Mets bullpen comes up big: ‘tremendous’

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The Mets’ opener had pitched two innings the previous night and hadn’t started a game in nine years. Their long reliever had been smoked in his previous start earlier in the week. And, of course, it could not have worked out better.

What started as a seemingly unpromising bullpen game turned out to be a strong performance by Tommy Hunter, Joey Lucchesi and three other relievers, who combined to allow one earned run over nine innings in a 4-2 win Saturday night over the Diamondbacks at Citi Field.

“The bullpen was tremendous,” Luis Rojas said after Trevor May sealed the Mets’ fourth straight win. “The guys have really good stuff … and they’re gonna get outs. That’s what we saw tonight, and that’s what we’ve been seeing in the last week or so. They’ve been throwing really well.”

Tommy Hunter
Tommy Hunter
Corey Sipkin

Hunter, a 14-year veteran called up Friday, had tossed two scoreless frames in his team debut in the Mets’ series-opening 5-4 win that night. The 34-year-old righty then required only 17 pitches to record six outs without allowing a hit to open Saturday’s victory before Lucchesi relieved him to open the third.

“I got a f–king no-hitter going, yeah I wanted to go back out,” Hunter joked after making his first big league “start” since 2012 with Baltimore. “I came to the Mets to win, and I really think this team has a chance to win, and I’m good with doing whatever it takes to win.”

Lucchesi had started Monday’s game in St. Louis and was tagged that night for six earned runs, including two home runs, in a 6-5 loss to the Cardinals. Saturday, however, the lefty extended the Mets’ string of hitless innings to five, aided by two diving catches by center fielder Kevin Pillar.

“I came in today and my arm was feeling really good. I feel like I was spotting everything for the most part,” Lucchesi said. “I really don’t mind it. I’ll start, I’ll relieve, whatever they need from me, honestly.”

The Mets carried a 3-0 lead into the sixth, when Josh Rojas managed Arizona’s first hit with a leadoff single to center against Lucchesi. He advanced to second on an error charged to Pete Alonso on a pickoff attempt and scored an unearned run later in the inning on David Peralta’s grounder.

Jeurys Familia was not among the seven pitchers Rojas used Friday night, but he fanned the final two batters in the sixth Saturday after replacing Lucchesi. The former All-Star closer allowed three two-out singles — two in the infield — in the seventh before getting Christian Walker on a groundout with the bases loaded to end the inning. That lowered his ERA over 11 appearances to 0.93. Aaron Loup permitted one run to score in the eighth before May worked a scoreless ninth (closer Edwin Diaz had pitched each of the previous two days) for his first save of the season.

“Familia is throwing the ball so well,” Rojas said. “You talk about Loup and May, how they’ve been throwing, but Familia has been outstanding to help close games, as well.”

Source : Mets bullpen comes up big: ‘tremendous’