2021 NY Mets: Bullpen Struggles in Season-Opening Series

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2021 NY Mets: Opening bullpen struggles
PHILADELPHIA, PA - APRIL 05: Aaron Loup #32 of the New York Mets looks on from the mound against the Philadelphia Phillies in the bottom of the eighth inning at Citizens Bank Park on April 5, 2021 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The Phillies defeated the Mets 5-3. (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)

After a brief delay, the 2021 NY Mets opened their season this week with a series with the Philadelphia Phillies. After a stellar offseason in which they added the richest owner in baseball and one of the top players in the game, Mets fans were brought back to reality real quick.

As expected, ace Jacob deGrom put together a stellar effort on Opening Day, tossing six shutout innings. deGrom left with a 2-0 lead, and about an inning and a half later, the bullpen gave up a five-run eighth inning and the Mets went on to lose 5-3.

The following night the Mets bounced back and pick up their first win of the season behind homers from Pete Alonso and Dominic Smith. They were able to hold on for an 8-4, but as always it was never with this Mets bullpen.

Then on Wednesday afternoon, the Mets pitching, in general, was just nowhere to be found. David Peterson got them into an early hole, but was able to settle down and keep the team in the game, before Jacob Barnes blew it all up on one pitch.

Safe to say it was a real rough opening series in that Mets bullpen. Let’s take a look at some of the performances from this group.

2021 NY Mets Bullpen Struggles – Opening Night

Miguel Castro was the first reliever used behind deGrom in Monday night’s game. After a spectacular spring, Castro came in and put together a solid first inning of work for his 2021 NY Mets season.

Trevor May then came on for his Mets debut, and it certainly didn’t go as planned. May’s struck out Adam Haseley to start his inning but wasn’t able to record another out.

Brad Miller came off the bench and lined a single to right, May then issued a walk to Andrew McCutchen. After Rhys Hoskins singled to load the bases, May was pulled from the game for the left-hander.

Aaron Loup came on for his Mets debut, and he struggled as well. He hit the first batter he faced, Bryce Harper, to bring in a run. Loup then got the ground ball he was looking for, but a Luis Guillorme throwing error brought in two more runs to give the Phillies a two-run lead.

Didi Gregorius lined a sac fly to right to make it 5-3, then Loup got Jean Segura to ground out and end the inning. Really not the debut the 2021 NY Mets were looking for from their two big offseason bullpen additions.

2021 NY Mets – Bumpy Road to First Win

Behind another excellent outing, this time from Marcus Stroman, the Mets bullpen certainly kept things interesting on Tuesday night.

Pitching on back-to-back days, both Castro and May struggled a bit. After striking out the first two batters he faced, Miggy allowed back-to-back lasers to Haseley and Hoskins for the Phillies’ second run of the game.

Alec Bohm singled, and Castro threw another wild pitch to put two in scoring position, but he was able to work out of the inning.

May came on for the eighth again, and ran into some trouble after retiring the first batter. Singles from Gregorius and Segura put two on, then a wild pitch moved them both into scoring position.

May was able to settle down and strike out both Miller and Roman Quinn to end the inning.

Jeurys Familia received the ninth inning, and he also struggled to an extent but didn’t pitch terribly. The righty allowed two runs, one earned, on two hits while walking one and striking out one.

The Mets were lucky to hold onto this one, the bullpen was really playing with fire often in the 8-4 win.

2021 NY Mets – No-Show in Series Finale

As I mentioned above, David Peterson put the Mets into a deep hole early on in this one. Peterson allowed four runs in the bottom of the first on Hoskins and Bohm homers.

He was able to settle down and keep things close, until his last inning of work. Leading off the bottom of the fifth, Hoskins doubled and Harper reached on a bunt single, chasing Peterson from the game.

Jacob Barnes came in making his Mets debut, and J.T. Realmuto jumped all over a first-pitch fastball for a three-run homer to put the game out of reach. Dellin Betances got the next inning, and his spring struggles continued.

The once hard-throwing righty sat around 91-92 MPH on his fastball, and struggled with command. He hit the first batter he faced, followed by another walk. His lone run scored on a ground out, but it wasn’t a very encouraging first outing.

The lone bright spot on the pitching side of thing on Wednesday for the Mets was Joey Lucchesi. With his spot skipped in the rotation this time around, the funky left-hander allowed just one hit and struck out three in relief.

This outing was definitely was a nice little debut for the lefty.

2021 NY Mets Bullpen – Help on the Way?

Seth Lugo underwent surgery to fix a loose bone spur in his elbow earlier this offseason. Rojas said Sunday that the crafty right-hander began throwing two days ahead of schedule, and he was playing catch from up to 75 feet this past week. Lugo certainly seems to be progressing pretty well.

Drew Smith, on the other hand, seems to be moving a bit slower. Smith experienced shoulder soreness in camp, and he has since started playing catch. Rojas said Smith has started ramping up distance, but the team is going to take it slow with him due to his past arm issues.

Veteran right-hander Tommy Hunter was added to the alternate site last week on a minor league deal, him and Arodys Vizcaino seem like two guys who may be able to help this bullpen at some point this season.

No matter what though, this group is going to need to pick things up and regroup heading into the team’s home-opening series with the Miami Marlins.

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Main image credit: Embed from Getty Images

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