Heading into what turned out to be a weekend drubbing at the hands of the Washington Nationals, the Mets made the decision to stick with a six man rotation of starting pitchers for the rest of the year. This strategy will allow the Mets to keep young aces Matt Harvey and Zack Wheeler from passing their innings limit on this season.
The strategy is likely to cost the Mets wins in the short term, but the hope is that both Wheeler and Harvey will be able to pitch until the end of the year without too much strain on the arm. Ideally this would lead to two fresher pitchers next season who may have no innings limit as the Mets look to make the leap to contender status.
The rotation also allows for the Mets to take a longer look at Jenrry Mejia, who is coming off Tommy John surgery, but looked solid getting the Mets their only win of the weekend on Friday. Eventually one of the six pitchers, likely Carlos Torres, will be bumped for the return of Jonathon Niese, who recently began pitching rehab assignments.
The Mets appear smart not to be shortsighted with their young pitchers. The Mets are over 10 games out of the division and wild card races, despite improved efforts as of late. Still, it is wisest for the Mets to try to save some bullets so that the team can retool their lineup in the offseason to reach contender status.
The groundwork of establishing a starting rotation worthy of contention is the first bright spot for this franchise in some time, now if work can be done to support David Wright in the lineup, the Mets could be a dark horse contender in 2014.
By Sam Jackson