to five games in four days. I expected to see closers coming in for multiple innings. I expected to groan as young pitchers with bright futures set personal records for most pitches thrown in a game. I didn’t expect to see these things when I took a break to watch the pros! Apparently Terry Collins’ pitcher management can still surprise us.

Maybe Collins thinks he’s about to be eliminated? It’s hard to come up with another reason for why he used his pitchers like this was a playoff game instead of the one-third mark of the regular season. Having Robert Gsellman throw a career high 109 pitches and asking Addison Reed to try and complete his first two-inning save is a big ask. The Mets managed to win 4-2, but the team’s goal is to make the playoffs. Pushing pitchers this much seems completely unsustainable.

The Mets’ most reliable skill is their power hitting, and they teed off against struggling Pittsburgh right-hander Tyler Glasnow. Neil Walker continued to torment his former team with a two-run homer in the first. Jay Bruce lofted a ball just over Andrew McCutchen’s glove for a solo shot in the third. Wilmer Flores opened the fourth with another home run. It felt like Glasnow – who was a staggering 1.6 wins below replacement coming into the game – would serve up a homer every inning until the Pirates pulled him.

Meanwhile, Gsellman largely had the type of game we’ve come to expect from him as a starting pitcher. When he got sink and kept the ball low, he got a bunch of ground balls and some strikeouts. Any time the ball got elevated, Gsellman got hit relatively hard. The biggest difference today was Gsellman’s ability (and luck) in stranding runners on base. He also bucked the trend of Mets starters asked to go one more inning by actually getting an out before inevitably running out of gas and leaving with multiple runners on base. Fernando Salas came in to squash the threat in the sixth. Jerry Blevins worked around an Asdrubal Cabrera error on a routine play in the seventh.

Since Collins had already used his two favorite setup guys, he went straight to the closer in the eighth. At first it wasn’t clear if Reed was really being asked for a two-out save in early June or if he was being demoted. Would Josh Edgin come in for the ninth to face one of the lefties in the top of the Pirates’ batting order? Edgin warmed up alongside Reed but didn’t throw another warmup pitch once Reed got the call. Reed struggled in the eighth, giving up a double, walk, and then three straight balls before getting out of the jam. He threw 24 pitches that inning, but Collins never called to the bullpen to get someone else up. I can’t remember watching a game where my team won, no one got hurt, but I walked away utterly dejected about the team’s future.

What’s Next?

Tyler Pill looks for his first big league win today. Hopefully he gets some sleep instead of watching his alma mater play their nightcap playoff game.

Photo credit: Andy Marlin – USA Today Sports

Related Articles

Leave a comment

Use your Baseball Prospectus username