One of the things that I’ve learned since starting Mets360 is that nearly every reliever, in every season, goes thru a stretch of roughly 6-12 games where they are significantly worse – an ERA at least twice as high – than they are the rest of the season. Perhaps no one better illustrates this point than Adam Ottavino.
From 4/23-5/4, Ottavino pitched in six games and in 5 IP allowed 7 ER for a 12.60 ERA. In the five games before the streak started, he did not allow a run in 4.2 IP. And in the 35 games since, Ottavino has a 1.01 ERA, a 0.841 WHIP and has limited hitters to a .508 OPS.
Here are the other bad streak for Mets relievers with at least 40 IP, a number chosen to exclude Trevor Williams, who has bounced back and forth between starting and relieving.
Edwin Diaz – 5/12-5/24, 6 games, 6.35 ERA. In 28 games since, has a 0.31 ERA
Seth Lugo – 4/11-5/18, 14 games, 5.54 ERA. In 29 games since, has a 2.59 ERA
Drew Smith – 6/29-7/24, 8 games, 8.68 ERA. In previous 29 games, had a 1.99 ERA
For whatever reason, relievers tend to bunch their bad games together. Maybe they’re injured, like it appears happened with Smith above or with Trevor May, who had an 8.64 ERA in 8 games to start the year before hitting the IL. Or maybe there’s a mechanical issue, like what appears to be the case with Lugo. Or maybe it’s something else entirely.
Another thing to note is that it’s entirely possible for a reliever to have multiple bad stretches in a year. Just because the club’s top relievers have had a bad stretch doesn’t mean they can’t run into another one before the season is out.
Joely Rodriguez doesn’t meet our IP requirement but has the same pattern. In 16 games, he had an 8.53 ERA. In the 18 games before that he had a 3.68 ERA and in the five games afterwards, he has a 1.35 ERA.
It’s absolutely no fun to see the relievers pitch in the middle of their bad stretch. But we should keep in mind that it’s likely only temporary. Yeah, yeah – easier said than done.