While some in the Mets’ circle (be it fans, media, what have you) begrudgingly did not like the fact that Jenrry Mejia was taken out of the rotation and put in to the bullpen, you really can not argue with the results.
Ever since going to the bullpen on May 12 after going 3-0 with a 5.06 ERA as a starter, Mejia has been a godsend in the bullpen, while eventually working his way to become the full-time closer. In his first relief appearance he pitched 1 1/3 scoreless innings against the Yankees while picking up the win in the process. It has been smooth sailing for Mejia ever since.
Since May 12 Mejia has pitched 9 1/3 innings while allowing just one run (unearned at that) on only eight hits and three walks while striking out nine batters. He has not blown any saves and is a perfect four-for-four in his chances. In his short time as closer, he already has the most saves on the team even though we are nearly two months into the season. So that should tell you how bad it’s been so far this year in the bullpen.
While Mejia does have electric stuff and a few pitches to work with, he clearly struggled in the rotation. His issue was getting through the lineup the second and-more specifically-the third time out, and almost predictably, it ended with him melting down.
Mejia may have just found his niche in the bullpen. With Bobby Parnell out for the year (and who knows how he’ll be when he comes back), and retreads like Kyle Farnsworth and Jose Valverde proving to be over the hill and broken down, the Mets finally have some youth at the back end of the bullpen, which is something they sorely lacked.
Sure, his prior health issues are a concern in the bullpen, as he often has to get up and stretch himself out on a nearly daily basis. But, so far ,so good on that front.
Mejia has already pitched in both games of a doubleheader (last Sunday) while also pitching two innings to close out the Mets 4-2 victory over the Pirates on Tuesday night. There have been no issues with Mejia taking on the extra load.
With the back of the bullpen being a major weakness, Mejia has calmly eased into the role while fortifying the position tenfold. Considering the Mets have a crop of decent arms on the staff and more down on the farm (not to mention Matt Harvey coming back eventually), this move, in retrospect, made all the sense in the world.
While management has made some pretty terrible and baffling decisions, this is one move they can hang their hat on, as Mejia has found his groove in this role. Even though he expressed some trepidation about going to the bullpen, Mejia has looked awfully comfortable back there. Or is that just me?
Let’s just hope that the people in front of him do their jobs so he can have more opportunities. For now, let’s enjoy that Mejia may have found his true calling.
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