After a brutal opening game, things went much better for Luis Rojas in the second game of the season. Brandon Nimmo was back at the top of the order where he belongs and he got on base three times. Dominic Smith was back in the lineup and he delivered a home run. There was no question about when to take out the starter. But we still have bullpen questions.
After two games it’s clear that Rojas has faith in just three of his relievers. And it’s fair to wonder how much faith he should have in Miguel Castro. When you’re carrying Jeurys Familia and Dellin Betances because of their contract, that eliminates two guys right there. But the bullpen has eight guys in it, so what about the other three?
Aaron Loup was brought in to be the main lefty. But Bryce Harper was up in a big spot yesterday and Loup was left in the pen.
Robert Gsellman was tendered a contract and then gifted a roster spot. Maybe he’s being held for long relief appearances.
Jacob Barnes seems likely to be the opener when Joey Lucchesi pitches but does that mean he can’t be used otherwise?
Castro and Trevor May are likely both unavailable today, which means we’ll see some different relievers, especially since it’s tough to imagine that David Peterson will be allowed to go deeper in the game than either Jacob deGrom or Marcus Stroman. Peterson is actually the one guy on the staff that makes sense to treat with kid gloves. My preference would have been to hold back May to use today. The eighth inning yesterday – with a four-run lead – would have been a good time to get Barnes or Gsellman in there. That way both May and Diaz would have been available Wednesday for a start likely to end at five innings, if not sooner.
It will be curious to see how the pen is handled today.