If the New York Mets are going to have any success in 2013, and keep in mind success can be a rather loose term for them, it all starts with their rotation.
Heading into Opening day, there is little expected from the Mets lineup, especially with the health of David Wright and Daniel Murphy both being questionable. Outside of Wright and Murphy, there’s little certainty what type of contributions the Mets will be getting from the rest of their lineup.
Without assurance that the lineup is going to be able to score runs consistently, the Mets may have to win low-scoring games, and that requires excellent starting pitching.
Even a revamped bullpen that looks promising may not be reliable. Bobby Parnell still has a lot to prove as a closer, as do the veterans in front of him like LaTroy Hawkins and Scott Atchison, both of whom came to the Mets on minor-league contracts this year. Naturally, the middle part of the bullpen will be even less reliable, which puts pressure on the starters not only to prevent runs from scoring, but to go deep in games as well.
With Johan Santana out for the season and Shaun Marcum dealing with an injury that may delay the start of his season, the Mets’ rotation isn’t exactly in tip-top shape. But, that’s not going to change the fact that all of the Mets success this season will rest on the success of the rotation.
The young players that front the rotation: Jon Niese, Matt Harvey, and Dillon Gee will have to give their best effort every five days. With Santana injured, the torch has officially been passed to the new generation of Mets pitchers, highlighted by Niese and Harvey, with Zack Wheeler and others scheduled to join them eventually.
As unfair as it may be, the success of the 2013 Mets rests on the shoulders of Niese and Harvey, who will front the starting rotation that will have to lead the Mets to any success they have. The team’s young arms may have more help around them in the future but for now, it’s all on them.