After a rough opening series in Philadelphia, the Mets’ high-leverage relief arms found redemption Thursday at Citi Field.
The only downside is that the Mets’ circle of bullpen trust appears to be limited, at least early on.
Miguel Castro, Trevor May and Edwin Diaz combined to toss three scoreless innings in relief against the Marlins, keeping it a one-run game so the Mets could pull off a 3-2 win in controversial fashion.
“This is the third time we’ve used them in four games,” manager Luis Rojas said of Castro and May. “We do want to establish that combo and we do want to bring other guys into the mix too. The two-inning model today looked really good. Now, including Diaz into it for the ninth, that was a pretty good result for our bullpen. Something we didn’t see much in the first three games. So it was gratifying to see the guys respond that way.”
Castro and May had each been knocked around in games against the Phillies — Castro for one run in Tuesday’s win and May for three runs (two earned) in Monday’s season opener. But Castro handled a perfect seventh inning Thursday and May worked around an infield single in the eighth to bridge the gap to Diaz.
Making his season debut, Diaz walked a batter, but otherwise was sharp before the Mets won it in the bottom half of the inning.
“And we want to bring more guys into the mix,” Rojas said.
The options for that mix decreased by one before Thursday’s game, when Dellin Betances was placed on the 10-day injured list with right shoulder impingement. Seth Lugo — perhaps the most trustworthy relief arm for the Mets — also has begun the season on the IL.
That leaves Jacob Barnes, Jeurys Familia and Robert Gsellman as the other arms in the bullpen. Barnes and Familia both gave up runs in the only games they pitched during the Phillies series. Trevor Hildenberger will take Betances’ spot in the bullpen.
But Rojas said he was not concerned about overworking Castro and May.
“We’re gonna include the guys,” he said. “I know it’s super early, but it’s super early both ways. The guys are gonna get to pitch.
“Everyone’s gonna pitch. We have that conversation as a group, where everyone needs to do their work and be ready for when their time comes. The guys that have pitched three out of four, it was good to see the model work like it did today, before the day off. Expect to see the other guys included into that group.”
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