The Mets season started out well. Both Jon Niese and Matt Harvey came out the first two days and blew away the San Diego Padres. Dillon Gee and Jeremy Hefner followed and pitched well their first games, but have been terrible in their most recent ones. I really don't consider Aaron Laffey part of the rotation, he's a spot starter whose just filling in right now. The bottom line is that, if the New York Mets are to have any chance at any type of competition this year, the starting pitching NEEDS to get better. They are making the lineup work harder than they need to, and forcing the bullpen to do the same which is leading to disgusting performance by the pen.
The brightest spot on the Mets team right now is Matt Harvey. He is pitching lights out this year (3-0 0.82 ERA 22 IP 25K). Following him comes Jon Niese who is 2-1 with a respectable 3.80 ERA in 23.2 IP and 13 K. The rest of the starting rotation is just terrible. Dillon Gee has a 8.36 ERA in just 14 innings through 3 starts. Hefner has a 7.20 ERA in 2 starts (and one relief appearance), and Aaron Laffey has the lowest ERA of the three (4.82), though only 9.1 innings through 2 starts and one relief appearance. The rotation has thrown less than 60 innings this year and has allowed 38 earned runs. When Harvey or Niese pitches, the Mets are 6-1, but if the other three are pitching, the Mets are 1-6.
In the coming month, Shaun Marcum is hoped to return. He just threw about 5 shut out innings in PSL on rehab, and should be back next week, but we have yet to tell if he can return to form. Marcum will take Laffey's place in the rotation and hopefully bring some more stability. That still leaves Hefner and Gee as problems (as of now). This brings the possibility that Zach Wheeler could come up before the summer as many expected. Wheeler is a hotly debated topic, when he comes up, he could turn into the best pitcher in the MLB. But the Mets have to make the right decision so as to not risk the enormous potential he has.
The futility by the starting rotation (outside of Niese and Harvey) has led to similar levels of futility by the bullpen. The biggest surprise out of the pen this year has been Scott Rice who has a 1.29 ERA in 8 games through 7 innings. Brandon Lyon and Bobby Parnell are also pitching well out of the pen, both owning a 1.93 ERA. Scott Atchison had been pitching well before this last game in Colorado, and has pitched better than his 4.91 ERA shows. After those 4, the pen is awful with Hawkins, Burke, Edgin, and Familia all owning ERA's between 6.75 and 27.00. Burke was recently demoted to AAA where Terry Collins wanted him to work on his change up, and Familia was brought back up. Hawkins poor start is fairly unexpected, and hopefully he turns it around. Edgin has reduced velocity that will start worrying the Mets soon.
The bullpen is a crapshoot, as it always is. The rotation HAS to get better, because it is affecting all other aspects of the team. When Marcum returns, things should get better. As long as Niese and Harvey continue to pitch well, Marcum pitches like he did 3(ish) years ago, and Gee rights the ship, the rest of the team will follow suit.