There’s a new style of winning in Queens, and it's all about the bullpen.
The Mets' pen tossed five scoreless innings on Wednesday, en route to a 4-2 win over the Phillies. The win went to Robert Gsellman, who pitched a perfect 5th and 6th in relief of a shaky Noah Syndergaard. Gsellman is one of a few pitchers who are relishing their new role in the refurbished bullpen.
It sure looks like Mickey Callaway is having an effect.
Fixing the bullpen dominated a large of offseason chatter. The only addition made was the acquisition of Anthony Swarzak. And while some fans were disappointed in the lack of action, Callaway is proving that the guys he needed to build a successful bullpen were already on the roster. It's early, but the 2018 Mets bullpen has a collective 1.33 ERA, has earned two of the team's four wins, and is perfect in converting save opportunities.
The most fascinating elements of the new-look pen are Seth Lugo and aforementioned Gsellman. While Lugo initially got a nod for the rotation, Gsellman was passed over fairly early in camp. It seems to have lit a fire under him. He’s been damn near untouchable in his relief role, having faced 13 batters and allowed only two hits on the season. Moreover, he’s retired seven of those batters via the strikeout.
The other guys are getting it done, too. AJ Ramos has yet to allow a run in his 2.2 innings of work. Swarzak, although just placed on the DL, has been a solid new addition. Even everyone’s favorite sky pointer, Hansel Robles, got in on the action. Called back up to the Majors to fill Swarzak’s role, Robles pitched a brilliant seventh inning last night, as he struck out the side in order.
While Mickey’s mix-and-match approach of the bullpen is getting the buzz, he’s made it clear that one thing isn’t changing: Jeurys Familia is still the Mets closer. Familia been given all three of the Mets save opportunities and has converted them all.
Bringing on Callaway as skipper has already shown its dividends. He’s finding strengths in all of the pitchers and getting the most out of them. He’s finding situations to use every arm, and trusting them to get the job done. The Mets have adapted. It has resulted in a more dangerous bullpen, it’s getting this team wins it wouldn’t have gotten in the past. It's a beautiful thing.
Not only did it seal the victory, Yoenis Céspedes' monster grand slam taught Mets fans a lesson worth remembering this season: Don't panic over a couple of losses. Not with this team.