I’m not crazy about the Mets having to start Rafael Montero tonight in Washington, but I’m glad they have an experienced arm to turn to and manager Terry Collins isn’t forced to alter his rotation by flipping him with Noah Syndergaard.
It’s a smart move on Collins’ part not to toy with Syndergaard, who is showing signs of regaining his command after a stretch where he was bothered by a bone spur and poor command.
The Mets have been fortunate to win both of Montero’s starts despite his wildness. Collins likes that Montero throws hard – ten walks in 9.1 innings – but said command is the central issue.
Command will be a deciding factor if the Mets get down to making a playoff roster. Montero has the experience and is capable of giving the Mets innings. Montero must show tonight and in possibly two remaining starts that his control won’t be a liability.
So for now, Montero has his immediate destiny in his hands. The Mets won’t have five starters on their playoff roster, and unlike last season, unless Matz and deGrom return, Bartolo Colon won’t work out of the bullpen.
I never imagined I would write that with Seth Lugo and Robert Gsellman ahead of him – and barring no returns from the DL – Montero has tonight and possibly two other starts later to make the impression he belongs.
Yes, there’s always next year, but Montero has a chance to pitch in the playoffs this season and these opportunities don’t come often.