In the midst of the Mets’ brutal series finale showing against the Angels, Mike Puma of the New York Post had this to tweet:
Mets rotation not cutting it. Entered with a 4.12 ERA that ranked 16th in the majors for starting pitchers. Worse after today.
— Mike Puma (@NYPost_Mets) April 13, 2014
Yes, after Bartolo Colon’s nine-run shelling over five innings on Sunday afternoon, three of the Mets’ five starters have ERAs north of 5.00. Jonathon Niese is the only one of the bunch whose ERA (3.46) reflects a decent pitcher. And yes, if this were more than two weeks into the season, it would be cause for alarm. The key word there is “if.” It turns out we are only two weeks into the season.
People forget sometimes how long the baseball season is. The Mets have played 12 games, or 7 percent of their schedule, and they are 5-7 against particularly tough competition. The way some people talk, one would think the team was 1-11. A 5-7 record in a 162-game schedule is no reason to abandon ship on 2014.
While the starters’ ERAs are of concern on the surface, one can find some bright spots with a bit of digging. Dillon Gee’s ERA stands at 5.03 after three starts, but four of those 11 runs came after the 6th inning, indicating Terry Collins and Dan Warthen just left him in too long. Zack Wheeler’s line says 5.73, but his first outing was a quality start against Washington that the bullpen let slip away. Bartolo Colon’s number is an even 6.00, but that was after biting the bullet and eating up innings against the Angels; he was brilliant in Atlanta and delivered a quality start against Washington.
Every rotation goes through a bad stretch during the season. New York’s happens to be in one at the start, which inflates starters’ ERAs.
While it’s disappointing to see the Mets’ great strength struggling out of the gate, it is by no means time to raise the white flag. Colon, Gee, and Wheeler will come around, and starting pitching will remain the Mets’ strength in 2014.