Originally written on Around Citi  |  Last updated 7/24/13
The Mets keep rolling.  Having won 19 of their last 31, sporting a win percentage of .612 over that stretch, the Mets didn’t cool off after the All-Star break.  Taking the series against the Phillies, even after a crushing first game loss, and splitting the series so far at one game a piece with the division leading Braves, the Mets are continuing to climb their way back to .500.  So is this success maintainable? To answer this question, above all, you must look at the starting pitching: Matt Harvey – ok, I’m just going to stop myself there.  Harvey is sporting a 2.08 FIP, is striking out batters at a ratio of 10.31/9 innings, and stranding almost 80% of batters, he is not at all the one to watch going into the second half when concerning ourselves with success sustainability.  Zack Wheeler – he has shown his impressive fastball, and has changed speeds to let us know how lethal he CAN be.  He has a 3.98 ERA, which is very respectable, but he also has an FIP of 5.28.  This disparity gives way to the thought that Wheeler has lucked out quite a bit.  Anyone who watches his pitch can see that he doesn’t have much control.  He strikes out a little more than seven batters per nine innings, however he walks almost five batters per nine.  Being his first major league season, it is understandable to see him flop frequently from dominance to just completely faltering.  And 32.2 innings isn’t the largest of sample sizes, but for this team to be successful, he’ll need to really step up his game.  Dillon Gee – Gee has almost completely turned around right at his stellar outing against the Yankees, back when the Mets swept the four game inter-league series.  Since then he has had an ERA of 2.39 and an FIP under 3.5 (that’d be, as fangraphs puts it, “above average”).  If Gee can continue this effort, he’ll turn a once bad season into quite a strong year, and something to look forward to in the future.  Jeremy Hefner – Hefner had a bad outing his last time on the mound giving up eight earned runs in two innings… That said he has been cruising for a while since a June fourth start in which he started a line of dominant performances.  His FIP on the season is a 4.26.  This means that his 3.93 is due in part to luck, and it likely won’t last much longer, but with not a huge difference between his ERA and FIP, while he’ll probably start reverting to season norms, the decline will be quite small, and be hardly noticeable.  Hefner should continue to be a consistent middle of the staff starter for the remainder of 2013.  Carlos Torres – Torres has been flirting with danger with runners on for much of his two starts this year, however he has managed to slide by only allowing two earned runs over 11 innings as a starter.  His ERA is a 0.94 and his FIP is at an all-star level of 2.77.  The reason I am talking about him as opposed to Niese is that he is on the DL.  Barring any setbacks (knock on wood) Niese should be back by hopefully mid August.  However, this means that should Torres remain in the starting rotation (and at this rate he will) until Niese’s return, Torres will be making at least three more starts (give or take a start), and in a worst case scenario, Torres could be the back-end of the rotation starter for the rest of the season.  All of that said, over his incredibly small sample size, his FIP is still very, very good, and although his ERA will undoubtedly digress, he should prove to be reliable for his next few starts.  So what does this all mean? Well for one, Harvey’s better.  In addition, Gee and Hefner should continue to put together strong seasons, Wheeler will need to work on his control before he can be the ace that scouts said he’d be, and Torres, who may not be starting for much longer, is likely a reliable 5th guy, at least until Niese is back.
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