Most days after Seth Lugo plays catch, he and Mickey Callaway have a brief conversation. The manager asks whether Lugo is available for that game. Lugo answers yes or no. Then the Mets proceed, either with or without their most potent bullpen weapon.
Typically after recording more than three outs the previous game, Lugo is unavailable, which is why Callaway’s decision in the ninth inning of Tuesday’s walk-off loss to the Nationals was an obvious one. After the Mets took a six-run lead, Callaway knew it was more valuable to remove Lugo from the game and have him available Wednesday than to extend him for three more outs and have to navigate potentially higher-leverage situations in the series finale without him.