1. Nearly Mint Condition Harvey
You can tell it was a vintage Matt Harvey start because he was putting up zeroes while the Mets offense was failing to provide him with any run support. He was back to a more svelte self, and he had a commanding presence on the mound. Really, as Mets fans, we have not seen this from Harvey for three years.
In five strong innings, Harvey allowed just one hit while issuing one walk and striking out five.
No, this was not the Harvey who was throwing 95+. This was a pitcher who was locating a low-90s fastball with movement and utilizing his full arsenal. He was a pitcher and not a thrower.
Perhaps what was most encouraging was how Mickey Callaway believes Harvey has another gear in him and that Harvey pitched well despite not having his best stuff. If Harvey really has another gear from here, the Mets rotation now has three really good starters, and if that is truly the case, anything is possible in 2018.
2. Lugo & Gsellman Prominent Again
Back in 2016, Seth Lugo and Robert Gsellman seemingly emerged from out of nowhere to rebuild the Mets rotation and save their season. After the stocks of each player dropped dramatically last season, they are once again saviors for the Mets. This time it is in the bullpen.
In Tuesday’s win, Lugo completely dominated the Phillies. He faced the minimum striking out four. The only Phillies to put the ball meekly grounded out. Maybe it was because of Callaway being the Mets manager, or maybe because of that performance, some excited Mets fans began to ponder if Lugo is now the Mets version of Andrew Miller.
With respect to Gsellman, he has now made three appearances on the season pitching 3.2 scoreless innings recording seven strikeouts. His latest venture out the bullpen was Wednesday when he came in and picked up a struggling Syndergaard to give the Mets some length and put the team in position to win.
Two years ago, we thought Lugo and Gsellman would be important pieces of the Mets going forward. Even if they’re not performing in the roles we imagined, they look to be very important weapons coming out of the Mets bullpen this year.
3. Gonzalez Turning Back the Clock
Coming out of Spring Training, the biggest question mark among position players was Adrian Gonzalez. He struggled during much of Spring Training. He looked slow, and his bat looked slower. It’s been only a week, but so far, he is proving his doubters wrong.
On the season, Gonzalez is 4-for-13 (.308) with a run, double, RBI, and four walks. He has reached base in all five games he has appeared in this season.
At this point, there may be different aspects of his game we can pick apart including his not hitting for much power and his going 0-3 so far with RISP. However, this overlooks how he’s been productive and able to get on base.
With Michael Conforto coming off the disabled list, Gonzalez has earned his playing time, and he has made the decision to sit him all the more difficult. That is not something many people expected from him as the season began, and he deserved credit for being a productive player.
1. Thor-ny Start to the Season
While he did strike out 10 batters and walked none on Opening Day, he still did surrender two homers for the first time since May 11, 2016. Overall, Syndergaard allowed four earned runs in his six innings pitched.
Wednesday, he had to battle through it in a rain delayed game against the Phillies. He would need 92 pitches just to get through four innings. That included a 36 pitch third inning where the Phillies tied the game at 2-2.
Yes, Rhys Hoskins should have been called out for running out of the base line. Yes, Adrian Gonzalez should have made a better throw, and Asdrubal Cabrera could have been more aggressive trying to tag out the runner to prevent Carlos Santana from even being able to break for home. However, Syndergaard still struggled in that inning and in his start.
Overall, Syndergaard is just 1-0 with a 5.40 ERA and a 1.200 WHIP. That’s very unThor-like.
2. No Quality Starts
The Mets are now five games into the season, and partially due to a snow out, they have flipped their rotation over. Through those five games, the Mets have yet to have one quality start. In fact, Syndergaard is the only pitcher to go at least six innings and that was on Opening Day.
Overall, Mets starters are averaging just under five innings per start. Regardless of what Brian Kenny thinks about bullpenning, this is simply unsustainable over the course of a 162 game season.
It is still early, and the weather has played a role in some of those truncated starts, but sooner or later the Mets starters are going to have to pick it up and start going deeper into games. If not, this bullpen, which has showed some promise early in the season, is going to get burned out.
3. Reyes Struggling
Unlike last year, Jose Reyes was brought back to the Mets to exclusively serve in a utility role. It is still early, but right now, Reyes is struggling in that role. So far this season, Reyes is 0-3 with a walk, strike out, and caught stealing.
Reyes was caught stealing by Phillies catcher Jorge Alfaro who has a cannon behind the plate. Alfaro’s arm made Reyes’ decision all the more perplexing as his attempt was with two outs and Harvey at the plate. Instead of clearing the pitcher’s spot by drawing a walk with two outs, Reyes made the last out of the inning.
As if that wasn’t bad enough, Reyes went out the following inning and made an error on his first chance of the game.
Overall, Reyes is coming off a season with a -0.6 WAR and a -26 DRS, which was worst among Major League infielders. His start to the season doesn’t look like this year is going to be appreciably different, and that is going to hurt the Mets because Reyes was supposed to be an important utility player.