The Warthen Slider has helped two Mets playoff starters become dominant. Now, the other two LDS starters have worked on featuring the pitch.
Starting rotation depth has been the foundation upon which the Mets have built their first NL East title in nine years. Between the budding young stars headlining the front of the rotation and the veterans Bartolo Colon and Jonathan Niese helping fill out the back of it, Sandy Alderson & Co. built a staff so deep that even Zack Wheeler’s torn UCL barely set them back this past spring.
Exploring Harvey's performance to see whether there are any signs of decay.
Matt Harvey dominated this weekend, though instead of an opposing lineup, it was the news cycle.
A quick recap, for those of you who spent the weekend in blessed solitude with little or no access to Twitter: Matt Harvey has thrown 166 1/3 innings so far this season. According to the Mets, Harvey had a “soft cap” of 180-185 innings, and was asked if he was comfortable going to 190-195 innings. According to Harvey’s agent, Scott Boras, the pitcher was given a “hard cap” of 180 innings to throw this season by the orthopedic surgeon James Andrews, a number that might have been decided after the Mets asked Harvey to throw more innings in early August. Finally, Sunday afternoon, Harvey published his own account in The Players Tribune, promising (with few specifics as to how) that he would pitch in October.
In pitch terms, Harvey has thrown 2,459 pitches in major-league games this season. Is that a lot? It it too many? Is it enough to exhaust a pitcher? Have those pitches already affected Harvey? His pitch total is about 250 pitches lower than that of Max Scherzer, who has thrown 184 innings, and it’s more than 500 behind David Price, who has thrown the most pitches in baseball—but, of course, neither is coming back from a missed year or a major surgery. There aren’t any pitchers coming back in exactly the same situation as Harvey, so there isn’t a great like-to-like comparison to be found. However, one way to tease some information out of his performance is to compare Harvey to himself.
Mets muster up some runs, but miss out on a chance to climb closer to first place.
The Wednesday Takeaway
The Mets have had an up-and-down July after a terrible June. They had put together some good games entering Wednesday's series finale against the NL East-leading Nationals, winning six of their previous 10 games. Their playoff odds had risen from 25 percent in the beginning of July to 39 percent after Tuesday's win against the Nationals.
DeGrom DeGrominates, the surprisingly good Tigers' bullpen is unsurprisingly bad, Bumgarner beats Kershaw again, and the best defensive play of the day.
The Thursday Takeaway
When Jacob deGrom served up three home runs to the Yankees on April 24th, then gave up five runs in 5 1/3 innings to the Mets six days later, some wondered if regression or an injury was afoot. A rollercoaster first month isn’t what prognosticators expected from deGrom after his outstanding rookie campaign, but it’s what they got. And so, the cries of “The Yankees broke deGrom!” rang out and wouldn’t die, not even after he struck out nine Orioles in seven innings on May 6th.
Kluber, fresh off an 18-K performance, strikes out a dozen; pitchers duels turn into bullpen games, Carlos Gomez bounces back from a pitch to the face, and the best defensive play of the day.
The Monday Takeaway
The last time Corey Kluber took the hill he nearly made history. The Indians ace had 18 strikeouts heading into the ninth inning of last Wednesday’s game against the Cardinals but was pulled after 113 pitches without getting the chance to break the single-game strikeout record. So naturally, Kluber struck out the first five White Sox who took their hacks on Monday.
The Mets tap into their considerable high-ceiling depth and call up Noah Syndergaard.
The situation: The Mets sit in first place in large part due to their quality staring pitching, but have placed Dillon Gee on the 15-day disabled list with a groin sprain. To replace him in the rotation, the Mets will call up their top pitching prospect, Syndergaard.
Background: Syndergaard was a somewhat surprising sandwich-round selection by the Blue Jays in the 2010 draft out of Legacy High School in Mansfield, Texas. The right-hander quickly established himself as one of the better pitching prospects in the Blue Jays system, but was considered the “other” prospect in the deal that saw R.A. Dickey move to Toronto; Travid D’Arnaud headlined the deal. It didn’t take long for the man they call “Thor” to become one of the best right-handed pitching prospects in baseball, as he missed bats at a much higher rate than he had in his time with the Blue Jays. He ranked at the top of BP's top 10 Mets prospects this winter, and came in ninth on the BP 101 in February.
Runner on third, two outs, pitcher on deck. Walk him, right?
Last week, we talked about National League strategy. Because the Senior Circuit still hasn’t figured out the whole DH thing, teams have to ask questions like where should the pitcher bat in the lineup? The gambit of hitting him in the eighth spot, a strategy that’s been tried on and off, actually doesn’t end up helping a team. All the advantages that you get from having a “second leadoff hitter” are cancelled out by the occasions when you have to either let a pitcher hit in a key situation too early or sacrifice him for a pinch-hitter.
The Mets got some bad news, but the good news is that they have a strong replacement ready on the farm in Plawecki.
The Situation: While Travis d’Arnaud got off to a hot start this year with a .289/.317/.526 line through his first 10 games, the dream faded when he fractured his right hand. To compensate for this loss on a red hot club, the Mets will call up former first-round pick Kevin Plawecki.