PHILADELPHIA – It took exactly one game for the Mets’ biggest concern coming out of spring training to be exposed.
Simply the bullpen.
Concerns at camp primarily centered on depth behind Edwin Diaz, Trevor May and Aaron Loup, but in the season opener against the Phillies, two of those reliable products failed, leaving the Mets 0-1 for the first time. since 2016.
May and Loup, the two shiny new toys in the bullpen (they came on free-agent contracts over the winter) combined to allow five runs in the eighth inning, and the Mets never recovered in a 5-3 loss.
Miguel Castro, Jeurys Familia, Dellin Betances, Robert Gsellman and Jacob Barnes are the other pieces of the bullpen, but as manager Luis Rojas indicated on Tuesday, it begins with May and Loup in the role of preparers. Call them options Nos. 1A and 1B.
“They’re guys who have pitched in a lot of high-leverage scenarios in their careers and in recent history, and they have the stuff to navigate through the middle of the lineup and navigate through hard hitters like Bryce Harper,” said Rojas. Tuesday before. the Mets faced the Phillies. “Those guys are definitely key guys in the bullpen, so they were key acquisitions for us in the offseason, and that’s what they showed us in camp as well, how good they are and that we also have more guns.
“I know we are talking about those two by [Monday] night, but those guys are going to get big outs, and those two guys could save us this season too, so we trust them a lot. “
May loaded the bases Monday with one out before Loup came in and dropped Harper. JT Realmuto’s next RBI single produced another run and two more scored on an errant shot by Luis Guillorme that James McCann was unable to secure.
“First outing in the majors in another uniform, very excited to come here, we had a three-day break, it’s just a lot of accumulated excitement for the day and not the way you want it to end,” May said.
Another potential option in that lead prep role, Seth Lugo, began pitching last week after undergoing surgery in February to remove a bone spur from his right elbow. The Mets are hopeful that Lugo can return in mid-May.
Familia and Betances started last season as top picks in the setup role, but both are trying to regain confidence after disappointing seasons. Most alarming has been Betances’ slowdown, but Familia’s streak and leadership issues are also a concern.
“Family is going to be a great weapon for us in the bullpen,” Rojas said. “We used it differently last year. We liked how he responded in terms of wearing it for more than one inning, that’s something he hasn’t done in a while, and he did it last year and helped us get through the tough season. I think this year he did a job in camp to get in the position to play two innings, and the most important thing for him is to go in and attack the zone and make the hitters swing, with his sinker, with the splitter the cutter. ” .
Referring to Familia and Betances, Rojas said: “They are not out of the winning equation, we have that situation here as a bullpen. They make our bullpen really deep. “