Noah Syndergaard and Jacob deGrom have done their part. But what about Steven Matz, Zack Wheeler and Matt Harvey? After all, those five were supposed to make up one of the best rotations of all time. However, in reality, they have never even pitched in the rotation at the same time.
The days of the Dark Knight electrifying a jam-packed Citi Field crowd are over, but the Mets don’t necessarily need the Dark Knight in order to clinch a playoff berth. What they do need, is Matt Harvey. They desperately need Harvey to become the workhorse that was just scratching the surface before he underwent Tommy John and thoracic outlet surgery.
The New London native has been more than serviceable for his club during spring training. Sure, his 4.50 ERA in the grapefruit leagues has not set the world on fire, but it is clearly a step in the right direction. He has been able to locate his pitches more effectively and cut down on walks. In his final 22.1 innings last season, Harvey gave opponents 12 free passes compared to only six over 20 innings this spring. Again, not terrific, but it is something the Mets could work with.
Syndergaard and deGrom were named the best 1-2 rotation combination in baseball by MLB.com on March 18 and it is easy to understand why. Syndergaard’s nasty 90+ mph slider has continued to befuddle hitters, which has translated into 218 strikeouts in 2016. Meanwhile deGrom has been the team’s healthiest pitcher over the years (which isn’t saying much) and he was the only Mets starter to throw over 200 innings last season.
Now that it is clear the Mets do not have to rely on Harvey to be the savior, he can officially take a back seat to Syndergaard and deGrom. And that is okay. He just needs to give the Mets quality innings. In fact, the entire staff should benefit from an improved defense on the left side of the infield, thanks to third baseman Todd Frazier and shortstop Amed Rosario.
Gone are the days where Met fans could salivate over the thought of a super rotation, but it still has the ability to be pretty darn good. The blue and orange should expect Harvey to become a bulldog and someone who can be relied upon – just not someone with the upside that failed to come to fruition.
Michael Logan is a staff writer for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.