Matt Harvey stepped up last night and delivered a strong performance in Philadelphia. More importantly, this was Harvey’s second consecutive quality start. The Dark Knight threw 5 and 2/3 innings with six strikeouts, one walk, two earned runs, throwing 92 pitches. He topped out at 97 mph, which is a sign of him returning to form. Before leaving the game, though, Harvey appeared to grimace after covering first base.
The depth of the New York Mets pitching staff was a hot topic throughout the winter and spring, but so was the injury history for these aces. Early in the 2017 campaign, the Mets depth has been tested with several concerning injuries.
Steven Matz appears to be at least a month away from returning to baseball activities. This seems to be the theme of Matz’s career thus far. Seth Lugo may not see time until after the all-star break. With a partially torn UCL, it seems like only a matter of time before he has Tommy John Surgery. This does not provide much hope for an innings eater at the back of the rotation.
Robert Gsellman earned the fifth spot in the rotation out of spring training, but did not fare well against the Atlanta Braves in his first start. Time will tell if last season was a fluke for Gsellman or will we see another budding, young star on the mound. Zack Wheeler was thought to start the season in the bullpen, but earned himself a spot in the rotation. It is a great story for Wheeler, but he still could use some time to build back his strength and command of all his pitches. Wheeler has the stuff to pitch at the top of any rotation, but the coaching staff needs to handle him with care. This will be difficult in a pennant race.
Despite Harvey’s injury appearing to be minor, the Mets have to start looking outside the organization for pitching help. Unable to finish the sixth inning, Harvey left with what appeared to be a hamstring injury. Whether the injury is big or small, hamstrings tend to act throughout the season. This could be something that will limit Harvey in the future, whether through DL time or performance.
At the start of the season, the Mets have been rumored to have shown interest in free agent pitcher Doug Fister. Fister has been holding out for a Major League contract, but time seems to have run out on that hope. Fister is 33 years old and has pitched with four organizations in his 8-year career. Recently pitching for the Houston Astros last season, he posted a formidable 12-13 record, with a 4.64 earned run average. He threw 180.1 innings in Houston, which was his third highest career innings total.
Fister had playoff success with the Detroit Tigers. He has some familiarity with the NL East, pitching for the Washington Nationals from 2014 to 2015. In 2014, Fister posted career high 16 victories. Fister is an open book at this point in his career, but he will provide a quality backend of the rotation option for the Mets going forward if needed.
This is a season for the Mets to do whatever it takes to win. Most of the bold transactions were thought to be done at the trade deadline, but help is needed now. The loss of Bartolo Colon is being felt earlier than expected this year. That being said, signing Fister to a one year deal will not break the bank and provides stability early in this marathon.