N. L. East: The Mets Pitching Rotation of the Future is Now
The New York Mets unleashed one young pitching phenom on the National League East at the star of the season in young fireballer Matt Harvey. Harvey is making a strong bid to start the All-Star Game at Citi Field in July. He has been dominant from the get go this season, starting the year 5-0 in his first five starts. He is 6-1 with a 2.16 ERA going into toady’s start against the Philadelphia Phillies. Harvey has 115 strikeouts and only 23 walks. In 104 innings he has allowed only 71 hits and has flirted with a no-hitter three times already this season.
OK, one young starting phenom is a nice little story, but not enough to make the rest of baseball worry about the Mets. Well now they may have a reason in Zach Wheeler. Wheeler made his debut with the Mets in the second game of a road double-header on Tuesday against the first place Atlanta Braves. After Harvey shut the Braves down in game One, not allowing a hit until the seventh inning, Wheeler shut them down in the second game as the Mets swept the twin bill.
Wheeler had every reason in world to fail in this game. He was pitching on the road, in his hometown, with his friends and family in attendance. He was pitching against the first place team after they had already been beaten once that day. He was pitching on a bad team. Yet after loading the bases in the first inning, the young flamethrower got out of the inning without allowing a run and got his first big league win. The Mets won Wheeler’s start 6-1, sweeping a double-header in a place they have been pummeled a lot in recent years. Wheeler went 6 innings allowing 4 hits striking out 7 and walking 5.
With two young aces, it brings to mind the times when the Mets have been contenders. In the late 1960s and early 10970s, they had Tom Seaver, Jerry Koosman and Jon Matlack in the starting rotation. In the mid 1980s it was Dwight Gooden, Ron Darling and Sid Fernandez. If the Mets can come up with one more good young arm, then who knows? We could be looking at another Mets run to the World Series in the near future. That third guy might be Dillon Gee. Lately, Gee has pitched very well. He beat the New York Yankees 3-1 on May 30th, then after getting hammered in his next start, beat the St. Louis Cardinals 5-1 on June 12th, lost to the Braves 2-1 on Monday night. Last night he was hammered by the Phillies for 6 runs in 5 innings in a 9-8 Mets loss. If gee can get more consistent, then the Mets may be on to something big.
It is about time for the Mets to start getting back into the mix. Baseball just seems to be a bit more exciting when the Mets are competitive. With Harvey and Wheeler, the Mets seem to be on their way to being very good.