In a matter of weeks now, the Mets will see the return of Noah Syndergaard and Carlos Carrasc0. What’s the plan to accommodate them?
The Mets have gone thru their starting rotation, consisting of Jacob deGrom, Marcus Stroman, Taijuan Walker, and David Peterson three times, with one start by Joey Lucchesi when a fifth starter was needed.
The results thus far are mixed but mostly good. DeGrom is looking like he’s in line for another Cy Young (.045 ERA), while Stroman is excelling with a sparkling .069 ERA.
Walker’s ERA is respectable at 3.21, but the eleven walks he’s surrendered are a blot on his record, and Peterson has yet to find the range, winning one of three decisions while giving up ten earned runs (13 overall) in 13.1 innings pitched.
The Mets continue to track the rehab progress of both Syndergaard and Carrasco, and so far, all systems point to go Mid-May or soon thereafter.
Including Luchessi, and while seven-man rotation is not to be taken seriously, what are the options afforded to the Mets, including one that I’ll propose they may or may not be thinking about?
Mets: Soon To Be Making Rotation Choices
For starters, The Mets need Joey Luchesi to pitch somewhere this season, and the likelihood of him remaining with the team is and should be dim. A ticket to Triple-A Syracuse is plausible for this up-and-coming 27-year-old lefty.
David Patterson earned his orange and blue last year, and unless he falls flat on his face between now and his next three or four starts, he would seem to be a mainstay of the Mets rotation along with deGrom and Stroman.
Similarly, Taijuan Walker will need to pitch his way out of the Mets rotation, leaving only one spot open for either Syndergaard or Carrasco.
But when you think about it, do the Mets need to choose between the two in their initial appearances following their return.
Mets: Syndergaard And Carrasco As Dual Openers
Assuming pitch counts and innings pitched will be closely monitored by the Mets for a while, why not use both of them as “openers” in the same game, rotating the order they pitch in.
Three innings apiece for a total of six innings gives the Mets having to cover only three innings in their over-taxed bullpen unless one of those games comes up as a seven-inning makeup doubleheader when the bullpen can be rested entirely if one or the other goes four innings.
Syndergaard is expected to be the bulldog he is, wanting to pitch every day if the Mets were let him. Still, in the midst of his walk-year before becoming a free agent this winter, Noah is more likely not to make waves, acceding to the plan, especially if he has an eye to returning to the Mets.
Down The Road, Who’s The Hot Hand
Obviously, and assuming all of their starters remain healthy, at some point in the season, Mets manager Luis Rojas will be forced to pare down his rotation rather than risk upsetting the routine of his every fifth-day starters, and the one they rely on and become accustomed to.
By then, Rojas will have more of a history for each of his starters, including Carrasco and Syndergaard, and together with his pitching coach Jeremy Heffner, they’ll most likely go with the hottest arms at the time.
Despite your or mine favorites, it won’t and shouldn’t matter if the Mets are battling for a division title by the trade deadline.
Undoubtedly, rival managers in the NL East are looking at the wealth of starters available to the Mets as the season moves along and wondering if and when their team will be caught in the buzzsaw of a rotation from hell for their hitters to be facing.
In the meantime, though, everything is on the Mets front office, and dependent on the continued smooth rehab progression of Syndergaard and Carrasco, the continued health of both – plus the current rotation.
Mets: Waiting On The Bats…
The good news is the Mets have a habit of being a second-half team. However, the bad news is asking if they’ll make it that far, staying in contention while they remain the worst-hitting team in the league could prove to be a stretch.
So, this is where we come to the point of realizing (if you didn’t know it already) that the Mets are one of the more interesting teams in the major leagues this year and worthy of following, even if you are not a die-hard fan of the team.
New ownership has uplifted the Mets fan base, but as always, it’s the players who must translate everything to wins on the field.
So far, so good as they remain the only team in their division with a plus-.500 record.
Keeping it that way, at least until the arrival of Noah Syndergaard and Carlos Carrasco return to fortify their starting staff, remains the current team’s composition challenge, especially if the Mets remain last in the league in runs scored with a paltry 42 runs scored in thirteen games.
Mets: Filling The Cup Half-Full
If you want the cup half-full, though, consider that the Washington Nationals are second-worst in the league in runs scored, and they’ll be facing Jacob deGrom in a weekend series opener Friday night.
Added to the Mets’ advantage, they will miss red-hot Max Scherzer and the injured Steven Strasburg in the Washington series, as the Nationals (7-9) continue to try to put the pieces together on a waylaid COVID interrupted season opening.
Meanwhile, the Mets finish up their series with the Chicago Cubs tonight at Wrigley Field before returning home to Citi Field, where they are 4-1 to grapple with the Nationals.
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