Itâ€™s not just Jerry Manuel and Omar Minaya that have to worry about fast starts to the season or their jobs being in jeopardy.Â The same case could be made for Jeff Francoeur, Daniel Murphy, and Rod Barajas.Â The way Ike Davis, Fernando Martinez, and Josh Thole have been playing in a way this spring that makes you suspect theyâ€™ll be knocking at the door to Citi Field sooner rather than later.
With Reyes possibly being out some, or all, of April the pressure on the starting pitching has just doubled.Â The most recent report on April suggests that he may be back closer to mid April, but that’s still a rough estimate.
We’ve known for a while that the season was going to hinge on the starting pitching.Â The offense was projected to be one of the top in the league, and surely would’ve won some games on it’s own even when the pitching struggled.Â With Reyes and Beltran out, they may not have that cushion for a while, but this doesn’t mean the Mets are doomed to a 9-13 type record to start the season.
The fast start is more important than ever, and if Maine, Perez, and Pelfrey can have a good month of April the Mets will still win games.Â We all know they’re each capable of pitching good games.Â It was expected before the season that they could definitely pitch competitively and keep us in games, but now they may be pressured to actually win the games.Â Instead of quality start performances and limiting the opponents to three runs over six innings, stepping up and going seven innings and occasionally limiting the other teams to merely one or two runs becomes important to the Mets early success.
This isn’t to say the Mets lineup is useless, and that they won’t occasionally put up a crooked number, but Jose Reyes and Carlos Beltran are two of the most irreplaceable players in the game today.Â The season is never won and lost in April, but if the pitching can step up and win more games than they lose, not only will it minimize the damage caused by losing Reyes and Beltran, it will set them up nicely once they return.
This post brought to you by the self-proclaimed Optimistic Mets Fan.