Not much wrong with these Mets right now, but bullpen ERA is worth keeping an eye on – The Mercury News

The Giants have made a habit of jumping on Mets’ pitching early in games.

On Tuesday, in the first game of the frigid doubleheader, San Francisco plated two runs in the second and tacked on two more in the third. On Wednesday, the Giants got their first and only win of the series thanks to four runs off Chris Bassitt in the first two frames. On Thursday, the Giants pushed a run home on Carlos Carrasco in the second before he retired 18 straight hitters, carrying the Mets to glory. Carrasco said he and his catcher had a game plan for stomping out the Giants’ early embers.

“The way they started hitting, and the way they attacked our pitchers [early in the series], I went back and looked at the video,” Carrasco revealed after dominating the Giants. “I talked to Tomas Nido [before the game] and we did the opposite.”

The baseball world has certainly taken notice of the Giants over the last two seasons. Their somewhat improbable 107-win season in 2021 was executed by veteran players, castoffs and a progressive coaching staff. When you play the Giants, you’ve got to be prepared for anything, as Mets’ manager Buck Showalter has learned from admiring them from afar. When asked how to best combat the Giants’ early, aggressive approach, the skipper was prepared.

“You could pitch more like Scherzer,” he deadpanned. “It’s something we didn’t do [more than] what they did. They’ve obviously got a little bit of a different plan. We’ve talked about how good they are. Nobody won more games in the regular season than them.”

Showalter is back with the team after missing Wednesday’s game to undergo a minor medical procedure, but neither he nor the Mets provided any specifics.

The Mets had matching 2.77 ERA’s in the first and second innings entering Thursday’s game. The problems — relatively speaking for a team playing as well as the Mets — have emerged in the later innings after their bulletproof starting pitchers have exited. The team’s highest collective ERA by inning comes in the eighth, where they’ve run a 4.15. From the sixth through ninth inning, the Mets owned a 3.38 ERA through the first 13 games.

When you’re off to a start as good as the Amazin’s, finding any sort of shortcoming is an exercise in nitpicking. The bullpen has still been a strength, but when you put their numbers alongside the starters, they look inferior, just as anyone’s would when compared to Carrasco, Max Scherzer and Tylor Megill’s fiery starts to the year.

“We’ve been able to share the load and pass it around,” Showalter said of his relievers. “When the starting pitchers are going deeper, it allows the bullpen not to get overused. You can win a game by what you did in the previous game, even if it’s a loss. It all revolves around starting pitching.”


Robinson Cano was not in the starting lineup for Thursday’s matinee, marking the third straight game he began on the bench. He also did not pinch hit or see the field at all on defense. Cano is off to a 5-for-27 start (.185) and has played sparingly, only starting seven of the team’s first 14 games. His manager his cautions against declaring someone done this early in the spring, though.

“In fairness to him, and most of our players, you want to wait until the weather gets a little warmer,” Showalter said of evaluating hitters in April. “Starling [Marte] told me he didn’t think he’d ever been as cold as he was during that doubleheader. As far as Robbie’s concerned, you want to give him the benefit of the doubt. He’s had some good at-bats, he had a good spring for us.”

Cano hit .360 in the Grapefruit League with two doubles and two walks in eight games. The concern for Showalter, at least right now, is figuring out a way to both give him enough at-bats to feel like himself again while also not overexerting a man who missed the entire 2021 season with a drug suspension.

“If he gets in a good groove, he’s going to want to stay in there,” Showalter asserted. “It’s tough. Are you putting him in there too much? Not enough? I’ll say this: I would not sell him short.”


Standing 6-7 and 230 pounds, Tylor Megill is a hard person to miss.

Despite his stature, the towering right-hander is one of the more soft spoken, least flashy guys on the team. His personality his earned him a playful nickname from Cameron Maybin, who had a nine-game cameo with the 2021 Mets.

Maybin played with Megill’s brother, Trevor, with the Cubs. After learning that Tylor is much more laid back and introverted than his brother his, Maybin bestowed the nickname “Big Drip” on him. Tylor would not confirm nor deny that he’s better dressed — or possesses more “drip”— than his older brother his.


The most common complaint you hear from pitchers this time of year, when temperatures could be described as suboptimal, all revolve around gripping the ball.

“There’s obviously a difference,” said David Peterson. “Warm and sunny is great, night games during the summer. I don’t think anyone would love to play baseball in 40 and 50 [degrees] all the time. I wouldn’t say it’s necessarily ideal.”

Megill and Chasen Shreve both declared their “hate” for chilly April conditions and said that the most difficult thing is spinning their breaking pitches properly.


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