Matt Harvey just being that much better than every other pitcher the Mets can throw at them.
After relatively solid starts in losses their first time out, both Jeremy Hefner and Dillon Gee made us suffer through a pair of 3-inning outings in Philadelphia that were probably just as brutal for us to watch as it was for them to endure it. Gee's outing was so putrid that it wasn't even worth writing very much about, and for that matter, Hefner on Wednesday isn't worthy of the ink either. But the two combined are kind of alarming because it reveals just how fragile this Mets starting rotation is. I didn't think it would be this bad, but then again I thought that before Johan Santana went down and Shaun Marcum proved unable to answer the bell for the season. Now, all of a sudden, Dillon Gee, a perfectly inconsistent 5th starter, is pressed into the role of a #3 that needs to eat innings, and Jeremy Hefner, who should be filling out some AAA roster, is in the #4 spot and somehow has a stranglehold on this role. This means that the #5 starter is likely to be enough to make you want to cover your eyes, and if you watched Aaron Laffey last Sunday, that's probably how you felt.
With only two really serviceable starters available for the Mets right now, things aren't looking very good. The starting pitching was supposed to be the strength here. Perhaps Dillon Gee will eventually get his act together, but for that to happen, he needs to turn these bludgeonings into simple bad outings. Tuesday night, he had a bad 2nd inning, and then let it turn into an absolute massacre, giving up 3 Home Runs in 5 Pitches. I mean, I know that the Phillies have a good lineup but come on, who does that at the Major League level? And this has been Gee's problem. He's got enough to tantalize you but that's about it. For every good outing like the one he had against San Diego, there's one like the one in Philadelphia, and that's fine, if you're expecting him to be a 5th starter, but if he's going to be anything more, he's got to at least try to minimize damage and keep the Mets in the game.
Jeremy Hefner, on the other hand, appears to be beyond hope. He has good outings and bad, too. Just so happens that his good outings are against awful teams like the Marlins, or the Pirates or a neutered, Howard and Utley-less Philly team. Every time he's faced a good team, his opponent has fed him his lunch several times over. Last year, Philly pasted him so badly he couldn't even escape the 1st inning (a game so far beyond reproach that I couldn't even be bothered to blog about it, so there's nothing to backlink to) and they appeared well on their way to doing it again last night but for a heads-up tag from Ruben Tejada and a nice catch from Jordany Valdespin. And yet Gary, Keith and Ron were somehow bandying his name around as making 30+ starts this season! If Jeremy Hefner is going to make 30 starts in 2013, then this is going to be a far worse season than I'm giving it credit for. In the words of Mike Francesa, "NNNEY STINKS!!!"
I realize there's some kind of plan here to not rush Zack Wheeler, and let him take his time, but the urgency to bring him here may come sooner rather than later. We all know he's ready, and we all know that even if he's terrible, he won't be as bad as Aaron Laffey. Or Jeremy Hefner. Or Collin McHugh. Or anyone else they think they can trot out there instead of him. If May 1st is that magic clock date, I'd have to imagine he's going to be up not long after that date. You know, if things haven't completely spiraled out of control before then.