With the addition of Steven Matz and Seth Lugo this past weekend, the Mets are carrying six starting pitchers, who aside from the two include Jacob deGrom, Matt Harvey, Zack Wheeler and Robert Gsellman. With the Mets’ decision to use a six man rotation, despite deGrom’s belief against the benefits of pitching on six days rest, there is a reasonable chance that they will eventually do away with the plan as the season goes on. In that case, that would mean one of the six must be relegated to the bullpen. Should that occur, the argument for Gsellman or Lugo to be sent to the pen is likely the next step, but given the nature of his season, Matt Harvey should be the one to go.
Harvey’s inability to pitch deep into games has been a common theme this year and although the tendency isn’t lost on the rest of the rotation, his last time going seven innings was back in April 21st in a loss against the Nationals. Harvey’s last four starts are fairly encouraging- save for his second to last start against Pittsburgh – but the same could be said about Gsellman. The difference between the two is that Gsellman has been more economical with his pitch count. Gsellman seems to have earned back the trust of Terry Collins unlike the time Gsellman was removed from a game against San Diego on May 24th after six innings despite only throwing 84 pitches in a game the Mets went on to lose 6-5.
The bias over the higher profile and higher paid players on the Mets roster this season has come back to bite them in regards to Michael Conforto, TJ Rivera and perhaps even Rene Rivera. The Mets have allowed poor performance from players like Jose Reyes and Curtis Granderson and Travis dArnaud. And while TJ and Rene Rivera are not having an all star caliber season like Conforto, they both managed to play better than those chosen before them.
Despite still being in second place the Mets are in a position to light a fire under someone like Harvey who has gotten by on his reputation more so than his performance this year. Harvey shouldn’t be given the favor of remaining in the rotation if he has another poor outing or if he cannot prove that he has the gas tank to pitch deep into games. Summer isn’t even here yet, but it already feels like the dog days and for someone who calls himself the Dark Knight, he’s failed to save the Mets bullpen from imploding.
Following a string of consistent quality starts by Zack Wheeler, Tuesday night was a disaster as Wheeler was tagged with 8 runs and was unable to get out of the second inning. It’s not easy to remain consistent over the course of the season, but make no mistake about it, nobody should be safe from heading into the bullpen if they are unable to prove they can handle the hard work that comes with being part of the hyped up Mets rotation that carried high expectations coming into the year.