Mancuso: Pitching Thin Mets Need To Find Way During Stretch

So how do the Mets handle three doubleheaders this week? With a starting rotation that is uncertain, except for Jacob deGrom, this is a task for manager Luis Rojas.

And this could be more of a challenge for GM Brodie Van Wagenan. Then again, with this unusual 2020 season every team is struggling with pitching. Though, the Mets at this point would not qualify as one of those teams to play baseball in October with the expanded playoff format.

But, this sprint to the finish of a 60-game season has more significance. Every game for the Mets and coming after this brief COVID-19 hiatus, has more meaning with a trio of doubleheaders against the Marlins and Yankees this week.

This was’t the traditional All-Star break. Instead, makeup games that are playing havoc with the schedule. The unusual season and havoc continued Tuesday, as Hurricane Laura caused a postponement of the Angels and Astros in Houston and prevented all MLB teams playing the same day since the resumption of baseball.

The results, doubleheaders of seven-innings. And for the Mets, a stretch in late August, 34 games remaining. NIne games in the next six days, a stretch that could determine where this team goes.

A stretch of games with a suspected pitching staff.

So what will Brodie do to help his manager? Probably, not many options. The Mets may need to go as is. Seth Lugo is set with his new role again. Out of the bullpen and in the rotation to start game two Tuesday of the twi-nighter against the Marlins at Citi Field.

Rick Porcello, 2016 Cy Young Award winner with the Red Sox, is nowhere that same type of pitcher. Lugo, on the other hand, prefers to start but takes a weapon out of the bullpen. So the assumption is Edwin Diaz will again be the closer.

Kindly say, Diaz, will revert to being that closer who saved 57 games for the Mariners in 2018. But you get what you get with this up and down drama from Diaz.

Which leads to the trading deadline of next Monday. Brodie Van Wagenen, tends to pull the trigger at the deadline and the moves have come at a cost. The price of giving away pitching prospects have put a once and deep Mets’ strength as their low point.

No need to review the chronology. Every Mets fan is aware the cost for Diaz was Justin Dunn, first round pick of 2016 to the Mariners. Dunn, 24-years old, 2-1, 5.57 ERA, 21.0 innings with 15 strikeouts.

This is a thin market at this juncture.

Said Brodie Monday, “It’s a challenge, but this is a year that can’t be about excuses. We are not the only team that has faced adversity with scheduling. We’re not the only team that faced adversity with losing players or coaches for a period of time.”

Referring, also to a coach and roster player that were victims of COVID-19. That was a risk of this 2020 season and MLB not playing in a bubble situation as is with the NBA and NHL.

Injuries are a part of baseball during a regular 162-game season. Between COVID cases, injuries to position players and pitchers, this has been a record number of the 60.

The Yankees series is an example. Thei cross-town rivals are duplicating a 2019 season of injuries and expected to see the return of Aaron Judge in the lineup this weekend during the Subway Series.

The Mets, with a scramble to depend on others in the rotation. Jacob deGrom could pitch in two of the doubleheaders and go the seven-inning route

But it takes more than deGrom during this stretch. The Mets GM is limited to what can be done.

Comment: [email protected] Twitter@Ring786 Mancuso

About the Author

Rich Mancuso

Rich Mancuso is a regular contributor at NY Sports Day, covering countless New York Mets, Yankees, and MLB teams along with some of the greatest boxing matches over the years. He is an award winning sports journalist and previously worked for The Associated Press, New York Daily News, Gannett, and, in a career that spans almost 40 years.

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