PHILADELPHIA -- So far, the revamped Mets bullpen has stood up to the test, posting a 3.28 ERA over their first eight games. Until recently, they have been helped by a relatively light workload. They entered Tuesday night's 8-3 loss to the Phillies in the bottom half of the National League in innings pitched.
But the Mets bullpen got a workout when Dillon Gee failed to get past the third inning, leaving four relievers to absorb five innings. It was the second time in three games that the bullpen was forced to absorb more than a couple of innings. And they face the potential of another busy night in Wednesday's series finale with righthander Jeremy Hefner on the mound.
Manager Terry Collins believes he should have enough arms to get by, especially since he's tried to limit most of his relievers to single-inning stints.Thursday's off day should help. He should also have lefty Josh Edgin available after he was down on Tuesday night. Brandon Lyon might also be a candidate to work after pitching one inning on Tuesday. It was his first appearance since Saturday.
Closer Bobby Parnell will also see his first action since Saturday.
"Bobby is going to pitch tomorrow, no matter what the situation in the game is,” Collins said.
Still, the manager expressed enough concern about his bullpen's workload that he doubled-switched Lucas Duda out of the game in the fourth, a move made to move the pitcher's spot in the lineup out of the way. The move allowed submariner Greg Burke to throw two innings without his spot in the lineup coming up.
"Our bullpen is spent a little bit," said Collins, who was nevertheless unwilling to make the ultimate bullpen-saving move.
Gee allowed seven runs in just three innings though he only had thrown 56 pitches, meaning Collins could have elected to simply stick with the righthander to save the bullpen. But even with the Mets trailing big against Phillies lefty Cliff Lee, Collins said he never considered letting Gee take one for the team.
"Not when you’re trying to win a game and it’s only the third inning," Collins said. "We had a long game left. I know it’s Cliff Lee and I know you don’t score a lot of runs off him, but it beats being behind 11-0, 10-0. I said if we stop him right here, maybe we can get back in this game. We got three more. We just couldn’t add on."