NEW YORK -- Are the New York Mets failing to learn from history?
In 2007, the Mets decided to give extra rest to Pedro Martinez down the stretch, resulting in starts for Brian Lawrence and, during the final week, a spot start for Philip Humber.
Mets fans know all too well how that season ended -- squandering a seven-game lead with 17 to play and falling short of the postseason by one game.
Viewed through that prism, is skipping Jacob deGrom one turn and using Rafael Montero in Monday’s series opener against the Miami Marlins a sensible decision? Or will it also end up haunting the organization, albeit with the Mets chasing the competition this time instead of trying to hold it off like 2007?
There is a historical example for why skipping deGrom makes sense, too. During deGrom’s first season in the majors, the Mets placed him on the disabled list in August 2014, citing shoulder fatigue. After a two-week break, deGrom came back rejuvenated. He stumbled in his first outing after being activated from the DL, then went 3-0 with a 1.32 ERA in five starts the remainder of the season en route to earning the National League Rookie of the Year award.
Although deGrom indicated he felt fine in St. Louis after his latest start, Terry Collins believes deGrom may again be fatigued. DeGrom has allowed 13 runs and 25 hits in 9 2/3 innings over his last two outings.
The Mets enter Monday’s game in fifth place in the wild-card standings. The Giants (71-59) and Cardinals (68-61) occupy the two playoff positions, followed by the Pirates a half-game back, Marlins 1½ games back and Mets 2½ games back.
Skipping deGrom might not be as complicated if it were just a matter of the standings and the Mets weren’t stretched thin in starting pitching. With Matt Harvey, Steven Matz, Jonathon Niese and Zack Wheeler all on the disabled list, the Mets already have Seth Lugo and Robert Gsellman making starts.
That means Montero will be promoted from Double-A Binghamton to fill in for deGrom opposing Jose Fernandez in Monday’s 7:10 p.m. ET opener at Citi Field.
Montero went 4-6 with a 7.20 ERA in 16 starts with Triple-A Las Vegas before getting demoted to Binghamton in mid-July. He walked 40 batters in 80 innings in the Pacific Coast League. Montero then went 4-2 with a 1.70 ERA in eight starts for the B-Mets, but that’s against Double-A competition.
Read the Mets-Marlins series preview here.
MONDAY’S NEWS REPORTS:
The Mets came up short of completing a sweep against the Phillies on Sunday. In his first major league start, Gsellman limited Philadelphia to one run in the opening six innings. He then surrendered singles to the first three batters of the seventh and departed with the bases loaded and none out. Hansel Robles allowed all three baserunners to score in a four-run frame and the Phillies beat the Mets, 5-1. The Mets will need to make a roster move before Monday’s game to activate Montero. Perhaps it just makes sense to briefly send Gsellman to Las Vegas, since the 51s’ season ends next Monday anyway and he can return then without spending the normally required 10 days in the minors. Gsellman would be unavailable for multiple days anyway after tossing 94 pitches on Sunday. Read game recaps in the Post, Daily News, Times, Newsday, Record and at NJ.com and MLB.com.
The injuries continued to mount Sunday. Yoenis Cespedes (quadriceps) and Neil Walker (back) sat out with flare-ups of existing issues. Asdrubal Cabrera then departed in the first inning with discomfort in the same knee that troubled him early this month. Cabrera had spent three weeks on the disabled list with a strained patellar tendon in his left knee. Against the Phillies, Cabrera collided with first baseman Tommy Joseph on an infield single. Cabrera then hobbled trying to advance to second base on Kelly Johnson’s single and departed. Read more in Newsday and at MLB.com.
The Mets are now targeting Thursday’s series finale against the Marlins for Matz to return from the disabled list and slot back into the rotation. That makes sense, since it’s the day rosters expand for September and no corresponding move would be required. Matz threw off a mound on Sunday for the first time since landing on the DL with a mild shoulder strain and reported no difficulty. He will throw one more bullpen session before his outing.
Amed Rosario went 3-for-4 with two RBIs, but Binghamton lost to Bowie, 6-2, to clinch its first losing season since 2012. David Thompson had a walk-off three-run homer in the completion of a suspended game, but St. Lucie then dropped the nightcap to Palm Beach to fall a half-game out of first place entering the season’s final week. Dash Winningham had a tiebreaking two-run double in the eighth as Columbia beat Kannapolis, 8-6. Reed Gamache had a pair of run-scoring singles in Kingsport’s 5-4 win against Danville. Read the full minor-league recap here.
TWEET OF THE DAY:
YOU’RE UP: Are the Mets making the right call skipping deGrom?