Mets fans have enjoyed an embarrassment of riches when it comes to starting pitching. Between the exploits during 2015 from Matt Harvey, Jacob de Grom, Noah Syndergaard, Steven Matz and Bartolo Colon, fans pretty much tune in each night expecting a shutout. Thus far in 2016 there have been some stellar performances but unfortunately there have also been plenty of clinkers.
Steven Matz ushered in the new season with a game he’d just as soon forget, but after that stumble out of the starting gate he’s been outstanding, his most recent effort part of the 13-1 crushing of the San Francisco Giants. That 1.2 inning debacle has led to three straight starts during which he’s compiled a minuscule 0.93 ERA. It doesn’t get much better than that.
Noah Syndergaard has been the mirror image of Steven Matz. Through his first 4 games he posted a tiny ERA of 1.69 while holding batters to a .222 batting average. In his last start he showed he’s human, too, by sacrificing 4 runs over 5.2 IP. Thus far he’s managed to fan 44 batters in just 32 IP.
Jacob de Grom has now reeled off two efforts in a row that were not deGrominating. From a guy whose ERA for his entire career is just 2.57, it seemed a little out of character. To show how far this staff has come in setting expectations, de Grom’s 3 earned runs over 5 IP Thursday night in San Diego would be acceptable to pretty much any ballclub but it comes to what fans are accustomed to seeing from the former Rookie of the Year, it stood out as a bad performance. Coming on the heels of a winning game in which he gave up 3 runs to the Padres (none earned) it showed he can be human, too.
Bartolo Colon has been the picture of consistency this season. Thus far through 6 starts he’s delivered a nifty 2.56 ERA and most recently came off 8 innings of shutout ball versus the woeful Atlanta Braves. Batters are hitting .277 against him, but his usual pinpoint control minimizes the bases on balls and he’s managed to dance around potential trouble.
Matt Harvey, on the other hand, has been pretty mediocre thus far this year. The numbers don’t lie – a 2-4 record, a 4.76 ERA, an ugly 1.559 WHIP, striking out just 6.6 batters per 9 IP as opposed to a career average 9.3, and batters are teeing off to a .311 average against him! Pitchers go through slumps as do batters, so unless there’s a health issue beyond the bladder problem that he hasn’t disclosed, this too shall pass.
Still, it’s a bit disconcerting for Mets fans to see pitching performances from many of their starting staff that are not the automatic guarantee of victory on a nightly basis. Should fans be worried? Probably not…and even if you are, remember that Zack Wheeler and Sean Gilmartin are capable reinforcements should anyone falter.