The Mets’ recent run up the Wild Card standings has been as exciting as it is unexpected, and not just because the team appeared sunk with a sub-.500 record as recently as August 20. Due to injuries incurred by Jacob deGrom and Steven Matz, New York has had to figure out how to win games with replacement starters. While Seth Lugo and Robert Gsellman have been pleasant surprises so far, Rafael Montero appears to be the weak link in the rotation.
It’s nice that the Mets have emerged victorious in both of Montero’s starts this season, but if he continues to pitch the way he has, it could lead the team to certain doom. On August 29 against Miami, Montero got through five innings without giving up a run despite walking six batters and throwing 100 pitches. The control issues continued during his outing on Tuesday in Cincinnati, as the young right-hander walked four batters while allowing three runs in just four-and-one-third innings.
Both Matz and deGrom both remain on the shelf for now, but the Mets might not turn to Montero again the next time his spot in the rotation comes up. The New York Post suggests that fellow right-hander Gabriel Ynoa could be considered for the starting spot, although he has struggled when called upon out of the bullpen since his mid-August call-up.
Another option for the Mets would be to use the off day on Thursday to skip Montero’s turn in the rotation and have Noah Syndergaard pitch on regular rest on Monday in Washington. That would go against the team’s desire to give its young hurlers as much rest as possible, but with the postseason on the line, it’s best to have the best players on the field.