Last night at Citi Field, Michael Wacha served up another stark reminder that the Mets’ starting rotation ain’t what it used to be. To anyone with an internet connection and a basic understanding of the statistics publicly available on Baseball-Reference of FanGraphs, that the Mets wound up here should really come as no surprise.
To be fair, the Mets didn’t know that they would lose Noah Syndergaard to Tommy John surgery in the spring. And nobody knew the world would experience a pandemic that would drastically change the landscape of everything, this season included, and ultimately result in Marcus Stroman opting out of the season because of COVID concerns.
But the Mets knew what they were getting when their approach to shoring up a rotation that was without Zack Wheeler was to merely get Wacha and Rick Porcello on one-year deals while there were clearly better options on the market.
Wacha’s latest start, which came against an Orioles lineup that has above league average in runs scored per game, wasn’t pretty. He gave up seven hits, two of which were two-run home runs, and a total of five runs in four innings of work. He now has a 7.50 ERA on the season, and aside from his good first start of the season, he’s been downright bad. Perhaps his stint on the injured list with shoulder inflammation is the culprit for his struggles this year, but his iffy track record in recent years with health and his performance in 2019 were red flags of which the Mets should have been aware.
Aside from a solo home run by Jake Marisnick in the second inning and a solo home run by Jeff McNeil in the eighth, the rest of the game was a snooze. The Mets did very little at the plate, and they didn’t look all that sharp in the field, either, aside from a couple of nice plays.
Robert Gsellman, who has made four starts this year as the Mets’ lack of starting pitching depth has been completely exposed, went three-and-two-thirds innings in relief of Wacha. He gave up six runs along the way and left the game with an oblique injury that looked pretty uncomfortable as he slowly walked off the field and into the Mets’ dugout.
If the Mets are to rebound and make the expanded playoffs this year, they’ll need their starting pitching to turn things around immediately. Aside from Jacob deGrom, though, it’s hard to have a ton of confidence about what the Mets will get from a starter in any of their games the rest of the way.
SB Nation GameThreads
Win Probability Added
Big Mets winner: Jake Marisnick, +10.4% WPA
Big Mets loser: Michael Wacha, -33.3% WPA
Mets pitchers: -41.3% WPA
Mets hitters: -8.7% WPA
Teh aw3s0mest play: Jake Marisnick hits a solo home run in the second, +10.6% WPA
Teh sux0rest play: Ryan Mountcastle hits a two-run home run in the third, -19.2% WPA