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Mets: We overrated the starting rotation heading into 2020

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - AUGUST 11: Rick Porcello #22 of the New York Mets delivers the pitch against the Washington Nationals at Citi Field on August 11, 2020 in New York City. (Photo by Steven Ryan/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NEW YORK - AUGUST 11: Rick Porcello #22 of the New York Mets delivers the pitch against the Washington Nationals at Citi Field on August 11, 2020 in New York City. (Photo by Steven Ryan/Getty Images) /
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NEW YORK, NEW YORK – AUGUST 10: Steven Matz #32 of the New York Mets heads to the dugout after giving up 4 runs against the Washington Nationals in the third inning during their game at Citi Field on August 10, 2020 in New York City. (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images) /

The reality of what the Mets built

The fact that the Mets have the best pitcher on the planet may have been what led to so many overrating their rotation. deGrom is in a league of his own, but he can’t carry the team to the playoffs by himself. Coupled with the fact that the team doesn’t even win when he’s on the mound, it’s unrealistic and unfair to rely solely on him.

Stroman opting out after looking poised to return to the team served as a dagger to the rotation. Pitching help, to the top of the rotation no less, would not be on the way.

Matz was given the number two starting job and proved that he was not up to the task, even after looking solid in his first two starts of the season. In fact, he’s been so bad that he’s in danger of losing his job as a starter.

Rick Porcello has shown flashes of excellence but has struggled, for the most part. After looking great in his Mets debut, Wacha struggled in his next two starts and, to make matters worse, was subsequently placed on the IL with right shoulder inflammation.

The number five spot was given to rookie David Peterson. Peterson has been one of the bright spots of the Mets’ season, so far, posting an impressive 2.91 ERA, 17 strikeouts, 150 ERA+, 4.05 FIP, and 1.154 WHIP in 21.2 IP. However, as has been the trend whenever things are going well for the Mets, Peterson was placed on the IL with left shoulder fatigue.

Prior to the announcement that the two individuals in the organization had tested positive for COVID-19, the rotation looked like this:
deGrom
Porcello
Robert Gsellman
Corey Oswalt
Lugo

This is far from ideal. Let’s shift to the bullpen.

Although the bullpen has been quite good lately, things didn’t look great early on. Until several days into August, the Mets had one of the worst bullpens in the league and the team would be looking at a much better record now had their relievers been able to get it together earlier.

Betances missed the vast majority of the 2019 season due to injury and so far, he’s been pitching like it. Familia has been inconsistent but has struggled, for the most part. It initially looked like nothing had changed with Diaz, but he found success in an early reliever role.

However, Lugo had taken over closing duties but if he is, indeed, being moved to the rotation, Diaz will return to his original role. That could be problematic since he’s still struggling to close out games.

While the bullpen has been solid, it still doesn’t generate much confidence and did get off to a terrible start. However, the Mets’ rotation has become the team’s greatest weakness. The absence of Stroman and Syndergaard as well as the departure of Wheeler have not gone unnoticed and it was unfair to expect the rotation to still be great without them.

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deGrom can only do so much. If the Mets still look competitive by the end of August, general manager Brodie van Wagenen may very well be forced to acquire a starter at the deadline.

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