Steven Matz and Michael Wacha have to prove to the New York Mets that there should be five men in the starting rotation.
According to Joel Sherman of the New York Post, the New York Mets are considering an unconventional starting rotation. The idea is that Jacob deGrom, Noah Syndergaard, Marcus Stroman, and Rick Porcello will all be guaranteed rotation spots but beyond that, it’s up in the air.
Steven Matz and Michael Wacha have been in a perceived battle for the fifth spot in the rotation, but there may not even be a fifth spot. Sherman reports that the Mets may just play to matchups every fifth day.
That could mean Matz starting against a heavily left-handed lineup. Wacha could start against righty-dominant lineups. Sherman also mentioned the possibility of Robert Gsellman or Seth Lugo acting as an opener for Matz or Wacha.
If everyone is healthy, the Mets have the freedom to choose who will pitch every fifth day. That creates flexibility that will allow the Mets to use either Wacha or Matz out of the bullpen at will. In effect, it creates a nine-man bullpen.
There are flaws with this idea. Pitchers work best on a schedule, and this eliminates that routine. Neither Matz nor Wacha will have an ordinary schedule before any start. That makes it hard for them to build a rhythm, which every starting pitcher desperately needs to be successful.
This is an idea that looks great on paper. It opens up so many possibilities both from their starters and their bullpen. In practice, it doesn’t seem like it would work.
In fact, it would likely throw Wacha and Matz off their game, making it difficult for them to find any consistency. This is an interesting idea, but it will be tough for the Mets to implement successfully.