PHILADELPHIA — Edwin Diaz remained in the bullpen as all was crumbling for the Mets on Monday. The lesson learned: Don’t expect to see the All-Star closer in a game for more than three outs anytime soon.
In the end it worked out for manager Mickey Callaway, whose decision to use Robert Gsellman to sanitize Jeurys Familia’s mess in the eighth blew up before the Mets rallied for a 7-6 victory over the Phillies in 11 innings at Citizens Bank Park.
Michael Conforto’s shot off Rhys Hoskins’ glove — ruled an error — brought in Juan Lagares with the go-ahead run in the 11th before Diaz entered and got three quick outs for the save.
But it was Callaway’s decision with the game hanging in the balance earlier that drew scrutiny. With the Mets leading 6-5 in the eighth and the bases loaded with two outs, Gsellman was summoned to face Jean Segura as Diaz remained in the bullpen. Segura walked on four pitches to tie it. Why not Diaz in that spot?
“It’s just something we feel we don’t need to do at this point,” Callaway said. “When we get to the playoffs [Diaz] will be available for more than three outs, but we have faith in our other guys and they have to get in there and get the job done. If they don’t we might lose a game, but that’s the reality of the situation.”
Pitching coach Dave Eiland said if this had been a home game there might have been a discussion about using Diaz in the eighth. But he says he didn’t see any reason the right-hander needed to be summoned Monday.
“It’s April 15,” Eiland said. “We’re not going to do that.”
And general manager Brodie Van Wagenen echoed that sentiment.
“Our goal is to put all the players in the best position to succeed, and Diaz showed last year that when pitching in that [ninth-inning] role and pitching with that type of workload he had tremendous success,” Van Wagenen said. “It’s part of our ‘win now’ and ‘win in the future’ model that we want this guy at his best not only this year every time out, but also in October as we go years into the future.”
Diaz, the stud closer who arrived from the Mariners with Robinson Cano in a blockbuster trade last winter, deferred to Callaway when asked about the situation.
“They have got their opinion and I have to be ready when they need me,” Diaz said. “When they need me three or more outs I will be ready.”
Familia folded in the eighth, giving the Mets their third blown lead of the game. Jeff McNeil’s diving stop to start a 5-4-3 double play appeared to have Familia ready to skate, but disaster ensued. Familia walked the next two batters to load the bases before Gsellman entered and walked Segura on four pitches to force in a run, tying it 6-6.
The Mets celebrate their victory over the Phillies.APNoah Syndergaard became the third straight starting pitcher to flop, joining Jason Vargas and Jacob deGrom, as the Mets look to get their vaunted rotation in order.
Seth Lugo’s name was floated as a possible replacement for the beleaguered Vargas, but the right-hander on this night underscored his value to the bullpen. Lugo fired two scoreless innings of relief, handing the baton to Familia in the eighth.
Syndergaard somehow survived through five innings, allowing nine hits and three walks with nine strikeouts over 102 pitches. The right-hander had multiple runners on base in three of the five innings he pitched, but escaped with it 5-5.
Syndergaard’s biggest disaster was the third, when he walked pitcher Aaron Nola to start the inning. The Phillies scored three runs to tie it 3-3, with J.T. Realmuto’s two-run single providing the punch.
Brandon Nimmo’s solo homer in the sixth against reliever Jose Alvarez gave the Mets a 6-5 lead. The blast was Nimmo’s third of the season and second in the past four games.