New York Mets need bullpen help. How will they proceed?

A beleaguered bullpen finally caught up to the red-hot New York Mets. Their four-game winning streak ended Saturday with a 9-6 loss to the Houston Astros. The Mets’ bullpen failed to protect a two-run lead heading into the eighth inning and allowed five runs.

The suspension for closer Edwin Díaz (he must sit out six more games) and injuries to a few key relievers have altered the Mets’ usage patterns for late innings and tested their depth. Last month, they lost lefty Brooks Raley for the season. Last week, Sean Reid-Foley landed on the 15-day injured list. And Friday, Drew Smith sounded like he anticipated having Tommy John surgery for the second time in his career.

Given the situation, the Mets may do something, even on a marginal level, to address their bullpen, though it doesn’t sound like they’re at the end of their depth — yet.

The Mets will stay open to adding bullpen help through acquisitions but believe they have a handful of internal options worthy of an opportunity, people familiar with the club’s thinking said.

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Reed Garrett was tagged with the loss after he gave up one run, one hit and two walks. (John Jones / USA Today)

None of that necessarily signals whether the Mets will be buyers or sellers at the trade deadline. The loss Saturday dropped the Mets (40-40) back to .500. With a month before the trade deadline, it remains too early for New York to declare any directional decisions. Still, speculatively speaking, the Mets can add via waiver claim or a similarly small move with their bullpen in a bind.

The Mets are through only two games of a 17-game stretch without a day off leading up to the All-Star break on July 15. So they will assuredly at least make internal roster moves imminently.

From Triple-A Syracuse, club sources listed the internal options as Josh Walker (left-hander), Cole Sulser, Tyler Jay (left-hander), Max Kranick, Eric Orze, and Matt Festa. Of that group, Walker and Sulser are already on the 40-man roster.

Among the relievers with minor-league options left in the Mets’ bullpen are Reed Garrett, Dedniel Núñez, Danny Young (left-hander) and Ty Adcock.

The lack of options forced the Mets to get creative. After Saturday’s game, the Mets optioned Tylor Megill to Triple-A Syracuse, which first reported. This came as no surprise — earlier in the week, The Athletic suggested the move as a possibility. The logic: Since Megill (and starter David Peterson, for that matter) has a minor-league option, it made sense to send him down for a reliever. Then a reliever (or relievers) can be optioned for starters Christian Scott or José Buttó, who are both lingering in Triple A. Given their long stretch of games, the Mets are likely to call on Scott at some point soon, anyway. As of Saturday night, it was unclear what the corresponding move would be for Megill, who has performed mediocrely.

Regardless, Mets manager Carlos Mendoza will largely have to continue to work with what he’s got, which is — to put things mildly — a limited supply of trustworthy high-leverage relievers.

Things didn’t go well on Saturday. The Mets’ bullpen issued four walks during an ugly eighth inning. Garrett was tagged with the loss after he gave up one run, one hit and two walks without recording an out. He relieved lefty Jake Diekman, who allowed two runs and two walks in the eighth inning. As the third reliever used in the inning, Young recorded the final out in the eighth but surrendered two runs in the ninth. The lone bright spot: In his Mets debut, Adcock tossed 1 2/3 scoreless innings in relief of Megill (5 1/3 innings, four earned runs, five hits, three walks, six strikeouts).

Without Díaz, the Mets have leaned on Garrett and Diekman in late innings similar to last month when Díaz landed on the injured list (things didn’t go well last month for the bullpen, either). Veteran Adam Ottavino was signed to be a setup reliever in the seventh and eighth innings but he has struggled with a 4.83 ERA in 32 appearances and, as a result, has pitched earlier in games. The suspension and injuries have led to available relievers being used frequently and in roles that they are not best suited for.

The Mets have had a couple of relievers from the minors emerge as helpful pitchers, such as Garrett earlier in the season before his recent struggles and Núñez. It’s possible that they can hit on another, which would help. But if the Mets’ lineup continues to carry them and perform well, they’ll need external reliever reinforcements, too — even when Díaz returns. If the Mets are going to be playoff contenders, they need bullpen help.

(Top photo of Danny Young: John Jones / USA Today)

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