As the Mets have struggled over the past month, they’ve had issues on all parts of their roster. But when it comes to the team’s starting rotation, things have gone really poorly overall, despite the fact that the team has a pair of aces in that rotation.
At the moment, Jacob deGrom has a 1.83 ERA that ranks fifth among qualified starting pitchers in Major League Baseball. His last start was his first since his hyperextended elbow, and it was a weird one, but he’s been outstanding. Noah Syndergaard hasn’t been quite as dominant or pitch as late into games as everyone would like in the early going this year, but his 3.14 ERA is still the 29th-best mark in the game.
Because of the way the season has played out thus far, those two pitchers have thrown 96 innings—47.1 percent of all innings pitched by Mets starters. And the rotation still has a 4.51 ERA that ranks 20th in baseball. The starting pitchers other than the two aces have combined to pitch 107.2 innings with a 6.27 ERA.
Among the rest, Steven Matz has clearly been the best. He’s thrown 32.2 innings in seven starts and has a 3.86 ERA. Whether or not that’s sustainable is questionable, as he’s also the owner of a 5.50 FIP thanks to a sky-high rate of 1.93 home runs allowed per nine innings and a 10.8 percent walk rate that is much higher than his career norms.
After his start yesterday, Zack Wheeler has a 5.92 ERA on the season. And Jason Vargas looked so bad as he racked up his 13.86 ERA in his first three starts with the Mets that the team skipped him on this last turn through the rotation. Matt Harvey struggled mightily before the team designated for assignment and traded him to the Reds.
There aren’t any particularly easy answers at the moment, either. The Mets chose to approach starting pitching as a minor issue in the offseason, but what they’re getting out of the rotation right now isn’t really surprising. Maybe Seth Lugo or Robert Gsellman get a shot in one of those back three slots in the rotation and things improve. Maybe Chris Flexen or Corey Oswalt get called up at some point and put up better numbers than would be expected—or at least better numbers than the current members of that part of the rotation.
But there’s no blatantly obvious solution at hand. The Mets were comfortable rolling with the roster they brought into the 2018 season, and this is what that starting rotation looks like.