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They were going to be the best rotation the Mets ever had. They were going to be the best rotation in Major League history. Flamethrowers…long, flowing hair…superhero nicknames…and now…not a single one is in the Mets starting rotation.
That’s right…with the announcement that Jacob deGrom has been placed on the Injured List with right side inflammation (that’s the current diagnosis), it means that the best rotation the Mets were ever going to have took the path of the last staff to garner that moniker – Generation K. The rotation of deGrom, Syndergaard, Wheeler, Matz, Harvey…has seemingly turned into Isringhausen, Pulsipher, Wilson, and Jones.
In fact, the next one of the recent five to start at CitiField? The Dark Knight returns to Gotham in the black and orange of the Baltimore Orioles. Harvey, of course, was the first one to be cast off in 2018, after 2 ½ seasons of an inability to recover from the devasting loss in the 2015 World Series. He had returned from Tommy John surgery to be effective during the 2015 season before pushing the limit of his innings allowance and then was never showing any resemblance of his former self from the onset of the 2016 season.
It happens every spring. The Mets strength is what? Let’s hear it…their pitching. Well, the pitching has been unimpressive, to say the least. Even Jacob deGrom has looked “human.”
The bullpen has been just brutal.
The keys to the bullpen were supposed to be the bridges to the closer – Robert Gsellman, Seth Lugo, and Jeurys Familia. They have all been shaky at best. And Edwin Diaz, although he hasn’t blown any saves…yet…he is not exactly “lights out” either. His reputation in Seattle was to produce heart palpitations during most of his outings even during his stellar 2018 season.
The one thing you used to be able to count on was that Mets pitchers wouldn’t issue many walks. Now they are walking the ballpark. The starting staff that was supposed to be the most talented in baseball is not really looking all that great.
My mother always tried to warn me, "Don't count your chickens before your eggs are hatched." It's a good rule to live by, especially before the start of the baseball season. A 162-game schedule makes for a long season and a lot can happen. A season can turn on a dime. Things can go bad very quickly.
So when everyone was so quick to label the Mets starting rotation as the best staff ever assembled, you just had to wonder if it was a bit premature. Well they may just be the best collection of talent. But there certainly seems like there is something to be concerned about, especially for those who remember the group from a prior era that carried the tag "Generation K." The hype is great for marketing, but sometimes it can land you with egg on your face.
The best pitching staff in baseball. The best pitching staff the Mets have ever had. The best pitching staff ever assembled. Hmmm. Can’t miss. After years of hope…or rather…hopelessness…it is refreshing to hear such high praise…any kind of praise really…for the Mets. And I can understand why the excitement about the Mets starting rotation is erupting like Mount St. Helen.
But is everyone too quick to adorn this group as the greatest ever assembled? Is the hype truly deserved at this point…or is it premature?
Mets fans have been victimized by the hype before. Remember Generation K? The big three in that group were Paul Wilson, Bill Pulsipher, and Jason Isringhausen. Bobby Jones was also a part of that staff that was supposed to be the greatest staff ever coming together. However, that greatness never materialized. In fact, the only one who had any kind of an effective career was Isringhausen who emerged as a dominant closer for a short time after overcoming numerous arm troubles.
It is just amazing how ridiculous some fans can be. The furor over signing Cespedes was relentless. Fans screamed that the Mets ownership NEVER spends money. And I think it is just incredible that the media feeds the frenzy and perpetuates the insanity.
Whether it was caving into the fan pressure or simply Sandy Alderson sticking to his plan and doing what was right for maintaining that plan and, at the same time, adding additional necessary parts, is irrelevant at this point. The fact is the Mets GM has taken chicken shit and turned it into chicken soup. Yes...he was not very successful with acquiring some bullpen help over the years of his tenure. But then, what GM really has been? Bullpen arms are so unpredictable. But what he HAS done is oversee the reshaping of the franchise, and has made the Mets into a contending team with a strong core of young talent promoted from a revitalized farm system, and bringing in spare parts when and where needed. Isn't that the formula the Yankees used to build their last dynasty?
The Mets put the final nail in the coffin of the Chicago Cubs, completing the sweep and sending them into the 2015 World Series. And they simply repeated the same process they utilized each and every game before - one of their young starters (this time it was Steven Matz) overmatched the Cubs hitters, Jeurys Familia put the finishing touches on in the ninth, and I am getting tired (not really) of saying this...Daniel Murphy hit a home run.
The Mets starters simply did not give the Cubs a chance to breathe. The Chicago hitters were able to put a chink in the armor here and there, but the Cubs never led at any time during the four game series. The Mets staff just completely overpowered the power hitters of the Chicago lineup.
The Mets are sitting atop the Eastern Division of the National League yet they are far from running away with the division title. In fact, the thought of meeting up with any of the three teams in the Central Division - Cardinals, Pirates, Cubs - is downright scary. The Mets are doing a pretty good job of beating up on the second division teams...but they are struggling against teams with winning records...as evidenced by their sweep of the Rockies followed up, in turn, by getting swept themselves by the Pirates at CitiField. The split with the Orioles in Baltimore not only showcased the Mets strength, it also showcased their weaknesses.