Two years ago, the New York Mets found themselves in the World Series. Now, they’ll be lucky to finish third in the division.
After a Subway Series sweep at the hands of the crosstown rival Yankees – the first time since 2003 – the Mets have some serious thinking to do. Starter Steven Matz struggled yet again on his way to 3 1/3 ineffective innings and now has a record of 0-6 in his last eight starts while pitching to a 10.19 ERA.
Matz was only the most recent – but most notable – Mets starter who has completely underperformed this season. Whether they’ve been hurt, ineffective, or both, names like Noah Syndergaard, Matt Harvey, Zack Wheeler, Seth Lugo, Robert Gsellman and Matz have not pitched up to par this season. For a team coming into 2017 expecting to make the playoffs led by their starting pitching, a 5.09 starter ERA was the last thing the Mets had in mind. What was once thought to be the greatest rotation in baseball has quickly turned into one of the league’s worst.
This begs the question whether or not the Mets can rely on these same starters – the group that helped them get to the World Series in 2015 – for next season and seasons to come.
The short answer is no. History has shown that this pitching staff – as for many teams’ pitching staff – cannot and will not remain healthy for an entire year. After Syndergaard underwent surgery earlier this year, the Mets’ big five have now all gone under the knife to miss a substantial amount of time. For the Mets to bank on all, or even just a few, of them to remain healthy for the duration of the 2018 would be foolish.
But even when they have been healthy and pitching every fifth day, the results have not been pretty. Matz hasn’t won a game since June and has publicly said he feels lost on the mound. Harvey is currently rehabbing from a shoulder injury but has pitched to a 5.25 ERA when on the mound and nobody knows what’s going on with Wheeler. Lugo and Gsellman were nice additions that helped the Mets make the playoffs in 2016, but nobody expected them to figure in the future starting rotation that included the highly touted and aforementioned big five.
As of now, the only starters the Mets can count on are Jacob deGrom and Syndergaard, who is currently on the DL. Yes, that is saying something.
Although those two could go toe to toe with any top two starters in the game, it’s a far cry from what the Mets thought they had. That’s why the Mets shockingly will need to address the starting rotation this offseason if they have any hopes of getting back to the playoffs.
There’s no doubt that the big five had and perhaps still have the potential to be great, but the inconsistency both on and off the field have proven detrimental to the success of the Mets.
If the Mets have any shot of making the playoffs next year, the starting pitching has to step up and be better than they have this year. If not, the Mets need to find somebody else who can.
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