Jacob deGrom has looked sharp in Thursday’s start against Washington with five strikeouts in two innings. He’s thrown only 26 pitches.
Curtis Granderson homered for the Mets, who lead 1-0 going into the bottom of the second.
The 3-6 Mets play the Washington Nationals Thursday at Tradition Field, with Jacob deGrom going against A.J. Cole. Stephen Strasburg was supposed to start, but was scratched because of an ingrown toenail.
Here are the lineups:
NEW YORK METS
Juan Lagares, cf
David Wright, 3b
Michael Cuddyer, lf
Daniel Murphy, 2b
John Mayberry Jr., dh
Wilmer Flores, ss
Eric Campbell, 1b
Jacob deGrom, rhp
Nate McLouth, dh
Danny Espinosa, ss
Michael Taylor, cf
Tyler Moore, lf
Mike Carp, 1b
Jose Lobaton, c
Ian Stewart, 3b
Emmanuel Burriss, 2b
Tony Gwynn, Jr., rf
AJ Cole, rhp
So far, Mets’ starting pitchers have done well in their exhibition starts. Zack Wheeler is up next scheduled Monday afternoon against Miami at Tradition Field (1:10 p.m., SNY). Of all Mets pitchers, Wheeler is the one I am most intrigued with as he could have the biggest upside this summer.
Coming off Tommy John surgery, Matt Harvey could have understandable issues; it would be interesting to see if 2014 Rookie of the Year Jacob deGrom can have an encore season; Jon Niese can be an enigma; and Bartolo Colon is 41.
That leaves Wheeler, who was 11-11 with a 3.54 ERA last year and threw 185.1 innings. Wheeler averages nine strikeouts per nine innings, which is ace worthy. However, his four walks per nine innings is something that must be reduced – by at least half.
Depending on whom you talk with, Wheeler’s stuff might be better than Harvey’s. Command is a different issue.
Wheeler must improve his control, and doing so would enable him to work deeper into games. In 32 starts last year, Wheeler worked into the seventh only 13 times. He also reached 100 pitches 24 times and 110 pitches 13 times.
That doesn’t seem like much, but there’s an accumulative effect on the arm when you factor what he throws in the bullpen between starts; the eight warm-ups between innings; and the 50 or more warm-ups before the game.
After April he did not throw less than 100 pitches in consecutive starts. That must change to not only preserve his arm, but he could add an inning a start that would also reduce the workload of the bullpen.
There are progressions in the development from a prospect to a quality starter. Wheeler has already shown he can be overpowering. Now he must prove he can dominate with his control.
If he does that, there’s no telling how good he can become.
With the exception of a few more innings, Matt Harvey couldn’t have asked for more in his first mound appearance with the Mets since August of 2013. After undergoing Tommy John surgery, Harvey’s rehab culminated in two perfect innings in Friday’s 5-4 exhibition victory over Detroit. Harvey struck out three and his fastball topped out at 99 mph.
Harvey was immensely pleased with his performance, and more importantly, with how he felt.
“Things felt so good that the fact that I did have surgery is completely out of my mind,’’ Harvey told reporters. “The big thing is I was happy throwing strikes and not walking anybody. Those are the things you try to work on.
“Especially hearing things about guys going through this process and having tough command, for me, that was the big thing that I was focusing on today. And I was pretty happy about it.’’
Harvey threw only 25 pitches and joked with manager Terry Collins about pitching a few more innings, knowing it wouldn’t happen.
The Mets haven’t clearly defined how they will limit Harvey’s innings this year, but he spoke with dialing down how much, and how hard, he throws between starts.
Of course, with any pitcher coming back from arm surgery, the key is how he feels Saturday. If all is positive, he is scheduled to pitch Wednesday against Miami in Jupiter.
He was replaced by Ruben Tejada and is considered day-to-day.
EXTRA INNINGS: Shortstop prospect Matt Reynolds homered off Joe Mantiply in the bottom of the ninth to win the game. … Matt den Dekker hit a two-run double. … The Mets committed three errors. … Justin and Jaden Ramos, sons of Rafael Ramos, a NYPD officer murdered in December, were guests of David Wright and served as batboys. … Jacob deGrom will start Saturday against Atlanta at Port St. Lucie. The game will be on WPIX-11.
Jon Niese has been an Opening Day starter before, but as a left hander I would slot him No. 3 to put a break in the rotation. Starting him in the first game would require too much juggling.
As for Zack Wheeler and Jacob deGrom, neither is in what you would call in the ace category.
Ideally, they want Harvey, and personally, I think manager Terry Collins is biding his time to see how Harvey comes out of spring training before making the call. He doesn’t want to announce something today about Harvey and then having to change his mind.
I believe that is his reluctance in making an announcement on the Opening Day starter. Collins said Harvey would start one of the first five games, and he’s waiting this out to see what kind of spring he has. I would slot Colon behind Harvey, and the former wouldn’t get bent out of shape if Harvey were to be named at the last minute.
But, if he were to make an decision now, it must be Colon, who was his most reliable starter last season winning 15 games and working over 200 innings. But, Collins isn’t making a decision now, and I think it is because he’s hoping on Harvey.
ON DECK: Mets Matters: Today’s notebook.