The New York Mets pitchers have been fantastic of late yet the losses have piled up. Has this team handed over too many potential wins?
Prior to this season, everybody’s “X-factor” for the New York Mets‘ success was whether the starting pitching would be healthy and perform at a level good enough to make up for an average lineup.
As ESPN’s Preseason Power Rankings put it, “The story never changes for the Mets. If the starting pitchers stay healthy, New York will likely be in the running for the postseason.” Well, sorry ESPN, but that isn’t quite right.
Jacob deGrom, Steven Matz, and Zack Wheeler have all stayed healthy. Noah Syndergaard, despite a recent stint on the DL, has logged 69 innings, second-most on the team. Jason Vargas is healthy now, even if he wasn’t before. Meaning, the pitching hasn’t completely fallen apart like it certainly could have.
It turns out that the Mets starting pitching has actually been above average, especially of late. This makes the Mets’ free-fall even more depressing because the “X Factor” starting pitching has done its job well enough to put the offense in a position to win games.
Several pitchers are even having some of their best seasons. Obviously, “bad luck” Jacob deGrom, with his 1.55 ERA and NL Pitcher leading 3.8 WAR (yeah that’s right, Max Scherzer), has proven once again that he is a top 5 pitcher in this league. Noah Syndergaard, despite never seemingly “having his best stuff” boasts an excellent 3.06 ERA. A more matured Steven Matz is having one of his best seasons, as he has been superb in recent starts and currently holds a solid 3.53 ERA.
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The Mets’ starters ERA sits at 3.77, 11th in the MLB. This is a remarkable recovery from the 5.14 starters ERA that they compiled last year.
A healthy Noah Syndergaard, solid Steven Matz, and no more Matt Harvey can do great things for a starters ERA. Even in 2016, the starters ERA finished at 3.61, not too much lower than the figure right now. It seems that the starters have their confidence once again, which should mean that the Mets are winning games consistently.
Since May 20th, the starters’ ERA has been an insane 2.60, best in the MLB.
Yet, despite the tremendous consistency, they have gone 8-17, to the credit of the offense and bullpen. All Todd Frazier could say to deGrom about the struggles was, “Dude I am so sorry. I don’t know what’s going on.”
The recent performance of the starting pitching paired with terrible losses put the Mets in a peculiar situation. On the one hand, there is still hope.
Since the starting pitching was supposed to be the “X-factor,” there is more likelihood that the offense comes to life later in the season than if the offense was playing well and the pitching was struggling.
On the other hand, they are paying a handful of veterans substantial contracts and with an offense built to win now. The team’s .672 OPS just isn’t going to cut it. The offensive performance over the next few weeks will determine the Mets’ course of action for the next 2-3 years. If they suddenly come to life and the pitching remains solid, this team could make a wild card run.
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If they continue to make weak contact every inning, no matter how good the pitching is, bad times are coming to Flushing.