Danny Abriano, SNY.tv | Twitter |
The Mets' bullpen nearly let a 6-2 lead evaporate against the Marlins on Tuesday night, as most of the pitchers who came out of the 'pen struggled. And while Mickey Callaway's bullpen management was questioned during the game, something he revealed after the game made it even more curious.
Here are three reasons why his bullpen management -- which must improve if the Mets want to contend in a division that is expected to be the toughest in baseball -- left a lot to be desired on Tuesday night...
Lugo was left in while struggling -- and sick
Lugo entered in the seventh inning with the Mets leading 6-2. After getting two quick outs, here's how his inning went: Single, hit by pitch, run-scoring single, run-scoring single, fly out to left field. 6-2 became 6-4 and Lugo's night should've been over there. Instead, Lugo -- who Callaway revealed after the game was pitching while sick -- was left in to start the eighth inning.
In the eighth, he allowed three more batters to reach before giving way to Justin Wilson, who allowed an inherited runner to score as the Mets' lead was cut to 6-5.
Lugo's performance in the seventh inning alone was enough to take him out -- not even taking into consideration that he has been sick. When you combine the performance with him being sick, that he came back out to start the eighth inning is an egregious mistake.
Jason Vargas was taken out too early
Yes, the same Jason Vargas who some (including yours truly) were bemoaning in the first and second inning, was pulled too early. Vargas was hit hard over the first couple of innings, but eventually settled in, allowing two runs on eight hits while walking one and striking out two in 5.0 innings.
In most other circumstances, five-and-fly for Vargas would've been the right move. But on a night when Lugo was sick and both Jeurys Familia and Edwin Diaz were unavailable, the Mets needed to try to get another inning out of Vargas. Instead, he was pulled after throwing just 74 pitches, which was something Callaway said after the game was the plan: "Vargie gives us five, we're gonna bring in that combination of three (relievers) for the next four innings."
The situation was a byproduct of early misuse of Edwin Diaz
With the Mets leading 7-3 on Monday night, Diaz was brought in to close out the game when the Mets should've turned to one of their other relievers. Because Diaz was used -- and worked in and out of trouble while throwing 29 pitches -- he was unavailable on Tuesday night.
Familia -- now the eighth inning man -- was also unavailable on Tuesday night.
Callaway needs to do a better job of making sure at least one of his closer-types is available on a given night -- even if it means better management of how and when they warm up in the bullpen for potential appearances. That they were both unavailable on a night when Lugo was sick and Vargas was pitching put the Mets in a bad spot, and it's something they should do their best to avoid happening again.