Before the season began, we heard some chatter about the Mets possibly being better than the Yankees this season. It was perceived as more of a shot at the Yanks, who have one of their least talented rosters in recent years. But two weeks into the season, the Mets have now earned our attention.
It’s been a while since they’ve been relevant, but New York’s other baseball team is off to an NL-best 10-3 start after winning their eighth straight game on Sunday — and ace Matt Harvey improved to 3-0 this season in his return from Tommy John surgery. The team in the Bronx is a mere 6-6, currently third in the AL East.
The start to the season is tied for the best in Mets’ franchise history. And right when the excitement began to kick in, so did the injuries, and they still haven’t seemed to skip a beat … yet. It started with third basemen David Wright, who was off to a great start before a hamstring injury sent him to the DL. But the Mets kept battling. Then their 7-6 victory over the Marlins on Sunday at Citi Field came at a steep price.
Arguably the Mets’ best reliever, lefty Jerry Blevins, fractured his arm on a ball that came right back at him on the mound. Blevins hadn’t allowed a baserunner yet this season. But the news got worse. Travis d’Arnaud, their young catcher, and maybe best hitter, was hit by a pitch and fractured his right hand. d’Arnaud is batting .317 with two homers and 10 RBI so far this season.
Although the Mets will miss these two important pieces, they are 10-3 for a reason. That reason has been starting pitching. A couple of injuries may slow them, but they are going to keep winning behind their impressive rotation. Harvey is their ace, but Jacob deGrom, Bartolo Colon and Jon Niese have provided the type of quality starts that will keep this team alive throughout the season.
The Mets offense has been off to a decent start this season. But with Wright and d’Arnaud out of the lineup, the Mets staff might have to step up to the challenge even more than they have already. But judging from their start, that may not be too much to ask for. Harvey has a 3.50 ERA over 18 innings, but is still 3-0 while shaking off the rust. In the meantime, the rest of the rotation has had his back.
The 41-year old Colon (and who knows how old this guy actually is) is also off to a 3-0 start, and boasts a 2.25 ERA himself over his 20 innings pitched. Niese has been rock solid at the back end of the rotation. During his two starts he’s only allowed two earned runs — good for a 1.59 ERA. Then there’s deGrom — last year’s Rookie of the Year — who has looked like an elite starter thus far. With an ERA of just 0.93, deGrom may overtake Harvey for the highest expectations of the group.
So if you were surprised by the Mets’ start to the season, don’t be when they continue to find ways to win throughout injury problems. Their rotation is elite, which will not only keep competitive at the top of the NL, but also in the conversation for best team in New York. We’ll get a good look at the two when they meet head-to-head this weekend for the Subway Series in the Bronx.
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