The Mets’ starting rotation is a MASH unit.
Max Scherzer and Tylor Megill are out with injuries, and Scherzer won’t return for quite some time. And who knows when Jacob deGrom will be back either.
That means the remaining arms must pick up the slack in the meantime. That did not happen in San Francisco against the Giants. But they had better start if the Mets want to keep control of the National League East.
Poor Tuesday/Wednesday performances. The Mets allowed 22 total runs over the last two games (both losses to the Giants). Not ideal.
Tuesday night was a disaster. Despite the Mets formulating a miraculous six-run comeback thanks to big nights from Francisco Lindor (six RBI) and Dom Smith (two RBI), the pitching staff couldn’t handle the big bats of Oracle Park. Chris Bassitt allowed eight hits and eight earned runs in 4 1/3 innings while reliever Drew Smith let up two hits and three earned runs in 2/3 of an inning. Edwin Diaz then put the cherry on top of the heartbreaking sundae. The shaky closer allowed the tying and winning runs in the ninth as the Giants won 13-12.
You can argue Wednesday afternoon was even worse. The Mets didn’t have much offensive production to relieve the pain caused by the pitching staff.
Lefty Thomas Szapucki, called up from Triple-A Syracuse for a spot start, was a disaster. He allowed nine earned runs on seven hits through 1 1/3 innings — the game was essentially over by the bottom of the second. Even with the big bats in the Mets lineup (Lindor, Pete Alonso, Jeff McNeil, etc.), Szapucki made it difficult for the fans to believe at all. New York eventually lost 9-3.
Who picks up the slack? Scherzer may not be back until late June or early July due to his moderate-to-high grade oblique strain. While Megill is only on the 15-day injured list with a biceps issue, he has yet to throw bullpen sessions while deGrom’s return date is unknown.
Carlos Carrasco, Taijuan Walker, and David Peterson (if he remains on the major league ballclub and he should after a strong Monday night performance) will need to step up until the big arms return. Bassitt must as well, and he cannot repeat his Tuesday night blunder during this frightening stretch against the Phillies, Nationals, Dodgers, Padres, Angels, and Brewers.
Szapucki shouldn’t stay in the majors, but the Mets might not have a choice unless they feel confident including Trevor Williams in the temporary rotation.
The bottom line is the Mets have the lineup talent to put runs on the board. Alonso leads the National League in RBI and Lindor is emerging from a funk. McNeil is also undergoing a fantastic season. But the pitching staff cannot perform like it did out in San Francisco and put all the pressure on those in the batter’s box. The rotation must at least remain competent until the more talented arms are healthy.