Robert Gsellman allowed four home runs and suffered his second straight defeat as the Mets lost, 12-0, to the Dodgers late Tuesday night in Los Angeles.
Gsellman allowed eight runs, seven earned, on nine hits in 4 and 1/3 innings.
"You've got Gsellman, who lives and dies with ground balls, and they are hitting balls over the fence in the first inning," manager Terry Collins lamented after the game. "It just tells you movement is not there, he's location is not there."
It marked the second consecutive time he allowed at least six runs in an outing after he had not given up more than three runs since May 13.
"I've just been getting my butt kicked out there," Gsellman said about his two recent performances. "I haven't been executing pitches. The batters are just too comfortable up there."
In his last two starts, Gsellman has allowed a total of six home runs.
"They've been hot," Rene Rivera said after the game, according to MLB.com. "They're hitting the ball out of the ballpark. That's all they're doing is hitting the ball out of the ballpark.
Gsellman is a sinker ball pitcher. I know you it, you know it, he knows it and the Dodgers know it. It's who he is. Yet, all night long he was throwing letter-high two-seam fastballs right over the plate. And, as any good team would do, the Dodgers treated it like batting practice, swinging from their heels and crushing no-doubt home runs to all parts of the ballpark.
The worst part is that it isn't like Gsellman made this mistake once or twice, he did it over and over and over again. Also, it wasn't just one pitch he struggled to command, he spread it around, hanging two-seamers, sliders and curve balls. It's fine to miss the strike zone, there's a strategy to it and a vital part of pitching. I don't know if he was trying to be too cute and lost his handle, or if he was just off entirely from the outset (including in the bullpen before the game). But, whatever was happening, it was really, really bad and frustrating to watch, because we know how awesome and effective he can be when he's on his game.
I've said before that Gsellman reminds me of Bartolo Colon in how he uses a variety of fastballs to get weak contact and ground balls for outs. I wonder if, also like Colon, he pitches better tired and in bunches of starts, only to become tight and lose command for a few weeks as well.
Jun 15, 2017; Gsellman (65) goes to the dugout after the fifth inning. Credit: Murray-USA TODAY
For instance, Gsellman has given up six home runs and has a 13.50 ERA during his last two starts, during which opponents are batting .417 against him. However, in the four starts before that, he had a 2.16 ERA, gave up just two home runs batters hit only .204 against him.
It's worth noting that in those four successful starts, he faced the Brewers, Padres, Braves and Pirates, who have a combined .458 winning percentage. Meanwhile, during his last two starts, when he was rocked, he faced the Nationals and Dodgers, both of whom are in playoff contention with a combined .622 winning percentage. In other words, the quality of the competition may have bit to do with his results, as well.
In either case, I don't care if you're facing a first-place team or last-place team, or if you're Gsellman, Colon or Doc Gooden, if you are predictable and repeatedly throw 93-mph meatballs over the plate in hitter's counts, you're going to get hammered, and deservedly so, and that is exactly what happened to Gsellman last night in Los Angeles.