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Mets to use a closer-by-committee approach in 2018

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Jon Morosi of MLB.com reports that the Mets are prepared to enter the 2018 season without a designated closer. According to comments made by manager Mickey Callaway, the club will utilize a committee featuring AJ Ramos, Jeurys Familia, Anthony Swarzak and Jerry Blevins as they look to maximize their flexibility during games.

The change appears to be coming at a good time for the Mets. Their bullpen placed third-best among all major league teams in 2016 with a collective 3.53 ERA and 6.5 fWAR, but 2017 saw them plummet to the bottom of the leaderboard, where they ranked fifth-worst in the league after topping off a disappointing season with a cumulative 4.82 ERA and 1.2 fWAR. One of the clear culprits was right-hander Jeurys Familia, who ran up a 4.38 ERA, 5.5 BB/9 and 9.1 SO/9 in 24 2/3 innings. Familia incurred a 15-game suspension following domestic violence charges in 2016 and was sidelined another 15 weeks when an arterial clot was detected and surgically removed from his right shoulder.

The Mets have taken some steps toward improving their bullpen this offseason, most notably with a two-year, $14 million contract for free agent right-hander Anthony Swarzak. Swarzak is coming off of his most valuable season to date after completing successful back-to-back stints with the White Sox and Brewers last year, and should be able to help shift the Mets’ standing in a positive direction.

Aside from his four-man closer committee, Callaway told Morosi that he’ll alternate between a seven- and eight-man bullpen in 2018 and won’t hesitate to exercise his relievers’ minor league options in the event that the bullpen gets taxed during long games. At least five of the Mets’ relief pitchers still have options remaining this year.

Video: Matt Carpenter makes history with three home runs, two doubles

St Louis Cardinals v Chicago Cubs
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Matt Carpenter pulled his weight and then some during the Cardinals’ 18-5 win on Friday, becoming just the second player in MLB history to tally three home runs and two doubles in the same game… and the first-ever to do so in the first six innings of a single game.

Carpenter wasted little time getting the Cardinals on the board, first drawing a full count against Cubs lefty Jon Lester, then ricocheting a 92.4-MPH fastball off the scoreboard in right field for a leadoff home run. He returned in the second inning for another two-run shot and capped a seven-run spread in the fifth with an RBI double (his first double of the game was a leadoff hit in the fourth) before polishing off his performance with a third, three-run homer in the sixth.

Following Friday’s explosive five-run, seven-RBI performance, Carpenter is now batting .274/.381/.576 on the year with 23 home runs, 30 doubles and a .957 OPS in 388 PA. The last player to record five extra-base hits in one game was the Cubs’ Kris Bryant, who collected four runs and six RBI for the team back in June 2016. As MLB.com’s Jenifer Langosch pointed out, Carpenter might have set another franchise record for most home runs in a game had interim manager Mike Shildt not removed him from the game in the bottom of the sixth. The record is still held by former club outfielder Mark Whiten, who collected four home runs (and a staggering 12 RBI) against the Reds in September 1993.