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Monday, 10 May 2021 21:22

And Then There Were None

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They were going to be the best rotation the Mets ever had. They were going to be the best rotation in Major League history. Flamethrowers…long, flowing hair…superhero nicknames…and now…not a single one is in the Mets starting rotation.

That’s right…with the announcement that Jacob deGrom has been placed on the Injured List with right side inflammation (that’s the current diagnosis), it means that the best rotation the Mets were ever going to have took the path of the last staff to garner that moniker – Generation K. The rotation of deGrom, Syndergaard, Wheeler, Matz, Harvey…has seemingly turned into Isringhausen, Pulsipher, Wilson, and Jones.

In fact, the next one of the recent five to start at CitiField? The Dark Knight returns to Gotham in the black and orange of the Baltimore Orioles. Harvey, of course, was the first one to be cast off in 2018, after 2 ½ seasons of an inability to recover from the devasting loss in the 2015 World Series. He had returned from Tommy John surgery to be effective during the 2015 season before pushing the limit of his innings allowance and then was never showing any resemblance of his former self from the onset of the 2016 season.

After being given chances with the Cincinnati Reds, the Los Angeles Angels, the Kansas City Royals, he seems to have settled in with the Orioles and is 3-2 in seven starts with a 3.60 ERA heading into Wednesday’s start against the Mets.

Zack Wheeler was the second to go as the former GM Brodie Van Wagenen, or wannabe GM Jeff Wilpon, thought it best to let Wheeler walk as a free agent after the 2019 season. Wheeler, who missed the 2015 World Series run with his own Tommy John surgery, had just started to be the pitcher scouts touted him to be when the Mets had acquired him years before.

So Wheeler is now doing for the Philadelphia Phillies what he should be doing for the Mets, and in his seven starts for the Phils, he is 3-2 with a 2.83 ERA.

Steven Matz was the local product from Long Island chosen in the 2nd round of the 2009 Major League Baseball draft. And, wouldn’t you know it, Matz had the start of his career delayed because he required Tommy John surgery. He returned in time to play a key role down the stretch in 2015 to help the Mets win the National League pennant.

But Matz somewhere along the way, just seemed to implode. Beginning 2017, Matz went 2-7 with an ERA of 6.08. The following season, he sported a record of 5-11 and an ERA of 3.97.  After rebounding a bit in 2019 going 11-10 and a less then awe-inspiring ERA of 4.21, Matz totally bottomed out in the shortened season of 2020, with dreadful record of 0-5 and horrifying ERA of 9.68.

The Mets very unceremoniously dumped Matz on the Toronto Blue Jays. But Matz seems to have rebounded and after a very dominant beginning to his Blue Jays career (at least in his first four starts) he is now 5-2 with a 4.68 ERA in seven starts.

Noah Syndergaard is still a Met but guess what? He didn’t pitch last year and is yet to pitch this year because…wait for it…Tommy John surgery. That’s right. Thor was the last of the five to succumb to that surgical procedure.

And while there have been shining reports on his progress, we have all witnessed how long it takes, if ever, for pitchers to return to themselves after Tommy John. Wheeler took a few seasons to recover but became a truly effective pitcher with the Mets. On the other side of the ledger, Harvey and Matz, while both showing initial promise, degenerated into the abyss of ineffectiveness.

And then there is deGrom. He had it. He recovered from it. And he has performed like an ace since he burst onto the scene as the least heralded of the quintet in 2014, and he rose to superhuman heights in 2018 and has been the best ever since.

So far in 2021, deGrom is sporting a deceptive 3-2 record with a mind-blowing ERA of 0.68 ERA with 65 strikeouts and just 7 walks in 40 innings pitched. Yes…superhuman. But then, and go ahead and scratch your head, the Mets have a losing record in games he has started. So perhaps…yeah…perhaps nothing. The last thing the Mets need now is for Jake to become a mere mortal.

Read 2483 times Last modified on Sunday, 12 May 2024 03:15
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Alan Karmin is an award-winning journalist and author. He was born in Brooklyn, New York and spent most of his life growing up in the New Jersey suburbs. Alan's family were avid Brooklyn Dodgers fans and when the Dodgers moved west, the Mets became the team to root for. The Mets have always been a true focal point, Alan even wrote a term paper in high school to analyze what was wrong with the Mets. While at the University of Miami, Alan honed his craft covering the, gulp, Yankees during spring trainings in Fort Lauderdale for a local NBC affiliate, as well as the Associated Press and UPI. He broadcasted baseball games for the University of Miami, and spring training games for the Baltimore Orioles and Montreal Expos. New York Mets Mania is a forum for Alan to write about his favorite team and for baseball fans to chime in and provide their thoughts and ideas about New York's Amazin' Mets.