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3 Up, 3 Down: Mets Split Winnable Series in Pittsburgh

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Bullpen collapses and a streaky offense were the main causes of pain for the New York Mets in Pittsburgh.

After splitting their series against the Nationals, the Mets also had to settle for a series split with the Pirates to finish 4-4 on the road trip.

There were yet more implosions from a bullpen teetering on the edge, while an up-and-down offense also contributed to a disappointing finish to a long week.

And, on that note, let’s dive into another edition of 3 Up, 3 Down…

3 UP

Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

UNLIKELY HERO 

Luis Torrens continues to make big-time contributions for the Mets. Getting the start in Saturday’s game, the veteran went 3-for-4 at the plate in an offensive outburst. More importantly, he delivered a clutch two-out, three-run double that helped New York secure a 5-2 win. Torrens has been arguably the pickup of the year for the Mets, and his offensive upside makes him a valuable weapon to have in reserve.

COMEBACK KING

Edwin Díaz‘s absence was certainly felt. Serving a 10-game suspension for sticky stuff, the closer made his return on Saturday and made an immediate impact. Díaz fired a scoreless ninth to record his eighth save of the year. He also pitched the following day, blowing the save in the eighth before going back out and working a perfect ninth to secure the win. All in all, having Díaz back will help a bullpen that is clinging for life. Especially if he can pitch consistently at a peak level the rest of the way.

STARTING EXCELLENCE

In a series where the pitching was unreliable, Sean Manaea proved dependable in his start on Sunday. The lefty was excellent on the mound, putting together six scoreless innings while giving up just two hits with three walks and six strikeouts. As a result, he now owns a 3.43 ERA on the year. And, with the Mets needing attractive assets in order to acquire bullpen help, Manaea did his trade value no harm at all with a third consecutive impressive outing.

3 DOWN

Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

LEARNING ON THE JOB

Manager Carlos Mendoza had a tough day on Monday. He pulled Christian Scott from the game, who was in his groove and had thrown only 77 pitches. However, despite giving up just two earned runs over 5.2 innings, Scott was on a pitch count and that game plan had to be stuck too. But, best laid plans and all that. Eric Orze, making his MLB debut, came in and instantly gave up three runs on two hits. Adrian Houser didn’t do any better, allowing three earned runs of his own.

It was a nightmare sixth inning for the Mets, and Mendoza was criticized for going to a taxed bullpen too early. Now, you can argue that Scott was pitching on four days’ rest for the first time in his career. He had also thrown 99 pitches in his last start. In my opinion, pulling Scott wasn’t the issue. Putting Orze into the game to face the most lethal part of Pittsburgh’s lineup in his first MLB outing was the mistake by Mendoza. Jake Diekman was available against a string of lefties (he’s actually good against them), and Adam Ottavino pitched just once in the six days leading up to Sunday. And that’s the error he should be held accountable for.

But, hey, Mendoza is just 89 games into his first job as a big league manager. Mistakes will happen. Unfortunately, it cost the Mets a game they really had to have.

FAMILIAR STORY

Let’s stick with the bullpen. Because we kind of have to at this point. Besides the sixth inning meltdown on Monday, the pen also collapsed in the series opener, with Jake Diekman and Ty Adcock combining to allow seven earned runs in just an ugly implosion after Luis Severino had already laid an egg in his start. After splitting in Washington, the Mets really needed to record a series win in Pittsburgh. Instead, they had to settle for another split thanks to more bullpen dramatics. With the price for bullpen help likely to be high given the market, it is hard to see things getting any better any time soon for a group of relievers that are about to fall off the cliff completely.

STREAKY  

A red-hot offense in June has started to come back down to earth in July. The Mets lineup put up just two runs in both of their losses in Pittsburgh. Additionally, they could only squeeze out three runs in a win on Saturday. In reality, a regression from an exhilarating June was always to be expected. But, with the bullpen in the current state it is, the offense needs to put up a bunch of runs just to stand a chance in any given game. Plus, too many key hitters are going cold at the same time. Pete Alonso hasn’t been great. J.D. Martinez has cooled off. There’s still little to no production from Jeff McNeil. The DJ Stewart experiment is also probably over. All in all, the bats cooling off didn’t help matters in Pittsburgh.

The post 3 Up, 3 Down: Mets Split Winnable Series in Pittsburgh appeared first on Metsmerized Online.

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