Dario Alvarez is showing an ability to get left-handed hitters out at every level
The Mets have been on a season-long quest to find an answer to their problems on the left side of the bullpen. That quest has now lasted into mid-September with time running short on the season.
But there’s someone who could be emerging as a solution for the Mets in this area of need.
Dario Alvarez rejoined the team earlier this week, and while it is indeed a small sample size, he has retired all four left-handed hitters he’s faced since being promoted.
One of those hitters was MVP-favorite Bryce Harper on Monday, when he struck him out in the sixth inning. He then retired Nick Markakis on a flyout to end the seventh inning on Thursday, and induced a flyout from Freddie Freeman and a pop up from AJ Pierzynski in the eighth inning.
Again, it’s a small sample, but those aren’t exactly slouches. And he retired Harper in a big spot in a pressure situation.
The Mets love Alvarez’s slider against left-handed hitters, and it helped him to dominate lefties in the minor leagues this past season – he held left-handed hitters to a .118 average in 88 plate appearances between Double-A Binghamton and Triple-A Las Vegas.
That performance has warranted this audition for Alvarez. He struggled in the early part of spring training to get left-handed hitters out, although he became more effective before eventually being optioned to the minor leagues. The Mets never really considered bringing him up throughout the season, presumably because he lacked a lot of experience above Single-A heading into the year, they had Sean Gilmartin on the roster (who was performing despite being ineffective in a left-handed specialist role) and they were waiting for Jerry Blevins to return from the disabled list.
But Blevins never came back, which prompted the Mets to take a look at Eric O’Flaherty, who they acquired in a trade from the A’s at the beginning of August. But that experiment hasn’t worked out either.
Enter Alvarez, who has been impressive all year long, and maybe precisely what they need heading into October.