By: Jason M. Sanin
At the beginning of the 2015 Major League Baseball season, there was no hotter team than the New York Mets. Having won 11 games in a row at one point in the campaign’s opening weeks, it looked like the young squad with a great pitching staff may have been ready to take their place among the sport’s elite in the eyes of fans and baseball betting experts alike. However, recent struggles have proven that they may not yet be ready to ascend to that level just yet.
The biggest problem surrounding the Mets so far this year is hitting. New York’s National League team sits in 25th place or worse in runs, batting average, on base percentage, and slugging percentage, which is amazing given that they’ve moved the fences in at their home ball park, Citi Field, twice since opening it.
During a recent seven game losing streak, a streak that has dragged the Mets back down towards the .500 mark, the team was only able to score a combined nine runs. Even with a strong pitching staff, anchored by the likes of Matt Harvey and Jacob deGrom, averaging only one run per game is not enough to get wins in this league.
Nobody would ever claim the New York Mets don’t have a great pitching staff. It is strong and filled with young talent that will be doing great things in Major League Baseball for many years to come. However, none of that matters if your team can’t score any runs, which has forced the Mets’ collective hand into making an unconventional move with their pitching.
Instead of using a five man rotation, as just about all teams do, the Mets are going to begin using a sixth starting pitcher in the near future. The reasoning behind this is to limit the number of innings that Harvey and the rest of the starters will throw this season, a season that looks to be lost due to the lack of hitting prowess on the team. This means that tipsters will have to adjust to the increase in rest for each pitcher, as it is an uncommon wrinkle that will be added to each game.
While this will accomplish its goal of keeping pitchers healthy if it works, this is essentially a way for the Mets to completely quit on this season by not allowing their best pitchers to pitch in the highest possible number of games. Mets fans, as a result of this decision making, have been understandably upset as the team’s outlook toward the future hasn’t resulted in any decreases in ticket prices to watch a team that doesn’t appear to have its heart set on competing to the fullest.
And things aren’t going to get any easier for the Mets as the season goes on. While the National League East, a division the Mets call home, is home to the league’s worst team in the Philadelphia Phillies, the other three members of the division all have the ability to win games in different ways. While the Mets sit in second place now, it wouldn’t be a stretch to see them fall as far as fourth place by the time the season ended.