Starting pitcher Shaun Marcum got roughed up in his long awaited debut with the New York Mets. The right-hander has allowed earned runs in both outings this season, and has shown zero confidence on the mound. Does New York actually believe Marcum is capable of quieting the bats of the Atlanta Braves Friday night?
Marcum has posted a 0-2 record with a 7.94 earned run average, four strikeouts, three walks and a .409 opponent’s batting average in 5 2/3 innings this season. Even though his numbers have been horrendous, the Mets really have no choice but to send him out on the mound.
New York is paying Marcum $4 million (plus incentives) this season to be a starting pitcher. Not to mention, he is the next man up in the rotation. They could bring someone else up from the minors to take his spot, but it would be foolish for the Mets not to give him more than one start to prove himself.
However, if he is unable to contain himself from tossing batting practice during live Major League Baseball games, then New York may have no choice but to place him in the bullpen. If that still does not work then the team may be better off cutting their losses. Obviously, that may be getting a little ahead of the game, but it is a possible reality that should not be ignored.
It is understandable that the 31-year-old is struggling in the early going considering he has dealt with various injuries before the start of the regular season, including a shoulder injury and nerve inflammation in his neck. However, if Marcum said he was ready to go, team doctors cleared him and the Mets believed he could pitch then there is really no excuse for his dismal performance thus far.
The Braves lead the National League in home runs (38) and have done well knocking runners in (110 RBI) this season. Atlanta’s team batting average (.242) is in the lower half in the league, but that should not make a difference against Marcum.
It will be interesting to see if the Mets will be able to get it going this weekend against the best team in the NL, especially since they have struggled mightily in the last two series.