Sean Gilmartin, the true savior on Monday, continues to be a great story in baseball
Monday night in Philadelphia had “bad night” written all over it.
The Mets were trailing 7-2 in the third inning to the hapless Phillies. An old foe in Ryan Howard delivered the keynote with a three-run home run on an off-night for Jacob deGrom, and Domonic Brown capped his poor night with a three-run home run of his own.
But Terry Collins didn’t try and get an extra out, or an extra inning out of deGrom, and probably had no intention of saving his bullpen from yet another taxing night in a hitters haven.
This looked well on it’s way to a rout, and a missed opportunity for the Mets to extend their lead in the National League East to 5 1/2 games.
Enter Sean Gilmartin, the savior for opportunities. He relieved deGrom in the third inning, and pretty much ended the offensive showcase the Phillies were putting on against the Mets vaunted ace.
Gilmartin came in and delivered 3 1/3 brilliant innings of long relief for the Mets, shutting down the Phillies and affording the Mets an opportunity to get their offensive show going. He allowed three hits with four strikeouts, and nothing else.
He also contributed a single – his second hit this season – and scored one of the Mets 16 runs on the night.
He was unquestionably the unsung hero of this game. And, he didn’t even hit a home run for the club.
“Anytime your starting pitcher gets knocked out early and you bring a reliever in who keeps you in the game for three or four innings and it allows you to get back in the game, you can’t replace it,” manager Terry Collins said about Gilmartin. “To me, they hand out an award every night for player of the game. He didn’t get it, but he certainly could have had it.”
It hasn’t been the easiest road for Gilmartin this season. He’s had an excellent year, but was asked to be something he just wasn’t, which was a left-handed specialist in the bullpen.
But he has thrived as a true fireman in long relief for this club, and has saved them on several occasions with multiple-inning efforts out of the bullpen this season. He now has a 2.11 ERA in ten appearances in which he’s pitched two innings or more in the bullpen this season.
He has now emerged as the club’s ace long-man out of the bullpen, proving to be an effective cross-over reliever for multiple innings. He’s got a great change-up which has been his equalizer this season, as the opposition has only hit .182 against that pitch this season. But his curveball also has a lot of good 12-6 action on it, and it’s actually be very effective for him against left-handed pitching. In fact, they haven’t touched that pitch against him so far this season.
“He’s your left-handed pitcher. He’s got a great change. He’s got a good curveball,” Collins said. “When you’re on a staff with all of these power arms, you’re not going to get a lot of mention. But there’s a place on every team for a guy that just takes the baseball and does his job.”
Gilmartin’s really a great story for the game. A career minor leaguer, he was the club’s Rule 5 selection in 2014. Most of the time, Rule 5 selections don’t pan out, but Gilmartin was a gem the Mets dug up in their search for bullpen help this past winter, and he has come up all aces for the Mets from the moment he put the uniform on.
Through all of the turmoil and uncertainty in the club’s bullpen in 2015, Gilmartin has been a staple for Terry Collins to turn to at any point during this season.
He has never thought for a single second his time might be running out with the Mets.
“I haven’t had that thought process at all,” Gilmartin explained after his performance on Monday. “For me, it’s just always been going out and trying to get people out.”
He has not only stuck to this roster, but proved to be a winning part of the club’s puzzle this season.