By: Glenn Brewer

Bullpen Assignments


Beyond all of the Utley mess (which was an incredibly dirty “slide”!), some concerns still remain with the bullpen. Other than Familia, the bullpen needs to be handled with care. It is important to have the pitchers in the bullpen know there assignment each game. Unfortunately this bullpen needs to mix and match until the ninth inning or for a possible four out save like Game one. The playoffs are a different beast from the regular season. Most playoff games will be decided in the late innings, especially with the starting pitching matchups this series holds. The magnifying glass is more intense in October.

The Mets willingly went into the playoffs without a true lefty specialist. The move from the rotation to the bullpen for Jonathan Niese has not gone especially well. In game two, Adrian Gonzalez was able to produce a big blow when getting a two out double off of Addison Reed. Up until this at bat, Gonzalez was held to just one hit in the two games. Reed has had a strong start as a member of the New York Mets, but this was not a favorable match up for Reed. Although Reed has better split stats verse lefties, Gonzalez feasts on mistake pitches. Reed has had a tendency to keep the ball up the past two seasons, and that is in fact what happened on a 0-2 pitch. Contributing to the problem was that Gonzalez had seen 100 mph fast balls all night on the outside corner and Reed entered with a much more manageable fastball on the inside part of the plate. Later, Collins went to Niese to end the treacherous seventh inning. In my opinion, this was a batter too late to bring in the lefty.

Reed still has plenty of value out of the bullpen, but it would be best for Collins to not automatically give him the seventh inning. Although this is not a typically strong bullpen, they still have very useful and unique styles. Tyler Clippard has struggled since returning from a back injury, which is another reason Clippard should not be handed the eighth inning. Clippard, Robles, Reed, and Goeddel have the diversity and makeup to bridge the gap to Familia. Robles provided a strong inning of relief in game two and will most likely be the first righty out of the pen Monday night after Harvey. Niese will need to provide a reason for being on the playoff roster and face lefties like Gonzalez, Utley, Crawford and Seager.

Bartolo Colon has been a great veteran pitcher the last two years, but coming out of the bullpen is obviously not a comfortable situation for him. Colon was brought into a very difficult position in game two after primarily being used as a starter in his 17- year career. The veteran experience and calmness may have been the reason that Collins was more inclined to bring Colon in that situation. Colon would be better suited as the long man out of the bullpen or at the very least start a fresh inning. The numbers against Kendrick were good for Colon, but this was a situation that required a strikeout.

Familia was spared an appearance in game two and will be fresh and ready for a three plus out save opportunity. All Mets fan’s hopes are for a normal Harvey start, allowing the bullpen to be used sparingly. Game four will have Matz taking the mound, and will need the help from the bullpen. The combination of all the array of pitches that this bullpen possesses will be needed in these next couple games. Now is the time to go with the best pitcher for a specific batter and stay away from the normal inning assignment routine.

About Glenn Brewer

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