The New York Mets starting pitchers all performed well during the recent homestand and could have easily come away with wins in all six games.
The New York Mets will take a break this week from playing games at Citi Field when the venture on the subway to play the New York Yankees for two in The Bronx. Before this series begins, let’s give the starting five a little credit.
After dropping two on the road versus the Arizona Diamondbacks to begin the month, the Mets returned home for a three-game series against the San Francisco Giants. In the first game, we got a repeat matchup of the 2016 Wild Card Game. Noah Syndergaard battled late with Madison Bumgarner. The Mets made a comeback late, but a questionable decision by manager Mickey Callaway to remove Syndergaard helped lead to a tie game and an eventual loss when the bullpen coughed things up in overtime.
This game happened on Tuesday. Immediately, many were ready to tune out for the rest of the year.
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The next day, Jason Vargas of all people tossed the second complete game shutout of the season for the blue and orange. In the rubber-game versus the Giants, Zack Wheeler had a terrific performance of his own.
When you play a game on your home turf against the 2019 Giants, you should win. The Mets took care of business and prepared for three games versus the Colorado Rockies.
Unfortunately, the first game went as a loss despite a solid showing by Jacob deGrom. Last year’s lack of run support returned for at least one night. deGrom pitched a good but not great game still worthy of a win. Because he got little in the way of run support, game one ended up as a loss.
Picking up themselves up quickly, Steven Matz took the hill on Saturday and helped the Amazins take down the Rockies. Thanks in large part to his 10 strikeouts, the Mets had a fairly easy 5-3 win.
One full time through the rotation and the Mets starters all gave us what we wanted to see: quality outings. Though only three of those games resulted in a win, the starters all showed they have it in them to carry this team.
Sunday’s game against the Rockies included one of those special starts from Syndergaard. In 7 innings and with only 98 pitches, he held one of baseball’s best lineups to just a single hit. With a 6-0 lead, the Mets were able to give Jeurys Familia a calmer inning before Hector Santiago came in to finish it in the ninth, giving up one run in the process.
The last week featured both the best and worst of the Mets pitching staff. In close games when the bullpen was called upon to hold things together or protect a close lead, the only men they could depend on were Seth Lugo and Edwin Diaz. Saturday’s victory was as well-drawn up as you could want with Matz going six, Lugo getting the next six outs, and Diaz picking up the save. You can’t do this every night. You also cannot expect the Mets to score six runs and the starters to hold the opponent scoreless.
We saw a recipe for success this past week. Get good starting pitching, score some runs, and you can take two out of three. However, this recipe for success is not nearly enough. Sure, it’s edible. It’s not nearly enough.
You have to account for those games when the starting pitchers get rocked or the offense fails to show up at all. This is how a homestand can go from finishing with a 4-2 record to an even 3-3.
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Now one game below .500 before their series versus the Yankees, it is essential what has gone right continues to do so. Meanwhile, those weaknesses need to rear their ugliness much less than they have.