Pitchers are great to have when they’re healthy. However, nothing is worse than a depleted rotation due to injuries. The Mets are learning just how fragile a pitching rotation can be as both Jenrry Mejia and Jeremy Hefner went down with season-ending arm injuries. In Hefner’s case, he will likely be out of action for all of 2014 because of Tommy John surgery. This is certainly concerning.
It’s amazing how quickly how the tables can turn. A week ago, the mainstream media and the Mets blogosphere were noting that the Mets had depth and breadth when it came to young pitching talent. It seemed like the 2013 plot line leading into 2014 would be about how this team is going to be a pitching team: “Generation K 2.0.” However, now the Mets are forced to rely on Daisuke Matsuzaka and Carlos Torres to fill in for Mejia and Hefner.
This is what happens when rotations are built around pitching: Injuries. It’s like when you have an iPhone without a case. It’s looks really nice until you drop it on asphalt and it smashes into a million pieces rendering you iPhoneless. If a team is going to have a group of five or six good pitchers, it’s pretty much expected that at least one of them is going to spend some time on the disabled list.
This is the type of thing that Mets fans should fear for the rest of the season, and heading into next year. Matt Harvey and Zack Wheeler haven’t had injuries yet, but it shouldn’t be too surprising if one of them does have a serious injury. These types of threats to the rotation should encourage Sandy Alderson to do one of two things: (1) Improve the offense so that an injured starter won’t be the end of the world; and (2) Look for a couple either really old veteran or number-six starters to stash in the minors and have ready in the event of an injury.
Thoughts on Matsuzaka:
Matsuzaka was signed to fill a specific role, and if the Mets had some younger talent in the system who had been ready, Matsuzaka would probably still be unemployed. What we saw on Friday is that Matsuzaka’s fastball is absolutely terrible. Both of the pitches that Torii Hunter and Miguel Cabrera homered off of were hanging fastballs right down the middle. His fastball was never really good throughout his career, and even last year it was worth -12.7 weighted runs above average. Command issues have also been a consistent part of Matsuzaka’s career; he’s never posted a K/BB ratio higher than 2.50, and that was posted in his rookie year.
The expectation for Matsuzaka is to just go out and pitch. He can sometimes deliver a streak of really nice outings, but most of the time he delivers a streak of really bad outings. Matsuzaka is a decent enough to fill in for an injured starter at the end of the season, but he shouldn’t expect to have a job with the Mets next year.