One of the most revealing things about the Mets’ 7-6 loss to the Nationals today, is that they are 7-1 this season when Jon Niese and Matt Harvey start, and 1-7 when they turn to Dillon Gee, Jeremy Hefner and Aaron Laffey. That says a lot, doesn’t it?
Today’s sacrificial lamb was 26-year old Jeremy Hefner who made a quick exit lasting only four innings and allowing four earned runs on four hits, three walks and a pair of homeruns to Ian Desmond and Bryce Harper. It might be time to consider bringing up Collin McHugh who seems to be having no problems pitching in the hitter-friendly PCL and owns a league leading 0.59 ERA. As for Heff, his 7.07 ERA tells the story.
Fifth starter Aaron Laffey came out of the bullpen for this one, but offered little relief and quickly served up a three-run homer to first baseman Adam LaRoche and couldn’t even finish his one inning of work. Laffey has a 7.20 ERA this season and there’s really no reason to keep him around even as a longman.
The backbreaking blow came when Bryce Harper nailed southpaw Josh Edgin with his second homer of the game in the eighth inning. The blast was proved to be the game winner. I like Edgin, but he’s been throwing batting practice this season and his velocity has tanked. This is not the same reliever we saw last season, and it may be time to cut bait with Edgin and his 9.00 ERA.
Offensively, the Mets were able to muster up six runs including five off of Nats starter Gio Gonzalez. The five runs all came in a big fourth inning, with Collin Cowgill and Daniel Murphy each driving in a pair. David Wright nearly got a hold of one, but had to settle for a triple. Ike Davis, who had two home runs yesterday off right-handed pitching, did what he usually does when a southpaw is on the mound and struck out three times. Sooner or later they’ll figure out they need to platoon him. Davis stranded three runners in scoring position in the process.
The Mets didn’t homer for the first time in eight home games at Citi Field this season.
The Mets obviously have two hug immediate concerns; a backend of the rotation which has totally sucked, and a bullpen that already needs some revamping.
Joe D.’s Crystal Ball: Expect Shaun Marcum to be activated from the DL and Collin McHugh to get promoted from Las Vegas. Say goodbye to Aaron Laffey and Jeremy Hefner. In the bullpen, I expect that both Greg Burke and Josh Edgin are as good as gone. We could see Robert Carson get promoted and one of either Frank Francisco or Pedro Feliciano get activated after the weekend. I’m betting it’s Frank-Frank.
This game was underwhelming and a big letdown after Friday night’s prime time spectacle. If they don’t fix the backend of the rotation, the Mets will be 15 games out by the end of May. And so far, Zack Wheeler is not looking like a solution, let alone an option.