The injury to deGrom, which could result in the ace making his season debut around June 1, should be something he can make it back from without issue — and deGrom should be his regular, dominant self when he does return.
In deGrom’s absence, a Mets rotation without him has been asked to pick up the slack. And though there were certainly valid concerns about some of those pitchers heading into the season, the likelihood of the rotation being strong enough without deGrom was high.
So no one should be too surprised that the first week of the season has looked like this…
Tylor Megill: 5.0 IP, no runs on three hits with no walks and six strikeouts
Max Scherzer: 6.0 IP, three runs on three hits with one walk and six strikeouts
Chris Bassitt: 6.0 IP, no runs on three hits with one walk and eight strikeouts
Carlos Carrasco: 5.2 IP, one run on two hits with no walks and five strikeouts
Add that up, and Mets starting pitching has given up four runs in 22.2 innings while walking two and striking out 25 over the first four games of the season.
When looking at what the starting pitching has done, it’s perhaps fair to say that just how good Megill looked was a bit unexpected — especially when you consider how his 2021 season ended. And the Mets were right to bolster the rotation to the point where Megill was a terrific depth option.
But to watch Megill come out firing 99 mph during his first start and eventually settle in around 96 mph with his fastball — while featuring a strong slider and changeup — was to watch someone whose upside is tremendous.
Following Megill was Scherzer, who kept the Nats in check despite intentionally holding back while continuing to get past a minor hamstring issue that pushed his season debut back a day. Scherzer’s fastball wasn’t much of a weapon because of the self-imposed restriction, and that won’t be the case much longer.
Then there was Bassitt, whose signature moment in his first game came when he struck out Juan Soto in a key early-game situation. Speaking after the game, Bassitt said he fears no one, including Soto. And that showed during his Mets debut.
On Sunday, it was Carrasco’s turn. And despite the fact that Carrasco’s first season in Queens was difficult (he lost the first four months to injury and struggled when he returned), it was always fair to believe Carrasco — at the age of 35 and with a recently cleaned out elbow — could be a strong contributor this season.
The Mets will certainly take more games like Carrasco gave them on Sunday. And even if he isn’t the No. 2 type starter he was in Cleveland, what he provides should be plenty for a team with a rotation led by Scherzer and Bassitt and (eventually) deGrom.
Again, what the Mets’ rotation as a whole has done so far should not be a surprise.
On April 6, the day before the season began, I wrote a story explaining why the Mets shouldn’t be panicking over the current state of the starting rotation.
In that story, I pointed out why the beginning of this season was not analogous to the end of last season, when the Mets’ rotation was in shambles. Part of the reason why I had faith in the rotation without deGrom was the acquisitions of Scherzer and Bassitt, and part of it was the added depth.
Specifically, a healthy Carrasco (who was not available for the first four months last season) and Megill (who was an afterthought at the beginning of last season) gave the Mets some needed cover. There’s also the presence of David Peterson in Triple-A Syracuse.
Now, it’s not reasonable to expect the Mets’ rotation to be this dominant for the duration of the season. Things will even out a bit. There will be hiccups.
But it is reasonable to expect this rotation to continue to be an asset and help the Mets stay near the top of the standings while deGrom works his way back.
And deGrom is already 11 days into his four-week shutdown, which means he could potentially be cleared to start throwing in just over two weeks.
Picturing a rotation fronted by deGrom, Scherzer, and Bassitt, with Carrasco, Megill, and Walker as options for the No. 4 and No. 5 slot should make the Mets and Mets fans salivate. But until then, they’ll have to make do with what they have. And it’s plenty.