MMO Mailbag: The Crumbling Pitching Staff

With the Mets having their worst stretch of the season with a number of bullpen meltdowns, most of the questions focused on the state of the Mets pitching and how the team’s outlook has changed:

Harry Lime asks . . .

How do we solve the problem of blowing every lead?

John S. replies . . .

Well, as we saw with Jacob Rhame(second inning) and Gerson Bautista(ninth) being in a position they had no business being in, the best thing the Mets can do is get something from their starters.

Other than Jacob deGromand Noah Syndergaard, only Zack Wheeler has gone seven innings, and he only did that in his first start of the season.

Things are much worse than that with Steven Matz, Jason Vargas, and spot starter P.J. Conlonaveraging under five innings per start. The trio has combined to make 17 starts thus far.

That taxes a bullpen, and it’s a reason why Robert Gsellman has pitched in every inning this season but the first.

Even with it being for one start, Syndergaard going on the DL is going to make things much worse. Vargas will go on three days rest and will be followed by Seth Lugo, who will be limited to around 50 pitches, the following day.

Sure, we can point to Jerry Blevins becoming Scott Schoeneweis or Eric O’Flaherty. There are the times Mickey Callaway completely ignored Corey Oswalt and Chris Flexen for long stretches.

Really, there are any number of head scratching Callaway moves.

However, at the end of the day, it’s about the starters not pulling their weight putting more pressure on the bullpen. Hopefully, Anthony Swarzak will prove to be a shot in the arm because the Mets are running out of options.

Tara M. asks . . .

First deGrom. Now Matz! How long before the National League adopts the DH!!!!!

John S. replies . . .

This is the same Matz who had to go on the DL in 2015 after he slept on a couch. Sure, he injured himself swinging a bat, but given his extensive injury history, we shouldn’t overreact to his getting hurt.

To a certain extent, this applies to deGrom as well, who mostly missed his next start for precautionary reasons.

In the end, these are fluke injuries, and if you track baseball, pitchers rarely get hurt swinging the bat. As for incidents like Adam Wainwright and Chien-Ming Wang, baseball can’t legislate running or touching bases out of the game. If so, how do you handle balls grounded to the first baseman?

In the end, most of these DH arguments aren’t about pitcher’s health but really about not wanting to see two-to-three pitcher at-bats per game. If that is your position, that’s fine. You have a whole other league you can watch.

On that point, so far this year, the DH has increased offense a whole two-tenths of a run per team. That’s double the one-tenth of a run it was last year.

Mr. Belvedere asks . . .

Do you think the Mets will win the World Series in 2018?

John S. replies . . .

The Mets are down two starters and are down to .500. Their bullpen is beyond taxed. Right now, Callaway looks overmatched.

You’d be a fool to say this Mets team can win the World Series. That said, this isn’t what the Mets team is supposed to be.

Swarzak, who was signed to pitch the eighth, is close to returning.

This lineup and defense will look much better when Todd Frazier returns, and it should be noted he’s going to play rehab games this week.

Devin Mesoraco and Jose Bautista have been rejuvenated in a Mets uniform.

Michael Conforto and Adrian Gonzalez have rediscovered their swings in May.

Brandon Nimmo and Amed Rosario have taken significant steps forward in their development.

This team has also shown fight in this rough stretch scoring runs late in games.

Add a healthy Yoenis Cespedes to this mix, and who knows?

Maybe the Mets still could win the World Series this year. However, before we get ahead of ourselves, let’s see how many games out this team is in when everyone is finally healthy.

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Hopefully, you enjoyed this mailbag as much as I enjoyed answering your questions. Keep the questions and comments coming and make sure to send them to AskMMO@metsmerizedonline.com

About John Sheridan 554 Articles
John was raised to be a Mets fan by birth, and now he is raising a Mets fan of his own. He also uses Sabermetrics to either confirm the proverbial eye test or to see if we're seeing things with Mets colored glasses. He looks forward to bringing this perspective to MMO. His work, including the tales of raising his son a Mets fan, can also be seen at MetsDaddy.com.