Right now, is it more fun to be a Braves fan or a Mets fan? On Opening Day, the answer would’ve seemed obvious: one team was a legit World Series contender, the other in year 3 of a severe rebuild. One team won the NL pennant in 2015 and a wild card berth last season.
Roughly a month into the season, the answer isn’t so clear. The Mets are actually a half game back of the Bravos in the NL East. But that’s the least of it. New York’s senior circuit entrant has a rotation of four young hurlers who all appear to be Cy Young winners waiting to happen. But they keep getting hurt. And it’s looking like the past two seasons could be the highlight of the Syndergaard-deGrom-Harvey-Wheeler years.
Anyone remember Pulsipher-Isringhausen-Wilson?
All is certainly not lost for the Mets. But as the Pulsonhausen experience shows, promising young arms can disintegrate quickly. Syndergaard is now out indefinitely. Harvey seems always either hurt or fragile. Wheeler is returning from many months out, and deGrom, dynamic as he is, is 29 and has never thrown 200 innings.
So far it’s been a totally dispiriting season for Mets fans. Not only do they hold their breath with every toss from their young stars, three regulars are hitting below .200 and their best player, Cespedes, is also out, likely for a long while.
I take no pleasure in the Mets’ woes. They are a rival, yes, but I’ve softened on them. I like Collins and it takes toughness to be a Mets fans. There are far more hateable clubs and fan bases out there — Boston and the Cubs to name but two — and I despair at seeing great young pitchers get injured. It hurts not just their team, but the game.
Turning to the home nine, things are looking brighter. If not for an ill-timed Dansby boot yesterday, they’re returning to the Mallpark fresh off a sweep in Milwaukee and riding a five-game winning streak. The club is hitting, and I think that could continue. As for why it may be more fun to be a Braves fan now, it’s of course about the future more than the present. The Bravos’ crop of prized young hurlers has come out of the gate smoking, almost without exception. Even the maddeningly inconsistent Newcomb, who of course came in exchange for Office favorite and defensive Miles Davis Andrelton Simmons, tossed 7 terrific innings this weekend.
Tonight’s tilt features our one good young major league pitcher, Julio, versus Robert Gsellman, yet another kid Mets pitcher with promise. But he’s been bad so far this season, toting an 8+ ERA. In his past seven starts vs. the Metros, Julio’s ERA is below 1. That’s pretty good.
Tonight’s lineup: Inciarte, Phillips, Freddie, Kemp, Markakis, Garcia, Flowers, Swanson, Julio.
- The photo is of Pascual Perez for no particular reason, other than the Mallpark is next to I-285 and it’s always fun to remember Pascual.