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Around the NL East: Will the Mets’ six-man rotation work?

Jun 4, 2015, 12:00 PM EDT

New York Mets starting pitcher Dillon Gee throws a pitch against the San Diego Padres in the first inning of baseball game Wednesday, June 3, 2015, in San Diego. (AP Photo/Lenny Ignelzi)

ATLANTA BRAVES

If Nationals fans thought their team’s bullpen had issues, take a look at what’s going on with the Braves these days. In a recent 10-game road trip, Atlanta relievers allowed 22 earned runs in 22 innings of work, with the most egregious effort coming Wednesday night after a 6-0 Braves lead turned into a 9-8 Diamondbacks win. Ouch.

Despite all that, they only sit three games back in the division and are (somehow) very much alive as June begins. That probably speaks more to the weakness of the division than anything else, but if the retooling Braves were to suddenly get hot over the next month, it wouldn’t be a huge surprise if they were buyers at the trade deadline.

MIAMI MARLINS 

Maybe the Marlins aren’t as much of a disaster as we originally thought. While they’re still fighting with the Phillies to see who will finish in last place, they’ve been able to tread water recently with Dan Jennings at the helm. The Fish are 5-5 over their last 10 games and seemed to have slowly worked out of their May funk.

One of the main reasons for that, as is usually the case, is Giancarlo Stanton has started to heat up again. Over his last nine games, he has hit five homers to raise his season total to 17. He’s hitting just .231, but he leads the majors in RBI (46). If anyone in the NL is a major threat to challenge Bryce Harper’s season totals, it’s undoubtedly Stanton.

NEW YORK METS 

It was a possibility for a few weeks, and now it’s finally a reality: The Mets are implementing a six-man starting rotation, inserting righty Dillon Gee into the mix after he returned from the disabled list Wednesday.

The question is, why are they doing this? Well, on the surface, the strategy seems to makes sense. It helps limit innings for youngsters like Jacob deGrom and Noah Syndergaard, but also keeps 42-year-old Bartolo Colon fresh and doesn’t overwork Matt Harvey, who recently came off of Tommy John rehab. Starting pitching is clearly the Mets’ biggest asset, so they might as well protect it as best they can — not only for a potential playoff chase this year, but for 2016 and beyond.

PHILADELPHIA PHILLIES 

The last-place Phillies got a scare Wednesday night, as it appeared lefty ace Cole Hamels left the game in Cincinnati with injury. As it turned out, he was fine, keeping in tact what Philly fans hope is the team’s biggest trade chip over the next month or so. After a tough start to the season, Hamels has rebounded big time, posting a 1.83 ERA over his last six outings. If he keeps this up (and stays healthy) over the next six weeks, he’ll undoubtedly be pitching in a different uniform come late July.

  1. nats128 - Jun 4, 2015 at 12:47 PM

    On a practical level it may work for the NY Mets. For a veteran squad, it wouldnt make sense.

    • nats106 - Jun 4, 2015 at 12:51 PM

      Somewhere I read in Japan the pitchers go once a week, which is basically implementing the same thing as a 6 man rotation. I also wonder if that’s why some of these Japanese pitchers (Darvish, Tanaka) might be injury prone. I got no facts to back this up, but it hasn’t stopped me from saying stuff before.

      • nats128 - Jun 4, 2015 at 12:55 PM

        Its a transition issue and the same reason why college pitchers take a while to adjust. Your college #1 pitches only on Friday nights then goes to every 5 days.

      • nats106 - Jun 4, 2015 at 12:59 PM

        Yeah, that makes sense. I guess since they are doing their time in AA or AAA it doesn’t get noticed as much when there’s a physical breakdown. It’s probably more of an everyday event than we realize.

    • adcwonk - Jun 4, 2015 at 1:12 PM

      I like the idea of thinking out of the box when you have a-typical circumstances. The Mets are exactly in that situation (an amazing combinations of youngsters, a TJ recovery, and a fossil), and I give them credit for trying this strategy.

      • nats128 - Jun 4, 2015 at 1:23 PM

        It’s the one way to extend Harvey’s season and that could be smart altho not guaranteed. We talked about it in 2012 with the Nats as doing this as a creative way to extend Strasburg’s season and it was shutdown from some as a poor idea as you would need a very good 6th starter and Gee is not very good.

        We will see though if it works for the Mets.

        At this point in the season it will extend Harvey for 4 starts and ostensibly swap that for 4 of Gee and so on down the line for each starter.

        Could cost them a post-season berth and thats the other line of thinking.

        Time will tell.

    • hokiepokster92 - Jun 4, 2015 at 2:02 PM

      To do this midseason is a bit of a risk. Pitchers are creatures of habit. Up to this point, their arms have adjusted to the rhythm and pace of throwing every fifth day. How often have you heard about a pitcher being less effective with that extra day of rest? Some say their arms feel too strong and they overthrew pitches (breaking pitches had less bite, sinkers didn’t sink, etc.).

      I also read where Collins plans to have the starters throw two bullpen sessions between starts. This doesn’t exactly lessen the workload on Harvey.

