It was a long nine days between relief appearances for Aaron Loup, but Wednesday night the lefty reliever provided the Mets the kind of bullpen boost they’d hoped for when they signed him in the offseason.
Loup induced a key double play in the seventh inning — and got five outs in all — to ensure a brilliant outing by starter David Peterson didn’t get wasted in the Mets’ 5-1 win over the Phillies at Citi Field.
“Whenever you have a bad one, you hope to get out there as quick as you can to put it behind you,” said Loup, who hadn’t pitched since getting roughed up in a 5-3 loss at Philadelphia in the season opener. “When you gotta sit on it for nine days, you kind of lull on it for a little while, but I typically try not to think about it too much.
“But it was not a conventional, ‘have a bad one and hurry up and get back out there and put it behind you.’ ”
The 33-year-old Loup hadn’t pitched since the Mets’ pushed-back season opener on April 5, when he and fellow offseason bullpen signing Trevor May combined to cough up five runs (two earned) in the eighth inning of a 5-3 loss in Philadelphia, spoiling ace Jacob deGrom’s first gem of the season.
May loaded the bases with one out in that game before Loup entered and hit Bryce Harper with a pitch to force in one run. J.T. Realmuto added an RBI single and two more runs scored on Luis Guillorme’s throwing error off the glove of catcher James McCannOn Wednesday, Rojas summoned Loup to face lefty pinch hitter Didi Gregorius with runners on the corners and one out in the seventh inning with a 2-1 lead. Jeurys Familia had recorded one out, sandwiched between a walk to J.T. Realmuto to open the frame and an infield single by Jean Segura.
Gregorius bounced Loup’s 0-1 pitch to shortstop Francisco Lindor, who started a threat-squelching 6-6-3 double play. Loup added two strikeouts in a 1-2-3 eighth inning before Edwin Diaz completed a scoreless ninth in a non-save situation.
“Yeah, that was my plan all along. When I came in the game, Luis hands me the ball — first and third, one out — I turned to the guys and said, ‘Hey, let’s get a double play right here and get out of here,’ ” Loup said. “It ended up going right to plan. It doesn’t always go that way, but when it does, it’s nice.”
“Everybody was fired up. It was a big spot in the game, a big pitch and it ended up going our way.”
Rojas added that he plans to rely on the 10-year veteran more often as the season progresses.
“He’s gonna get the ball in situations like that because we know he’s a guy that can get that groundball, he can get that punch-out and prevent runs,” Rojas said. “It’s just been tough to get him in there, nine days. … But we should see him pitching more and more as the seasons goes in situations like that.”