By definition, Carlos Torres gave the New York Mets a quality start tonight – three runs in six innings – which is usually good enough to win most starts.
However, the Mets aren’t scoring much these days, and didn’t again tonight in a second straight 4-2 loss to Milwaukee, a team they should beat.
Terry Collins started his 128th different batting order out of 160 games tonight, which is as telling a stat as there is to define the 2013 Mets. Most of that is attributable to injuries and poor performance – notably Ike Davis – but indicates a lack of offensive consistency and depth
The popular belief is the Mets need to upgrade their offense, which is true, but is it really their top priority?
Factoring having David Wright for a full season; improvement that comes from experience with Juan Lagares and Matt den Dekker; having Eric Young for a full season; developing a consistent batting order; and, of course, the annual hope of whether Davis or Lucas Duda will find it, the Mets’ offense should be better in 2014.
Adding a bat is important, but is it imperative?
As is usually the case, pitching should be their primary concern, especially considering general manager Sandy Alderson has just three starters heading into spring training: Jon Niese, Dillon Gee and Zack Wheeler, the latter who was scratched from his final start with shoulder soreness.
Torres’ start tonight underscores the Mets’ need to add pitching. Theoretically, if the Mets pitch well their offense should improve enough to manufacture enough runs to be competitive.
The odds are long the Mets will have Matt Harvey for 2014, so they have two slots to fill in the rotation.
Torres has been valuable out of the bullpen in long relief and as a spot starter. He’s pitched well enough to get a spring training invite. What he did tonight is what the Mets need in a fifth starter, but he might be more valuable in long relief.
Prior to the game Collins said he doesn’t anticipate Rafael Montero or Noah Syndergaard cracking the rotation coming out of spring training, which means adding a veteran arm, especially one who has a taste of playing on a winning team, should be their priority.
When Citi Field opened, the Mets said they would build around pitching, speed and defense. Power is great, but it isn’t essential in building a winner. The Mets should emphasize that mentality in constructing their 2014 team.
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