You almost have to feel bad for the Mets’ pitchers who have to follow Matt Harvey these days.
With the legend of Harvey nearly growing to ‘perfect’ proportions, the rest of the staff (sans Jonathon Niese) have to be suffering from an inferiority complex. So far on the season, Shaun Marcum, Dillon Gee and Jeremy Hefner are now a combined 2-10 with a 5.59 ERA. (And let’s not even bring up Aaron Laffey, okay?)
With the Mets dropping a 6-3 decision to the White Sox on Wednesday night, the Mets are now 0-7 after Harvey’s starts. As the saying goes in baseball: “Momentum is only as good as the next day’s starting pitcher.”
For the Mets, that statement couldn’t be any truer.
With the way Harvey and Niese are pitching (or at least in regards to Niese, capable of pitching), I’m also reminded of the “Spahn and Sain and pray for rain” mantra used by Braves’ fans in the late 40’s. What inclement weather term can we rhyme with Niese or Harvey?
All kidding aside, the Mets’ staff after Harvey and Niese is a major source of consternation-as if you didn’t already know this. Will Marcum, Gee and Hefner get their act together? Can they get their act together?
While Marcum has the pedigree (57-38 with a 3.79 ERA in his seven-year career) to contribute, he first has to stay healthy. With an assortment of injuries over the years, Marcum has had trouble putting together many starts. Once he began getting regular starts in 2007, Marcum has only started in 30 or more games twice. For a team already down Johan Santana, it is imperative that Marcum gives this team some innings-and solid ones at that.
As for Gee and Hefner, well, after seeing enough of them for the last couple of years, it’s becoming readily apparent that the two of them are nothing more than serviceable No. 5-type pitchers-nothing wrong with that. While Gee and Hefner can be deceptive, they simply don’t possess the stuff to be trusted mid-rotation pitchers.
And with the Mets still under .500 and not showing much signs of becoming any better than that, the Zack Wheeler clock isn’t clicking fast enough.
The promotion of Wheeler serves two good purposes.
First, he’ll be an obvious upgrade to the staff, as he has the stuff to electrify the masses.
That brings me to my second point. Once the Mets call up Wheeler, the Mets will get a needed PR boost. Since Matt Harvey’s starts are an event these days, the next logical thing is to drum up support for the next best thing in Wheeler. Whenever Wheeler gets the call, It could only help spread some good will among the fanbase.
In the meantime, the back end of the rotation has to get in line, particularly Hefner and Gee. Granted Marcum stays healthy, the Mets staff by mid-year should be Niese, Harvey, Wheeler, Marcum and either Gee or Hefner-with Gee the most likely candidate.
So, with the season off to a semi-rocky start, it’s high time the back-end of the staff start pulling their weight, or they will soon be dead weight.