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Mets Game 1 Recap: It’s Good To Be Back In The Balkans April 4, 2017

Posted by tomflesher in Baseball.
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Robert Gsellman, closer, apparently

Although the absence of Jeurys Familia loomed large for the Mets, the bullpen didn’t end up being as much of a concern as many of us expected for the first several innings of the Mets’ first game of the season. Although Hansel Robles pitched a perfect inning to relieve Noah Syndergaard in a 0-0 game, by the time Fernando Salas came in the game was well in hand. Fifth starter Robert Gsellman closed the game, presumably on his throw day, to avoid using an additional reliever to finish off a game that was already over.

This was a three-part story: first, the Mets’ productive batters; second, the Braves’ depressing bullpen; and third, bullpen pitchers stepping up.

Asdrubal Cabrera hit in 3 of 5 plate appearances and stole a base, totaling a .191 increase in the Mets’ win probability. That was more than double the next best Mets hitter, the surprisingly patient Jay Bruce, who added .073 win probability going 0-1 with three walks. Bruce currently has a .750 OBP and a .000 batting average, but he’s never been much of a walker: his OBP-BA split was .059 last year and has hovered between .06 and .07 for most of his career.

As soon as Julio Teheran handed the reins to lefty Ian Krol in the seventh inning, things started to unravel. Catcher Rene Rivera singled, followed by pinch hitter Wilmer Flores getting on via fielder’s choice and swiping second, Jose Reyes walking, and Cabrera driving Flores home. In a weird matchup decision, righty Chaz Roe came in and walked Yoenis Cespedes, only to be immediately lifted for lefty Eric O’Flaherty to face Curtis Granderson. A sac fly later, Reyes was home. The aptly-named Neil Walker took first on balls after Cespedes stole second. Bruce walked to force Cabrera in, Lucas Duda doubled the bases clear, and Travis d’Arnaud walked. Jose Ramirez came in to pick up the pieces, and despite a passed ball by Tyler Flowers, he coaxed a groundout from Flores to end the six-run, four-walk inning.

O’Flaherty had a difficult 2016, and despite being a left specialist, he was nothing special against either group of batters: he allowed lefties a .288/.329/.439 slash line, and his numbers against right-handers were even worse.

Hansel Robles and Fernando Salas both acquitted themselves admirably, Salas with two strikeouts and Robles with two groundouts and a K. Those two groundouts are key for Robles, who struggles with the longball. He allowed 7 homers in 77 2/3 innings with around a .44 ground/fly ratio on a close-to-average .308 BAbip. In a small park like Citi Field, that low ground/fly is a dangerous number, so it was great to see him keeping the ball down.

The Mets are idle today and line up against Bartolo Colon on Wednesday. Expect a similar bullpen, with Robles in high-leverage situations to keep closer Addison Reed fresh, and probably expect to see Reed either way.

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