Gerson Bautista was the benefactor of the Mets burning their bullpen Monday night. The young right-hander got the emergency call up from Double-A and made his major league debut with a scoreless ninth inning in the Mets 5-2 loss to the Nationals.
“Our bullpen, right now we needed a guy. Unfortunately, when something like last night happens, or you play an extra-inning game, somebody loses their job temporarily,” manager Mickey Callaway said. “Unfortunately for Robles, he’s been pitching great, he had to go down. It’s the business side of things.”
Bautista gave up a double and walked a batter, but got out of the inning unscathed. His first major-league strikeout came against Ryan Zimmerman. He is a potentially exciting future bullpen arm.
The 22-year-old Bautista, who the Mets acquired last summer when they dealt Addison Reed to the Red Sox, features a 100-mph fastball with inconsistent control.
“He has lots of upside, but there is room for added strength,” said a National League scout who saw Bautista this season. “He has plus fastball velocity and movement. It’s nice and easy out of his hand. He’s a two-pitch pitcher. His slider doesn’t have much bite, lots of room for improvement there.”
Bautista said he got the call up at 10:30 Tuesday morning, meaning the Mets did not have much time to get a reliever from Triple-A.
Robles was 2-0 with a 3.38 ERA in eight games and was part of the bullpen’s meltdown Monday night. While Callaway said he did not hear and did not mind the criticism of his bullpen usage contributing to Monday night’s meltdown, the Mets were clearly sensitive to it. They were privately pushing the stats that they ranked middle-of the pack among big league teams in innings pitched for the bullpen (55.1) and starters innings pitched.
The Mets conveniently omitted the fact that their bullpen is ranked tops in the big league in average leverage index, a stat measuring how many games their relievers pitched in high-stress situations. Jeurys Familia, coming off surgery last season, AJ Ramos and Jerry Blevins are tied for the most appearances in the NL with 10 through the first 15 games.
STEALING THE NIGHT
The Nationals ran rampant over the Mets Tuesday night. They went 3-for-3 stealing bases and all three stolen bases led to a run scored.
The Mets have allowed 21 stolen bases this season, the most in the majors. They have caught one on a pickoff.
“I thought the pitchers did really good,” Callaway said. “I think they were a 1.2 (seconds to the catcher) to a 1.27. (Tomas Nido’s) throws just weren’t on target. He had the arm strength to get them, but the throws weren’t on target. You have to be almost perfect on their guys running.”
With Travis d’Arnaud (Tommy John) out for the season and Kevin Plawecki out at least three weeks with a hairline fracture in his right hand, the Mets are relying on Nido, who was in Double-A until the injuries hit last week, and veteran Jose Lobaton. Sandy Alderson said that the Mets are comfortable with that tandem for the short term, but maybe the Mets GM will be a little more motivated to look on the trade market for a catcher with stolen bases contributing to losses.
Jason Vargas threw six innings in an intrasquad game in Florida Tuesday and came through it very well. The veteran lefty, who is working his way back from surgery to remove the hamate bone in his right hand, struck out 12 while pitching from behind a protective screen.
“He came through great,” Mets pitching coach Dave Eiland said. “He’s ready.”
But Vargas has not been able to catch or field a ball yet, so he will need a minor league rehab game. That would likely be Sunday and after that he could possibly be ready to make his season debut.
Wilmer Flores hosted children from Brooklyn’s El Puente program before the game. Flores hosted children from youth programs from the area last season and will continue it this year as part of his Friends of Flores program.
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