The Mets’ dream rotation has not yet been unveiled, but Wednesday is expected to feature the high-octane pitching that could make or break this season.
Jacob deGrom will make what could be his final rehab start that afternoon in a home game for Triple-A Syracuse, while Max Scherzer likely will be pitching that night for the Mets at Citi Field against the Yankees.
DeGrom will be pitching on six days’ rest against the Omaha Storm Chasers, a Royals affiliate, after throwing 60 pitches in a simulated game in Port St. Lucie on Thursday.
The ace’s sim game was delayed two days because, the team said, there was soreness around his shoulder. He came through the outing OK and threw a bullpen session at Citi Field on Sunday.
The 34-year-old, who has not pitched this season after going down in spring training with a stress reaction in his right scapula, has made three minor league starts in which he has been overpowering (15 strikeouts in 8 ²/₃ innings) but had not crossed the five-inning threshold that Buck Showalter has said is the goal before deGrom’s 2022 debut.
Showalter was asked Sunday if deGrom’s next rehab start would be his last.
“I know what the plan is, but if something happens that makes us deviate from that plan, we will, which we have a couple of times, just barely, [by] a day or two,” the manager said. “Right now I know what the plan is and I would rather not put it out there completely until we get to that step.”
If the right-hander is deemed ready after Wednesday, he could begin his season in Washington on Monday or Tuesday.
The Mets have never seen deGrom and Scherzer together, but on Wednesday they should see one after the other.
The Mets took a seven-run lead into the eighth inning Sunday and still were forced to call upon Edwin Diaz for a save.
With the Aug. 2 trade deadline approaching, the Mets’ bullpen is making it clear that at least one addition is necessary for a team with World Series hopes.
In the 8-5 win over the Padres at Citi Field, Drew Smith allowed a ninth run in his past 9 ¹/₃ innings, David Peterson, who’s been so good as a starter allowed a run out of the bullpen, and Joely Rodriguez faced four batters and retired none before Diaz extinguished the ninth-inning fire.
Rodriguez’s ERA is up to 5.93, and their lone true lefty reliever after Chasen Shreve was designated for assignment and could be on the outs soon, with the Mets in the market for a southpaw.
Perhaps the Mets could reunite with Aaron Loup, now with the Angels. Other lefties who could interest the Mets include Detroit’s Gregory Soto and Andrew Chafin, Arizona’s Joe Mantiply, Texas’ Matt Moore, Oakland’s Sam Moll and Miami’s Tanner Scott.
The Mets also could import a righty arm, though they will have to factor in the in-house additions they expect to activate. Trevor May has begun a rehab assignment at Double-A Binghamton and could return in early August. Tylor Megill (strained right shoulder) is out until at least mid-August, and it’s possible that the Mets will ask him to help out of the bullpen rather than the rotation.
Still, the Mets’ righty arms have been shaky beyond Diaz and Adam Ottavino, and the Mets could try to replace Colin Holderman, who was swapped for Daniel Vogelbach.
The market is vast, but the Cubs’ David Robertson, Rockies’ Daniel Bard and Tigers’ Michael Fulmer are possibilities on expiring contracts.
Jeff McNeil is 2-for-28 in his past eight games, dropping his average from .317 to .293.
“It was pretty hard to maintain the level he was hitting at and playing at,” Showalter said this weekend. “He’s running better, feeling better leg-wise, that’s good to see. … I wouldn’t doubt him at all. He’s got a pretty good track record of offensive contribution, and I think he’ll find that again.”
With his 2-for-4 night in the win over the Padres on Sunday, Starling Marte tallied his 30th multi-hit game this season, which was the seventh-most in the NL.
“Starling came in and hit a sharp ball right out of the chute [in the sixth],” Showalter said of the first hit in a five-run inning. “It’s almost like at that point our guys said ‘OK, there’s a game to be won here.’ ”