Marcum, Gee and Hefner need to start pulling their weight

 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.

11 comments for “Marcum, Gee and Hefner need to start pulling their weight

  1. May 9, 2013 at 10:33 am

    Maybe they bring up Wheeler to start tomorrow night? When I’m going to the game? Please? So I won’t have to have paid good money and end up with Shaun Marcum? Please?

  2. May 9, 2013 at 10:51 am

    Met management knew this was going to be a problem. Once Santana went down and Dickey was traded that’s 40% of the top of your rotation. If Marcum can at least pitch half way decent then you can trade him by the trading deadline.

  3. May 9, 2013 at 11:25 am

    Hefner’s last three starts — 21 IP, 7 ER for a 3.00 ERA. And that doesn’t even take into account three runs last night scored on bloops and bleeders. If Hefner was our biggest problem we would be in first place.

    • Dan Stack
      May 9, 2013 at 4:53 pm

      So I take it Brian, that you like Hefner more than Gee as the eventual fifth?

      • May 9, 2013 at 5:37 pm

        I honestly don’t know what to think of Gee. I thought he flew under the radar when he was in the minors and then the success he had initially in the majors was not supported by his peripherals. Then last year he started to pitch great before coming down with the blood clot. I’m willing to give him a pass on his early season struggles this year but we need to start seeing results sooner rather than later. The off days and the bad weather messed with everyone but he should be pitching on a regular rotation from here on out. If three starts from now he’s still getting pounded – I’ll jump on the “promote ZW bandwagon.”

        As for your question – my guess is that Gee has a slightly higher upside overall than Hefner but at this moment, Hefner is the better pitcher.

  4. Metsense
    May 9, 2013 at 11:58 am

    Marcum needs to step but he has only 10 innings , a pedigree, so although underperforming it is not fair to worry about him. As Brian has pointed out, Heffner’s last three starts have been commendable for a 5th starter.Gee is the concern because he is not going deep enough into games. He is the disappointment and needs to get back some consistency. Is Wheeler the solution? Since the Mets aren’t going anywhere in 2013 I would wait for the Super 2 date. If things don’t improve for Marcum or Gee after three more starts, I would give McHugh an audition (if he is pitching well) and bite the bullet until Super 2 time.

  5. Name
    May 9, 2013 at 12:03 pm

    Marcum still is getting a pass in my book. He was rushed back because we didn’t want to see Aaron Laffey anymore. Then he made a generous relief appearance and didn’t ask for extra rest for his next start. I’m confident he’ll start putting it together eventually.

    As Brian has been preaching, Hefner has been more than serviceable after his horrid start and he gets the thumb up from me right now.

    Gee, however, needs to put up or head to the minors. He’s pitched exactly as his record indicates. 2 great starts and 4 terrible starts which is his current 2-4 record. In his great starts he’s allowed 1 run or fewer, and in his terrible starts he’s been rocked for 4+ runs and pretty much put the team out of the game by the time he departs. His main problem has been his control, which he had problems since the start of Spring Training and may be related due to his blood clot surgery and not pitching in games the second half of last season. If he cannot find his control in the next two starts, i’d rather see McHugh get a chance rather than continually running Gee out there.

  6. May 9, 2013 at 12:25 pm

    Marcum is a terrific pitcher who has been injured, then brought up (properly, I think) before he had it all together. He looked great in Atlanta, a pitcher who knew exactly what he was doing, and ran out of gas around 75-80 pitches. He’s nothing to complain about — actually, IMO, it’s unfair to complain about him, the same way it’s unfair to some folks to dissect Wheeler’s first 3 starts in Vegas when he wasn’t fully back.

    Hefner has pitched well — and boy, I’d love to see him in the bullpen as the team’s long man. He’d really, really help and it would cause a ripple effect throughout the pen.

    On Gee, I’ve never really liked him. All along, I just keep hoping he’ll string together a great month (which he can do) and the Mets trade him to somebody. He’s just another end of rotation guy. How many do you need? I love a reasonably effective #5 guy. I just don’t want 3 of them.

    • Chris F
      May 9, 2013 at 12:33 pm

      “I’d love to see him in the bullpen as the team’s long man. He’d really, really help and it would cause a ripple effect throughout the pen.”

      I think that is the best solution, pending of course, his ability to hold the HR down. And this season, thats not been the case. I think he’s a 6 guy, long relief. Gee is packageable at best IMO. Marcum is is the butterfly bandage on an open wound that needs stitches. It may hold for a short spell, but he’s nothing but “rotation filler”. The only pitchers in our current rotation that will be on a competitive Mets team are Harvey and Niese. Dan, you are absolutely right.

      Patience Mets fans. For sure ’13 is just a year about biding time and watching the formation of MLBs best pitcher.

  7. May 9, 2013 at 3:28 pm

    I honestly thought this would be Dillon Gee’s year. I even wrote earlier this year that would be the case.

    One of the three of them need to turn it around quick. It’s getting disappointing to watch starts after Harvey pitches.

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