The Mets young aces were a big reason for the World Series run in 2015 and a Wild Card appearance in 2016.
Last year, however, was a down year which included injuries throughout most of the rotation. The Mets hope and need their starting rotation to all bring their A-games to 2018 for any type of success.
The biggest injury was the loss of Noah Syndergaard, who the Mets lost at the end of April last season when he exited a game in the 2nd inning with a tear in his right lat muscle. This kept Syndergaard out until he came back in September to pitch one inning against the Nationals.
The Dark Knight, Matt Harvey, pitched through injury which caused a stress injury in his shoulder that put him on the disabled list. Steven Matz had an irritation in the ulnar nerve that required surgery. Also, let us not forget the injury-prone Zack Wheeler was shut down last season due to a stress fracture.
Here we have a five-man rotation Mets fans have been dying to see for years and just like that the disabled list signed them all. Once Syndergaard went down Mets fans hopes did a little as well; now just imagine when the next three did as well. A year of hopeful success out the window just like that. With all five starters reporting to pitchers and catchers this week the Mets are looking towards this group to carry the team.
Some of the guys have already changed their ways in which to stay healthier. Wheeler changed his diet and also took injections to make his bones stronger. Wheeler also said while asked about what else he could do for a better season:
"“Being healthy is the biggest thing….you really can’t hope being healthy, but you can sort of do everything to prevent, and that’s what I did this past offseason… Everything I can do to be out there I’m going to do.”"
Syndergaard came in last spring stronger than ever. However, maybe it was a bit too much, since he’s said he can’t do workouts like that again and needs to “lift smarter” now during workouts. It’s time for these guys to join deGrom – who finished last season with the most starts out of any one of these guys – and give the fans something to be excited about heading into the season.
There have been talks that’s the Mets maybe don’t want to wait for the Wheeler return and are pursuing potential free agents Lance Lynn or Alex Cobb for that fifth and final starting spot. Yes, we are going to see injuries throughout the lineup. This is baseball and the regular season is 6 months long, but this team cannot see the starting rotation go down like last year. The potential is there.
Yes, it’s a lot of hope, but any type of a successful 2018 campaign starts with the rotation since the lineup and the bullpen can round things out around them. This rotation is excited to be back together and we can’t wait to see what the five of them can do all at once.
When asked about the return of the starting rotation, this is what Jeff Wilpon had to say:
"“If we get them all out there, it’ll be a great problem to have — that we don’t have enough innings for all these starting pitchers to fill. Look at what’s coming back, or should be coming back, that was hurt last year. I think that’s tantamount to signing some free agents because we didn’t have them for most of the season last year. Syndergaard, Matz, Harvey were down. That’s a great number of innings that are going to be coming back and I think, from what I hear from the baseball department, and from Mickey and Dave, those are quality innings that will be coming back.”"
On top of that, the new Mets skipper was the pitching coach for the Cleveland Indians last season who had a league-low for ERA and a league-high for strikeouts.
I know a lot of fans are complaining about not signing a starting pitcher, but with this rotation back I think it’s safe to let the rotation rock with what they have and use their money for other position needs at least for this year. See what you can get from Matt Harvey and Steven Matz in the middle of the rotation and let us just pray for all the right pieces to fall into place. As long as this rotation can keep us in the game towards the late innings then thats all we can ask from them and hopefully the rest of the team can finish it off.