Mets or Nats: Which Staff Is Really The Best?

colon harvey matz syndergaard matz wheeler

I’ve been writing about the Mets pitching staff for MMO every week since the season began, as they make their regular turns through the rotation. Their potential has been consistently written about and that includes the bullpen, who John Harper of the Daily News recently picked as the best in the National League, fourth overall.

But while we’ve all been pleasantly surprised by everything from Jim Henderson (despite allowing the 2-run homer Sunday against Colorado), the effectiveness of Antonio Bastardo after a shaky start and Jeurys Familia giving up hits despite going 12-for-12 in save opportunities…

The state of the starting pitching has been questionable at best.

So I can’t get too angry about Harper giving the advantage to the Nationals going into tonight’s first meeting between the two teams…and the numbers back it up.

Mets Nationals
Staff ERA 3.09 2.97
Starters ERA 3.41 3.01
Relievers ERA 2.44 2.88
Starters Innings Pitched 219.1 239.1
Starters strikeouts 199 242
Starters WHIP 1.26 1.16

Despite the fact that these numbers put both teams in the top five in the league in most categories, as Dan Martin of the New York Post says, it’s hard for Syndergaard, Colon and Harvey to top Max Scherzer, Gio Gonzalez and Stephen Strasburg for this three game series that begins tonight.

So what can be done (besides cheering loudly for Daniel Murphy before his first at-bat for doing whatever was asked of him from the Mets’ front office, coaching staff and fan base for seven years…except for the few times he made bone-headed baserunning mistakes or fielding errors)?

The biggest problem is Matt Harvey and it’s that he’s not performing to the expectation level that we anticipated, especially after last year. Maybe throwing 189 innings in the regular season, then 26.2 more in the postseason is having its effect on his 27-year old arm? Maybe that’s similarly why Jacob deGrom, who threw 191 in the regular season, then 25 in the postseason, is around 91 MPH with his fastball.

Maybe that’s similarly why Jacob deGrom, who threw 191 in the regular season, then 25 in the postseason, is around 91 MPH with his fastball. I heard Howie Rose say this weekend that hitters are batting .400 against deGrom with two strikes. Now I’m sure I heard that stat wrong, but I did find that hitters are .308 against him with runners in scoring position. There are times when he can’t seem to put people away, something that wasn’t a concern last year.

How about the full optimistic view – That despite the decreased velocity, deGrom has a 2.50 ERA and four out of his six starts have been quality.

It’s the middle of May, so is it still early enough to say that while important, there’s a lot of season to play? Is this a statement series that will give Dusty’s boys the confidence they need to run and hide in the NL East? Should Mets fans be patient with our young staff, remind ourselves that Zack Wheeler returns to give them a boost in July and just hope to avoid waking up in fourth place on Friday morning?

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About Martin Kester 33 Articles
Since hanging from a street sign to watch the 1986 ticker-tape parade, I've enjoyed the Mets from a distance. Growing up, they were across the GW with Bob Murphy's voice bringing them close. I'm in enemy territory in Atlanta, but now I'm protected by Norman Seabrook and Howie Rose.