Mets’ Starting Rotation Enjoys Unprecedented Stretch
In all 26 games the Mets played in April, their starting rotation achieved something no other Mets rotation ever had.
Every day that a Met starter took the mound in April, he went at least five innings. Now, this would seem to be a greater accomplishment in this era of tightly monitored pitch counts and seven-man bullpens, but, in fact, no other starting rotation in Mets history had ever gone 26 consecutive games without one early exit.
Not the Seaver-Koosman-Gentry-Ryan-Cardwell rotation in 1969. Not the Seaver-Koosman-Matlack-Stone-Sadecki combination four years later. And not even the Gooden-Darling-Ojeda-Cone-Fernandez rotation in 1988, which might well have been the best of them all.
But none of them were able to achieve Dillon Gee’s, Jon Niese’s, Zack Wheeler’s, Jennry Mejia’s and Bartolo Colon’s collective feat of getting through at least five innings in every start. Now, in the first game of May, Colon snapped the streak by getting tattooed in Colorado and lasting just 4 2/3 very rocky, Rockie innings. And, it should also be noted, those great rotations of lore never went 26 consecutive games without completing a single one, whereas this current rotation has yet to have a single pitcher go the full nine innings this season.
As Darling himself says, “Seven innings is like a complete game for a pitcher now.” But there’s no question that the biggest reason the Mets began their season with a 15-12 record and went into the month of May still relevant (which was not the case in 2013) has been their starting rotation. And that’s a heartening development for a team that knew it would be without Matt Harvey—and Jeremy Hefner, too, for that matter—this entire season.
So, while Noah Syndergaard, Rafael Montero and Jacob deGrom continue to pitch at Triple-A Las Vegas, each of them considered a viable candidate to pitch in the majors at some point this season, the big league rotation—with four out of five starters carrying ERAs below 4.00—has been able to cover up for the continued lack of consistent offense that’s produced a .320 slugging percentage that’s dead last in the National League.
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