New York is off to a historic start and its long-awaited pitching rotation is finally in place.
You should really meet the Mets. Step right up and greet the Mets. Better yet, gingerly approach the Mets. Be sure to stay back a few steps, at least. Don’t move, maybe. Don’t even blink, actually. Definitely don’t bring your kids, though, because germs. Please also avoid jostling the Mets or even lovingly running your fingers through Noah Syndergaard’s hair.
Because things are going too well. Too well. Please don’t break the Mets with your exuberance.
Not only are the 2018 Mets off to their best start to a season in franchise history, but the team’s long-awaited “five aces” pitching rotation has finally made five consecutive starts. The Mets won all five games.
Two decades after Generation K failed to deliver, the Mets have been mostly waiting for Generation DL to even assemble. At long last, Noah Syndergaard, Jacob deGrom, Matt Harvey, Steven Matz and Zack Wheeler are in the starting rotation at the same time.
Behold, the definitely once and maybe even future Mets’ starting pitching depth chart.
Wheeler, who missed the 2015 and 2016 seasons, are undergoing Tommy John surgery, was called up on Wednesday to start against the Marlins. The 27-year-old righty settled down after surrendering a first-inning home run to allow just two hits while racking up seven strikeouts across seven innings. He departed in eighth to make way for a pinch-hitter and then Mets went on to win, 4-1. It was their eighth straight win.
Eight is great! #MetsWWWWWWWWin
FINAL: #Mets 4 – Marlins 1
— New York Mets (@Mets) April 12, 2018
“It’s an awesome rotation. Think it speaks for itself,” Wheeler said leading up to his 2018 debut, via the Daily News. “I am just happy to be a part of it, hopefully I can stay here and keep working.”
The Mets have been waiting for this rotation to align since 2015 when Matz and Syndergaard made their major league debuts. The team reached the World Series that season with Bartolo Colon making 31 regular-season starts. Yes, this lineup was supposed to be even better than one featuring Bartolo, qualitatively if not quantitatively.
Here are just some injuries that have sidelined these pitchers:
- Matt Harvey missed the 2014 season after undergoing Tommy John surgery. His 2016 campaign was ended early by surgery to treat thoracic outlet syndrome. In 2017, he missed time due to a stress injury to the scapula in his right shoulder.
- Noah Syndergaard missed time during the 2017 season due to a partially torn right lat muscle.
- Jacob deGrom missed the end of the 2016 season to have surgery on the ulnar nerve in his pitching elbow.
- Zack Wheeler missed the 2015 and 2016 seasons recovering from Tommy John surgery. His 2017 was then ended early after suffering a stress reaction in his right arm.
- Steven Matz, who had Tommy John surgery as a prospect, began the 2017 season on the disabled list with left elbow inflammation and was eventually shut down in August for surgery to move the ulnar nerve in his left elbow.
Will this Mets’ rotation stay together?
Well, you could say this group is due for a smooth, able-bodied season. Or you could say this group is clearly doomed. Your answer will depend on whether or not you have been broken by the Mets.
Before Wheeler’s start, Mets manager Mickey Callaway basically said ¯_(ツ)_/¯.
“Spot starts, or whatever you want to call them, turn into five-year careers sometimes,” Callaway said, via MLB.com. “You just never know what’s going to happen.”
After his dominant outing, it sounded like Wheeler would be sticking around for at least one more turn through the rotation. Callaway also sounded a bit more impressed.
“I thought he did a really good job getting ahead,” the Mets’ rookie manager told reporters after the game. “He stayed relaxed. Good tempo in between pitches, that tells me that he wasn’t anxious or anything like that. Good confidence. Really good job.”