As the Mets have closed within one game of .500 and put themselves back on the brink of contention for a Wild Card spot in the National League, their starting rotation deserves a ton of credit for their turnaround. As a group, the starters have a 2.59 ERA and 2.64 FIP in 128.1 innings over the span of 21 starts, which is basically two-thirds of a normal Jacob deGrom season.
That 2.59 ERA is the best in baseball since the All-Star break. So is the 2.64 FIP. And the 128.1 innings pitched by Mets starters rank third, though the only two teams ahead of them in that category have had two and three more starts, respectively. Their 25.6 percent strikeout rate is the fifth-best mark in baseball, and their 6.0 percent walk rate is sixth-best.
It comes as absolutely no surprise that deGrom himself has led the rotation to this deGromian performance. In four starts since the break, he has a very nice 0.69 ERA and a 1.49 FIP over the course of 26.0 innings. Noah Syndergaard has thrown 35.1 innings, going exactly seven innings in four of his five starts and seven-and-one-third innings in the other. His 1.78 ERA and 1.77 FIP have been remarkably similar, and he’s pitching like the co-ace he has often been in his major league career.
Steven Matz and Jason Vargas each account for 22.2 of the innings pitched by the rotation since the break, and Vargas, of course, is no longer on the team after he was traded to the Phillies. But Matz’s 3.57 ERA and 2.51 FIP are the far superior stats of the two. Vargas had a 4.76 ERA and 5.69 FIP in his innings before he was dealt.
Zack Wheeler has made only two starts and pitched 12.1 innings after missing time on the injured list with shoulder fatigure. But his 2.19 ERA and 2.00 FIP in those starts have been very helpful. Walker Lockett had a 1.80 ERA in his lone start of the second half, which lasted 5.0 innings. And last but not least, Marcus Stroman’s first starts for the Mets didn’t go all that well, as he struggled with walks and what appeared to be rust after a long break between starts. His 4.1-inning share of the team’s second half stats comes with a 6.23 ERA.
After years of chasing a “big five” rotation that was once anchored by Matt Harvey, the Mets might have finally gotten to the point that they have the very best version of their rotation pitching all at once. It’s only been for a relatively small chunk of the season, and it would be setting the bar extremely high to expect the whole group to remain this good. But it’s worth celebrating that they have been good even for this long.
Mets games feel relevant right now. And with one of these pitchers going every day, it’s not hard to see why.