The starting rotation has been a huge strength for the New York Mets thus far in 2021, as the group has kept the Mets in games and has presented them with an opportunity to win each and every game. The group of Max Scherzer, Tylor Megill, Chris Bassitt, Carlos Carrasco, and Taijuan Walker has exceeded expectations thus far, as many were worried about the depth of the group after Jacob deGrom went down in Spring Training.
However, despite a strong showing thus far, there is one thing the group must improve upon, the length of starts. While these pitchers have pitched masterfully early in the year so far, the team needs their staff to work deeper in games if they want to make a deep playoff run this year.
Mets starting pitchers need to pitch deeper into games
Through seven games this year, Bassitt is the only starter who has completed six innings in a start. While it is early in the season and much of the staff is on innings restrictions for that reason, the team will need more as the season goes along. Buck Showalter smartly has limited his pitchers to lower pitch counts early on due to the fact that many of his pitchers have struggled with injuries in the past, and the fact that they have to build back up to a full workload after the lockout led to a shortened spring,
However, once these pitchers have built up to a normal workload, the team will need their pitchers to work deep into games. This is not to say the team needs eight or nine innings every start, although that would be a nice bonus if every once in a while a pitcher sprinkled in a dazzling outing like that. Rather the team needs to consistently get six or seven innings out of its pitchers, particularly the top of the rotation.
Scherzer has a bulldog mentality, and that is one of the things the Mets brought him in for. Obviously he is one of the league's top pitchers, but also, his intensity and tendency to rack up innings and pitch deep into games is a necessity for the team, especially while deGrom is still on the Injured List. With Walker already going down with an injury, the need for the rest of the starting rotation to hold up and pitch at a high level, is as important as ever.
The Mets have a weak bullpen
The other reason that having their starters work deep into games is so important is because the team's bullpen is a weakness. While it is still early in the year, the bullpen was a weakness for the Mets last season, and it appears that that hasn't changed in 2022. The team lost their best reliever, Aaron Loup, in free agency, and while they made efforts to replace him, those results have been mixed thus far.
While it is still early, the trade for Joely Rodriguez is not off to a good start, as he has surrendered four earned runs in 2.1 innings thus far. Additionally, Trevor May hasn't looked sharp early, and home runs appear to be an issue for the group. While the group can still turn it around, it is clear that the bullpen will never be a strength for the team this year.
So, to help minimize that weakness, Mets starters can work deeper in games. This will not only lessen the number of innings the bullpen will throw each game, but it will also keep the relievers' arms fresh, and should help them stay sharp when they do come in games. If the team can consistently get six to seven innings out of their starters, not only will that improve the rotation, but that should also serve as a huge boost to the team's bullpen. The combination of those two things will go a long way towards making a run at winning the division this year.