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Series Streak Over And Mets Bullpen Issue

George Napilitano/ Latino Sports

Flushing, NY- Winning seven series out of the gate defined the Mets as a good baseball team. Their 18-8 first place standing, and prior to a series finale with the Braves Wednesday afternoon at Citi Field, was enough to indicate what has been accomplished.

The Mets have been beneficiaries of solid starting pitching, scoring runs with two outs, committed the fewest errors in the National League with seven, and one of three teams with a winning record in games where they don’t hit a home run.

And the bullpen has been instrumental in this stretch of 14 games against NL division opponents.

But Wednesday afternoon, the consecutive series streak came to an end, though the Braves 9-1 win earned the Mets a four game split. The Braves seven run-6th inning off the Mets bullpen proved they are susceptible to having an off day,

And the loss completed a homestand that witnessed a Mets bullpen throwing four hitless innings Friday night that went in the record books as the 19th combined no-hitter in MLB history. But the Mets were an arm short when Trevor May was diagnosed with a stress reaction that will keep him off the mound for the next two months.

Adam Ottavino had that off day. He has been reliable. Manager Buck Showalter asked if he could work a third consecutive day, and of course, Ottavino said he was okay and working out of the pen often has never been an issue.

But it was an issue. Ottavino and the Mets pen could not contain the Braves, unlike the previous three games in this series, including a doubleheader sweep Tuesday.

There are some other things to consider also about this Mets loss, despite their early season success and taking care of business in their division as they travel to Philadelphia and Washington DC with a series versus the Phillies and Nationals.

Showalter went with his instincts as he always does. Ottavino, in other words, will get more work because May is not available. So Seth Lugo will also get more work, one one of those four out of the pen that secured a second no-hitter in Mets history.

Remember, though these are the defending World Series champion Atlanta Braves, off to a slow start, but a team the Mets need to overtake in their quest for a NL division title.

Adam Duvall hit a two-run double in that seventh inning, Dansby Swanson and Ronald Acuna Jr. added RBI singles. Adam Duvall singled in the fifth inning ended a streak of 9.0 consecutive hitless innings from Mets starter Tylor Megill who started that combined historic no-hitter.

Indeed, the Mets are aware they can’t win every series. However, with starters not going more than five or six innings, partly due to the impact of an aborted spring training period, an effective bullpen is essential and they can;t depend on Edwin Diaz to come to the rescue for an extended amount of innings as primarily used as their closer.

In due time, the Mets will deal with the absence of May and teams are accustomed to making adjustments with a call from their minor league affiliates. There is also plenty of time before a trade deadline to get a reinforcement, though the Mets are not concerned or in discussion about trading for a bullpen arm.

As they say, this is baseball. A long season and the unexpected is bound to occur as is now with the Mets.

Though more of a concern is the sudden and quiet bat of Francisco Lindor, who was off to that good start. Wednesday, Lindor went 0-for-3 and got on base with a walk.

But isn’t it always about Lindor and his good or bad streaks at the plate? He is hitting .154 over the last 10 games along with 10 strikeouts.

“Nothing to be concerned about,” Lindor said when I briefly approached him after the Mets series winning streak came to a halt.”We are a good team.”

Yes, the Mets are a good team.They should bounce back and start another series winning streak. But they need that bullpen to keep them in games after Megill and his start of 5.1 innings.

And there is a bullpen concern without Trevor May available for the next few months.

Rich Mancuso is a senior writer for Twitter@Ring786 Mancuso Watch Rich and Robert Rizzo Tuesday evening live 10pm Parrot, “Sports With Rich” YouTube Live. Like, comment, Subscribe.

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