Danny Abriano, SNY.tv | Twitter |
The Mets' 5.57 team ERA is the third-worst in the majors, better than only the Orioles and Red Sox. But manager Mickey Callaway isn't ready to sound the alarm.
"It's not concerning," Callaway said at Citi Field before Monday night's game against the Phillies, noting that the sample size is far too small for the team to be worried.
Is Callaway right to not be alarmed? Maybe...
- Jacob deGrom had two starts that had people thinking he had somehow gotten better than he was in 2018. Then he had two clunkers. But those clunkers came while deGrom was dealing with strep throat and then elbow soreness. And he's gotten a clean bill of health. He should be fine.
- Noah Syndergaard's ERA is 5.90, but his underlying numbers show someone who is getting incredibly unlucky. Syndergaard's FIP (fielding independent pitching) is 2.92, and his K/9 rate is 10.55. Like deGrom, he should be fine.
- Steven Matz entered his last start with a 1.65 ERA. He then got shellacked by the Phillies -- allowing eight runs (six earned) without recording an out. He, too, should be fine.
- Zack Wheeler has allowed two runs over 6.0 innings and three runs over 7.0 innings in his last two starts, so he seems to be rounding into form after two bad starts to open the season.
While the above numbers can be parsed, what can't be parsed is the fact that the Mets have an absolute mess on their hands when it comes to their No.5 starter and their overall starting pitching depth.
The team has so little trust in Jason Vargas that they have already skipped one of his starts and pushed back another. And he wasn't allowed to come back out for the fifth inning in his last start despite pitching (for him) relatively well.
And the options to replace Vargas -- Corey Oswalt, Chris Flexten, Et al. -- have left lots to be desired.
Callaway propped up Flexen before Monday's game, saying the emergency start he made on Saturday was "probably the most encouraging one I've ever seen" from him.
But while Flexen has dropped a lot of weight and added a lot of velocity, he can't be relied on. Nor can anyone else beyond the top four starters. That's a problem, and it's one the Mets can attempt to fix by signing Gio Gonzalez or Dallas Keuchel (with the Mets having been linked to both). And they really have no excuse to not sign one of them.
There's also the bullpen, which Callaway said hasn't kept the games close enough when the Mets are down.
Edwin Diaz has been dominant, Robert Gsellman has pitched incredibly well overall, and Justin Wilson has been solid. But pretty much everyone else has struggled -- and Wilson just landed on the IL due to what the Mets hope is a minor elbow issue.
Translation? Along with their No. 5 starter concerns and starting pitching depth concerns, the Mets have bullpen concerns. And just like there are starting rotation options left on the free agent market, there is a pretty damn good bullpen option out there, too -- Craig Kimbrel. And the Mets have kept in touch with him.
So while it's fair for Callaway to take a big picture look at things while saying the pitching issues aren't concerning, it's also fair to note that the Mets have close to zero rotation depth. And it's fair to note that the bullpen can use some reinforcements.
The Mets can sit back and hope things improve (and they probably will). But if they're truly all-in this season, they need to be more proactive than that.