After 6 games the Mets have a 3-3 record but that mark should be much better because the bullpen has blown 2 games including last night’s setback to the Boston Red Sox.
In a normal 162 game season, the bullpen is the toughest part of the job that a manager must execute on a daily basis and for a first year manager like Luis Rojas it is a challenge. But in a 60 game season the bullpen becomes even more of an issue especially in the early part of that season where starting pitchers are likely on a strict pitch count.
The overall challenge is you do not want to overwork pitchers but you need to get them proper work to stay sharp while establishing roles so you can get everything you can out of the bullpen in the heat of late inning drama during games.
In the early going this season, it is my firm belief Justin Wilson has been overworked while Dellin Betances has not been used enough. In addition, it was real important to get Edwin Diaz back on the horse after his blown save on Saturday but he has not seen the mound after that day and that was 5 days ago,
When I look at this bullpen, my idea in the setting up of roles is Diaz and Lugo sharing the closer role despite the blown save by each this year, Betances is your 8th inning man, and Wilson and Familia comprise the 7th inning role with guys like Drew Smith , Hunter Strickland or Chason Shreve filling in the blanks or executing more important roles if appearances start piling up.
Baseball players are creatures of habit and perform better once they know the role the manager puts them in and with it realize the expectations of that role. And I think that the bullpen needs some role definition to get the best out of each pitcher. Putting Betances in that 8th inning role is the key component in my plan because you are inserting a pitcher in the role that he has excelled at during his career.
Early season bullpen losses can pile up in a hurry and once they do your season can go southward real quickly. And in a short season, you do not have time to let roles evolve—you need to set them up early and if changes in those roles are needed you can not hesitate. And remember Brad Brach and Jared Hughes are in rehab mode and might return in a week or two. further complicating role planning.
In a truncated 60 game season proper management of a bullpen could cover up weaknesses but improper managing of it can make the smallest weakness an eyesore. And this Met bullpen may very well dictate their win total more than any other aspect of their team.