NEW YORK -- In the moments after Jerry Blevins watched Addison Reed enter the ballgame in pursuit of a five-out save, he began to assume that he could stop warming up, at least for a short time.After all, the Mets' closer had seemed automatic lately, entering Friday's 7-5 win over
NEW YORK -- In the moments after Jerry Blevins watched Addison Reed enter the ballgame in pursuit of a five-out save, he began to assume that he could stop warming up, at least for a short time.
After all, the Mets' closer had seemed automatic lately, entering Friday's 7-5 win over the Athletics at Citi Field with an 0.89 ERA over his last 20 1/3 innings, converting all 10 save chances.
But another call to the bullpen quickly followed, and Mets bullpen coach Ricky Bones instructed Blevins to stay up.
"Right then, I knew not to shut it down mentally," Blevins said. "Knowing that, I figured I'd come in and face the lefty."
After Reed allowed a single and a walk to shrink the Mets' lead to two, Mets manager Terry Collins decided to go to Blevins against left-handed-hitting Yonder Alonso.
Part of the reason Collins required Reed's services earlier than normal was that Rajai Davis and Marcus Semien were a combined 5-for-7 with a walk entering the eighth. It was the second time in three games Reed came on for a multi-inning save, as he sought his fifth save of four outs or more this season.
"First of all, I'm using Addison Reed way too much in the eighth inning. Way too much," Collins admitted after the game. "At that particular point in the game, I wanted Addy to face those two guys for sure. And I said if Alonso gets up, we got Jerry ready. I just thought we had to get those two guys out or we were in trouble. We didn't get them out, so we went to Jerry."
Reed said he was somewhat surprised when he saw Collins leave the dugout and thought his skipper might just want to talk strategy for Alonso.
"He asked for the ball, and I handed him the ball," Reed said. "And that was about it."
In this instance of role reversal -- the setup man replacing the closer -- Blevins navigated the bases-loaded jam he inherited with ease, inducing a popout by Alonso in foul territory beyond first base before striking out Khris Davis. In the ninth, he retired the side in order for his fifth career save and first since Sept. 18, 2016, against Minnesota.
It marked Blevins' longest outing since he completed two full innings on Sept. 25, 2014, which came against the Mets when he was with the Nationals.
"It's a lot of outs," Blevins joked. "I'm glad it just went five in a row."
In addition to recently increasing the length of Reed's outings, Collins said he would have stuck with Reed had the right-hander escaped the inning unscathed.
Reed has been one of the Mets' most viable options leading up to the July 31 non-waiver Trade Deadline. That aspect of usage does not affect Collins' decision-making, the manager said. Reed said the rumors don't affect the way he pitches, and neither does the game situation he inherits.
"Nothing changes," Reed said. "My approach is the same. My goal is the same. I'm trying to do the same thing. I've said this from Day 1. If I play the second inning, I'm trying to get guys out before any runs score. I don't care what inning I'm pitching."
Chris Bumbaca is a reporter for MLB.com based in New York.