After hearing the worst news that the Mets fan base could hear twice in one month: David Wright and Matt Harvey have possible extended injuries, every Met fan was up in arms about how the future in queens would look next season. After losing five consecutive games, I started to wonder why I even bothered rooting for a franchise that has the initials: My Entire Team Sucks. But last night Jon Niese proved his worth to the Mets and the entire MLB, he tossed a 3-hit shutout against the Phillies.
Considering the current standpoint of the Phillies, they aren’t what they were but nevertheless he completely overpowered them at home. I personally did not watch the game live, but watching the highlight video actually gave me a smile.
Once upon a time Niese was actually a top left-handed pitching prospect who was a big disappointment in his first two seasons. When he was capped with an innings limit in 2010 and was injured in 2011, he showed flashes of brilliance. The Mets front office definitely recognized this, which is why they gave a 25.75 million dollar extension to the only young lefty on the squad. The man did not disappoint. In his first start of 2012, he didn’t allow a hit vs. the Braves
until the seventh (remember there wasn’t a no-hitter yet) and helped sweep the opening series against our enemies. Niese would have had a 200 inning season if it weren’t for a 6-man rotation the last few weeks and he had the 8th best ERA in the National league for a lefty last season- behind pitchers like Clayton Kershaw, Gio Gonzalez, Cole Hamels, and Cliff Lee. Due to trades and injuries Niese was the best viable option to slate in for opening day, but he did disappoint. Before we knew of his injury, all Mets fans thought he had gotten Mike Pelfrey-itis.
After returning from the disabled list, he has only really messed up one pitch to Aaron Hill and suddenly struck out more batters in a two game period than he had all of April. Tossing his first shutout in more than 2 years really has shown that the Mets won games before Harvey and the Mets can win without him. I’m not saying that the team isn’t better with the NL’s current leader in strikeouts, but it isn’t like the Mets don’t have any depth.
Last season in late July, the Mets front office gambled by calling up Harvey, and they have also done the same thing with Zack Wheeler, Dillon Gee, and Jon Niese either midway or towards the end of the season to make a handful of starts. So far all four have made great progress and currently having a wonderful impact on the rotation. The Mets fans and the front office need to recognize that Harvey’s potential injury is an opening to what seems like a million possibilities this September and next season-but hopefully not next season. I’m certainly not saying that I would want Harvey to ultimately have the dreaded surgery, but we need to temporarily move on. The Mets have one of the richest farm systems when it comes to pitching and it’s time to put it into action.
We Mets fans absolutely love to brag about the best pitching farm system in the MLB, and instead of pouting about an injury that every team has faced, put it to good use. I propose that if Harvey needs the surgery, take a risk! Call up the fireballer Rafael Montero, maybe Cory Mazzoni, Darin Gorski, Jeurys Familia, Jacob DeGrom, or even mid-way through the season call up Noah Syndergaard. Don’t worry Mets fans, we are still going all in for 2014 and Harvey is still very young.
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