Tyler Bashlor was expecting a promotion from Double-A Binghamton, but his next stop surprised even him.
After the Mets drained their bullpen by using seven relievers in Sunday’s 8-7 11-inning loss to the Dodgers, the team was in need of fresh arms.
The Mets turned to Bashlor, who had seven saves and a 2.63 ERA with the Binghamton Rumble Ponies, to make his debut. The team optioned Chris Flexen, who pitched one inning and took the loss Sunday, to Triple-A Las Vegas to make room on the roster.
“At the time when they called me [Sunday], I was very surprised because I thought I was going to Triple-A,” Bashlor said before Monday’s game. “But it’s always in the back of your mind to be called up.”
Bashlor, 25, immediately tried to get in touch with his family, needing to call his dad, who was cutting the grass at the time, eight times. After finally contacting his parents, his family landed in New York Monday afternoon in time for the game. The reliever said his mother was in tears when he told her about the promotion.
And it’s a good thing they made the trip, as Bashlor made his major-league debut his first day in uniform, throwing two innings in relief in the Mets’ 6-4 loss to the Pirates at Citi Field Monday evening.
“Everything I ever dreamed of,” Bashlor said after the game. “I’ve been chasing this for 25 years, for it to finally happen is a good time.”
Cameras caught Bashlor’s parents in the crowd, with the reliever saying his mom was “probably more nervous than I was,” and he was happy they were able to be there to witness his first appearance.
Bashlor’s first six fastballs all reached at least 96 miles per hour. He completed two innings, surrendering a two-run home run to Josh Bell as his only hit allowed, with one walk on 36 pitches, including 21 strikes. Fifteen of Bashlor’s 23 fastballs reached at least 96 miles per hour, with his fastest clocking in at 97.3 miles per hour.
“Weird experience, out of body experience, hard to explain,” Bashlor said. “It didn’t go as I planned, but next time will be better.”
Before Monday’s game, manager Mickey Callaway said he liked Bashlor’s slider and that there was “extra life” on his fastball. Callaway knew there was a good chance the rookie would be called upon on his first day.
“Our bullpen is such right now that we’re going to need innings from everybody that’s available probably to get through games at this point,” he said. “ . . . I love his stuff. I love his competitiveness. He’s an athlete out there and he definitely flashes plus-stuff.”
Bashlor said he isn’t sure how long the Mets plan to keep him in the majors, but he’s willing to take on whatever role the team needs.
“It’s awesome, especially being in New York,” said the Georgia native, drafted by the Mets in the 11th round of the 2013 draft. “But I’m here to pitch like I’m capable of pitching, however they need me.”