After the Mets’ bullpen had thrown 16 innings over the previous two games, the last thing they needed was for an abbreviated outing Tuesday night by fill-in starter Robert Stock.
The 31-year-old righty lasted just one inning after injuring his right hamstring while running out a grounder in the top of the second, however, necessitating the Mets’ taxed relief corps to work another seven combined innings in a 4-3 loss to the Reds in Cincinnati.
“They’ve shown just a tremendous amount of grit. … They’ve really helped us out at some pretty desperate times so far, and they’re doing the same thing right now,” Pete Alonso said of the bullpen after the game. “The biggest thing for us is we had to hit to help our bullpen out. … Our bullpen did an absolutely hell of a job tonight, it was incredible what they did. So, thank you, bullpen.”
The 31-year-old Stock, making his second start for the Mets after being claimed off waivers from the Cubs in June, surrendered a leadoff home run to the first batter he faced, second baseman Jonathan India, negating a solo shot by Alonso against veteran lefty Wade Miley in the top of the first inning.
Batting with runners on second and third following Jonathan Villar’s two-out double in the second, however, Stock pulled up while running down the first-base line on a grounder to India for the final out of the inning.
Stock initially took the mound to warm up for the bottom half, but bench coach Dave Jauss — running the team for a second straight night due to Luis Rojas’ two-game suspension — quickly visited the mound with a trainer and removed Stock, who will be reevaluated Wednesday, Jauss said. Mets starters have totaled five innings over the past three games.
“I didn’t think so much of the depleted bullpen. I thought it’s too bad because Robert threw so good in the first inning,” Jauss said. “I was so happy for him, and he got so excited to get an at-bat with runners in scoring position. He said he hadn’t run that hard since he was 21 years old.”
Stephen Nogosek, one of three pitchers acquired from the Red Sox for reliever Addison Reed at the 2017 trade deadline, was summoned to replace Stock to make his first appearance for the Mets since posting a 10.80 ERA over seven games out of the bullpen during the 2019 season.
The mustachioed righty got the Mets through the fourth, but he left trailing 3-1 after allowing back-to-back home runs with two outs by Joey Votto and Aristides Aquino in the third, which Nogosek called “just two bad pitches.”
“It’s one of those funky situations that you can’t prepare for it,” Nogosek said. “I knew I was the long guy today, so when I saw the trainer go out there. … I tried to get out there and get hot. I think it was also nice to not be able to think, just get out there and pitch.”
After Yennsy Diaz worked a scoreless fifth, Geoff Hartlieb — another recent waiver pickup, from the Pirates — recorded the next four outs in his Mets debut. But lefty Aaron Loup, working for the third time in four days, allowed an inherited runner to score on a bases-loaded sacrifice fly in the seventh by pinch-hitter Tyler Stevenson for a 4-2 game.