Mar 23

Wheeler Doesn’t Deserve Rotation Spot

It appears the Mets will have to wait a little longer before their “vaunted’’ rotation completes a one-through-five cycle. That’s because, based on performance Zack Wheeler should open the season in Las Vegas.

The Nationals torched Wheeler for five runs in two innings – throwing 58 pitches – on Thursday, this coming after Washington bullied him for five runs in three innings in his previous start. Ten runs in five innings isn’t just a bad two starts, it’s pretty much what he’s done all spring.

Wheeler hasn’t lasted longer than three innings in any of his five starts this spring. Last I checked, an 8.10 ERA this spring training is awful, and not worthy of a spot on the Opening Day roster. And, if not for Jason Vargas injury he wouldn’t be.

“I am highly disappointed,’’ Wheeler told reporters. “I have got to keep my head up, though. I am feeling healthy, feeling good, but maybe just off a little mechanically, and hopefully I can get that figured out quick.’’

Manager Mickey Callaway believes Wheeler is putting too much pressure on himself by being too fine. Consequently, Wheeler is forced to come in with the fastball when he falls behind in the count.

That’s trouble for any pitcher at any level, whether he’s healthy or not.

“I still think we have a decision to make and we’re not quite ready to make it yet,’’ Callaway said. “We have to continue to evaluate all the pieces we have.’’

If Vargas is ready, he’ll go. If not, it could be Seth Lugo. It just shouldn’t be Wheeler right now.

Mar 22

Lugo And Gsellman Likely To Make OD Roster

With the Mets having only two reliable starters in their rotation, that leaves three questions, which would stand to reason they would want to take at least two long relievers for their bullpen. Rather than string out the bullpen – Jeurys Familia, AJ Ramos, Jerry Blevins and Anthony Swarzak – the prudent option is to take both Seth Lugo and Robert Gsellman to round out the pen.

That would make for an 11-man bullpen, with Paul Sewald being the 12th reliever.

Noah Syndergaard and Jacob deGrom are the only two starters capable of working at least seven innings, with Matt Harvey, Zack Wheeler and Steven Matz, based on their health history and spring training performances, pegged to last five innings, perhaps six at most.

Rather than leave Lugo and/or Gsellman in Triple-A in preparation for the worst-case scenario, manager Mickey Callaway’s thinking is to save innings on the back end of the rotation, which makes total sense.

“We want to take the best guys, the best pitchers we have, that give us the best chance to get as many outs in any game as possible,’’ Callaway told reporters.

Rafael Montero doesn’t factor into the equation because he will undergo Tommy John surgery to repair a complete tear of the collateral ligament in his right elbow.

Since he was out of options and would be either traded, lost on waivers or cut, this buys the Mets at least a year to move him.

Mar 20

Harvey Says He’s Ready

Matt Harvey said all the right things, but he’s done that before. Coming off surgery, he insists he’s ready for what could likely be his last year with the Mets, but we’ll know for sure in the season’s fourth game against the Phillies.

Harvey gave up one run in 5.1 innings today against St. Louis and threw 90 pitches in the process.

“You could say I am ready to go,’’ Harvey said. “Wherever they want me to throw, I am ready to go.’’

On the bright side, Harvey reached 95 mph., on the radar gun, including on a strikeout pitch of Tommy Pham to end the fifth. However, for someone who hopes to continually work into the seventh inning, 90 pitches in 5.1 innings is way too many.

Overall, manager Mickey Callaway said Harvey “is where he needs to be,’’ which is healthy

Mar 19

Who Is Sold On Mets’ Rotation?

By default, the one-time Mets’ vaunted rotation will enter the season intact. Jason Vargas fractured right thumb opened the door for Steven Matz, who, by his credit, made a strong bid for the spot when he gave up two runs with nine strikeouts in six innings against Houston on Monday.

Working in Matz’s favor is the Astros played with the same lineup that won the World Series last season.

“You saw it, and obviously, the strikeout total was high, but that’s maybe the best lineup he is going to face all year,’’ manager Mickey Callaway said. “That’s a pretty potent lineup and he went after them. That is what I thought was best about him today.’’

But, don’t be fooled by this bit of news because the Mets’ pitching is far from settled.

Despite Monday, Matz is far from a done deal. Likewise with Zack Wheeler. And, despite his vows to the contrary, is anybody really sold on Matt Harvey?

Jacob deGrom experienced back stiffness earlier in camp but insists he’s fine now. The same applies to Noah Syndergaard, who missed most of last season with a torn lat. He’s throwing over 100 and is blowing away hitters, but I have reservations with him.

I hope I’m wrong but to me, Syndergaard is suffering from the same malady that has stricken Harvey, and that is falling in love with his press clippings and Comic Book persona.

Thor was an immortal fictional character; Syndergaard is a mortal who spends too much time on Twitter.

Mar 15

Mets Have Reason To Be Concerned With Cespedes’ Wrist

The question isn’t whether Yoenis Cespedes should hit second, third or fourth in the Mets’ Opening Day lineup. The question is will he even be in the lineup?

Cespedes was supposed to be healthy this season and yoga was going to be the reason. Is yoga the reason Cespedes has a wrist injury that necessitated a cortisone inject earlier this week?

CESPEDES: Wrist concerning. (AP)

CESPEDES: Wrist concerning. (AP)

Could be as there are a lot of yoga positions where strain is applied to the wrist.

Cespedes played in only 81 games last year with several leg injuries. His legs appear to be all right, but a wrist injury for a slugger is concerning.

How long will Cespedes is out? With Opening Day two weeks away, and the Mets’ offense sputtering, there’s reason for them to be worried. How long will Cespedes be out?

“A couple days at the least, probably,’’ manager Mickey Callaway told reporters yesterday. “We’ll see how he feels after a couple of days and go from there. Not very concerned because he’s had it before and said he’s battled through it and was fine, hopefully, it was the same thing he was feeling a couple of years ago.’’

Cortisone injections can be tricky. If the needle hits the right spot, Cespedes could be out of trouble for several months. If the needle misses, then it could be a long season.

We should know by early next week.