Before we light this candle, let me be the first to say that Robert Gsellman has been a shell of his stellar 2016 self when he went 4-2 with a 2.42 ERA in seven starts.
That being said, maybe the Mets should slow their roll on throwing him into the bullpen with the rest of the relievers once Seth Lugo and Steven Matz return, which could be in the next week or so.
Manager Terry Collins announced just that on Monday, just hours before Gsellman spun together a gem against the Pittsburgh Pirates, going seven innings and allowing just one run on three hits while striking out five.
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It’s the second-consecutive solid start he’s put together, the first coming on May 24 against the San Diego Padres in which he allowed three runs on six hits in six innings. He was pulled after just 84 pitches and watched as the Mets bullpen imploded in the loss.
That start came after two relief outings in which he blew a save against the Arizona Diamondbacks on May 17 and recorded a hold against the Los Angeles Angels three days later.
He was pulled from the rotation after he was tagged for five earned runs on nine hits in four innings against the Milwaukee Brewers as he watched his ERA swell to 7.07.
So naturally, Gsellman’s reward for stringing together a couple good starts is being demoted to the bullpen once Lugo returns.
Lugo has made a pair of rehab starts since partially tearing his UCL toward the end of spring training and has not been all that impressive.
In 12.2 innings between advanced-A ball and double-A, he has allowed nine earned runs and 17 hits with 11 strikeouts.
Getting a starting spot is hardly a just reward for that.
It might be wiser for the Mets to put Lugo in the pen—where he has performed before— until he gets reacclimated to the majors instead of putting added stress on his arm as a starter while he finds his bearings.
That way Gsellman can at least ride out this hot streak. If he stumbles again, at least there will be depth in Lugo to rectify the situation.