Robert Gsellman went back to the bullpen Tuesday and it couldn’t have gone much worse. He exited with a left oblique strain in the eighth inning, but not before giving up six runs in 3²/₃ innings in relief of Michael Wacha in an 11-2 loss to the Orioles.
Gsellman threw 76 pitches out of the pen, 24 more than he had in his last appearance in his ill-fated time as a starter and 19 more than any other outing this season.
Manager Luis Rojas said he didn’t believe the added workload caused the injury, saying Gsellman was stretched out for the role.
He had to be helped off the field with two outs in the eighth, but Rojas said Gsellman seemed better following the game.
“It was a scary moment, watching him walk off the mound in pain,’’ Rojas said. “We’ll see what we can find out [Wednesday].”
Amed Rosario was the shortstop again after four days on the bench. Rojas insisted Rosario’s return wasn’t simply because the Orioles had left-hander John Means on the mound.
Regardless, each of Rosario’s last four starts have come against southpaws and lefty-swinging Andres Gimenez shifted from short to second base.
“I’m not seeing it as that,’’ Rojas said when asked if it was a platoon at short. “We’re putting together the best lineup each day.”
“He’s working,” Rojas said of Rosario. “He’s taking his extra ground balls and he’s locked in. He wanted to be ready whenever he was going to get the chance again.”
With Dom Smith sitting against the lefty Means, Pete Alonso was back at first base after three games as the DH.
Rojas said Alonso and Robinson Cano would get the majority of time at DH time the rest of the season.
And that might not be bad news for Alonso and the Mets.
Entering Tuesday, Alonso had a .988 OPS in 35 plate appearances at DH and a .751 OPS in 136 plate appearances while at first base. And that was before Alonso went hitless against the Orioles.
“I do pay attention to how guys are in the DH spot,’’ Rojas said before the game. “For some of those guys on an NL team, they’re used to being out on the field and Alonso and Cano like being on the field. They are the DH more than other guys.”
Rojas said he was not aware of Alonso’s numbers as the DH and said he would keep a bit of a rotation with Smith and J.D. Davis — who was the DH Tuesday — in the mix.
Cano, meanwhile, wasn’t in Tuesday’s lineup. He entered hitless in his previous 17 at-bats, including 0-for-9 with runners in scoring position.
Smith has hit all kinds of pitching this year, but is significantly better versus righties than lefties. Still, in his previous four games, the lefty-swinging Smith was 8-for-18 with four doubles and six RBIs.
Jeff McNeil homered for a third consecutive game. It’s the second time he’s done so in his career. … Brad Brach tied a career-high with four strikeouts.
Wilson Ramos, who had struck out in six of his previous eight at-bats, got the start behind the plate Tuesday because of his success against left-handed pitching and a familiarity with Tuesday’s starter, Michael Wacha, but Rojas said Robinson Chirinos has also impressed since his arrival.
Rojas said both backstops have shown an ability to “steal strikes” on low pitches, which is important with a pitching staff that has plenty of pitchers that like to pitch down in the zone.
Chironos, according to Rojas, is “a little more athletic” behind the plate and that he’s “been diligent” about learning the staff since being traded from the Rangers.
“He told me that was his mission,’’ Rojas said of Chirinos learning the staff.