NEW YORK -- It had been four days since Addison Reed last pitched in a game, which in the Mets' warped reality qualified him as supremely well-rested. That, of course, changed in a hurry when Terry Collins found himself without a trustworthy option for the eighth inning of the Mets'
NEW YORK -- It had been four days since Addison Reed last pitched in a game, which in the Mets' warped reality qualified him as supremely well-rested. That, of course, changed in a hurry when Terry Collins found himself without a trustworthy option for the eighth inning of the Mets' 4-2 win over the Pirates on Saturday, forcing the manager to ask if Reed might contribute the first multi-inning save of his career.
When Collins picked up the dugout phone, his Mets were desperate, having seen too many leads slip through the hands of unproven middle relievers. They also became worried when Reed threw 22 pitches in a scoreless eighth, just seven shy of his season high. But the Mets' closer buckled down in the ninth, doing his part to snap New York's three-game losing streak.
"Tremendous," Collins said. "I called down to the bullpen and said, 'Can you do two?' And he just said, 'Yup.' We needed it tonight."
As a turbulent early season for the Mets winds into the first week of June, Collins' reliance on his bullpen is not lessening. Mets starters have rarely pitched into the seventh inning this season, forcing their manager to use an average of nearly four relievers per game. In turn, the results have suffered.
Over 29 appearances, Reed has not been immune, following up the best season of his career last year -- a 1.97 ERA in 80 games -- with something far more mortal, a 3.03 ERA after Saturday. But because regular closer Jeurys Familia is on the disabled list following surgery, and may stay there for the rest of the season, the Mets have little choice beyond Reed in the ninth.
"He's been put in a tough situation," Collins said. "He loves the eighth inning. He became, certainly, as good a setup guy as there was last year. … But he never says a word. He just takes the baseball."
On Saturday, Reed took it an inning early because starting pitcher Robert Gsellman lasted only 5 1/3. Trouble immediately found Reed, who allowed a one-out double and a walk, then barked at Stu Scheurwater after the home-plate umpire called a borderline 2-0 pitch a ball. Reed came back with a strike and eventually a popup, then induced a ground ball from Adam Frazier to end the eighth.
An inning later, Reed worked around a leadoff single to nail down his eighth save on a season-high 36 pitches.
"I've said since Day 1 when I came over here, if they call down and want me to throw the first inning, I'll throw the first inning," Reed said. "If they want me to throw the ninth, I'll throw the ninth. No change in my mindset. No change in anything. As soon as the game starts, I'm ready to go whenever."
If that means the eighth and ninth, so be it for a pitcher whom the Mets sorely need to be the rock of their bullpen.
"We had to go outside the box a little bit tonight," Collins said. "Addy picked us up when we needed it."
Anthony DiComo has covered the Mets for MLB.com since 2008. Follow him on Twitter @AnthonyDiComo and Facebook, and listen to his podcast.