      We shall see…

  2. David Proctor - Jun 4, 2015 at 12:54 PM

    Does anyone know who the starter for Saturday is? It can’t be Jordan, it can’t be Scherzer or ZNN on 3 days rest. I suppose it could be AJ Cole, but he’s listed as the starter for Syracuse tonight. If he pitches, then he’s out. Taylor Hill threw 3 innings yesterday. I suppose he could go on Saturday, but that doesn’t inspire much confidence. Nobody else at Syracuse is doing well. Nobody at AA is doing particularly well, other than Ross, and I can’t imagine them bringing him up yet.

    How did we go from too much pitching to desperate for pitching so quickly?

    • nats106 - Jun 4, 2015 at 1:02 PM

      They made a call to Sec 106 last night. I told them I wasn’t available so my money is on Joe Ross. Got to bring in those AA guys from Harrisburg sometime…..

      • masterfishkeeper - Jun 4, 2015 at 1:12 PM

        Ross isn’t on the 40 man roster, but they could put Stammen on the 60 day DL and add Ross. Or put Werth on the 60 day DL, for that matter.

    • coop202 - Jun 4, 2015 at 1:05 PM

      It’s rough right? Assume we send down whoevers been overused and send up Hill. Solis was dl’ed retroactive to May 18th so he’ll be eligible but I don’t know how his rehab is going. Maybe they keep cole down to 30 pitches to keep him fresh if he does start..?

    • nats128 - Jun 4, 2015 at 1:27 PM

      Almost certainly AJ Cole now after they threw Taylor Hill last night and Ghost said they would swap them out for each other. The other choice was Blake Treinen who could go 60 to 70 pitches.

      • David Proctor - Jun 4, 2015 at 1:59 PM

        Cole walked 7 in his last minor league start. That’s a little bit scary.

      • Steady Eddie - Jun 4, 2015 at 2:22 PM

        Austen Williams is now listed as the Chiefs’ starter for tonight, not Cole any more. So it may indeed be Cole on Saturday.

        As for all those walks in his last MiLB start, may just have lost his focus a bit going back down.

      • Steady Eddie - Jun 4, 2015 at 2:30 PM

        Just looked at that last Cole start vs the Bulls, and it was kind of bizarre. First 3 innings, a single and two walks with no damage. In fact, other than the single, only one fly ball out of the infield. Gets the first out in the fourth and then walks five straight batters, gets pulled. (The third run scored on a bases loaded ground out after Cole left.)

        THAT was pretty abrupt.

    • Toot D. Blan - Jun 4, 2015 at 1:53 PM

      Why can’t it be Scherzer or Zimmermann on 3 days rest? Pencil in whichever one does it for an easy 6 IP/80 pitches/whichever comes first, and then thanks to the off day Monday they get an extra day to rest up before their next start. I guarantee you that both of those guys have gone to MW and offered to take the ball on Saturday.

    • Toot D. Blan - Jun 4, 2015 at 1:57 PM

      ETA if Davey was still manager, this would definitely happen. With MW, probably not.

  3. nats128 - Jun 4, 2015 at 1:50 PM

    “Roch Kubatko Phil A. 14 hours ago
    Phil, take the rest of the night off. I know what basket to check. And there’s nothing there that’s flagged. And I call out others who spend the whole day and night being confrontational and hurling insult after insult. You new around here? So take your sarcasm to bed. We’re done here tonight”

    Stopped by the MASN site and at the bottom was this post. They must be killing each other there on the Os side.

    • Ghost of Steve M. - Jun 4, 2015 at 1:53 PM

      Fun watching them go at each other. I hope Rabbit is enjoying himself there.

      Major dysfunction.

  4. Ghost of Steve M. - Jun 4, 2015 at 1:52 PM

    Mike Rizzo: “I’d anticipate Anthony beginning his stint w/ us to play more 2nd base then 3rd.” Rendon at 2B, Escobar at 3B. #GrantAndDanny.

  5. Theophilus T.S. - Jun 4, 2015 at 1:53 PM

    Treinen should have been the backup starter (at Syracuse) since the beginning of the season. Between Treinen and Roark we wouldn’t be wondering if breaking the glass in case of emergency would give us Larry, Moe or Curly. It’s not like Treinen has been invaluable out of the bullpen. Mis-used but, for that reason, not consistently a working part.

    • Theophilus T.S. - Jun 4, 2015 at 2:06 PM

      I think I’m being unkind to Cole. It may appear that, for the sake of art, I lumped him with the Tweedle-dee and Tweedle-dum Taylors. Actually, Cole’s last two appearances have been quite serviceable, and his Ks and BBs have been just fine. Under the circumstances and given the choices I’d be perfectly content if he started Saturday.

      • Steady Eddie - Jun 4, 2015 at 2:18 PM

        Cole it may be on Saturday. Just checked and Austen Williams is now listed as the Chiefs’ starter for tonight, not Cole.

      • Eric - Jun 4, 2015 at 2:30 PM

        A friend just said Cole is the move corresponding with Rendon’s activation…any confirmation?

      • Eric - Jun 4, 2015 at 2:31 PM

        Never mind, Cole ACTIVATED, Difo and Jordan optioned. Derp ;).

  6. David Proctor - Jun 4, 2015 at 2:25 PM

    Rendon’s been activated off the DL. I predicted this last night. Nothing to gain from one extra rehab game. He’s going to need to shake off the rust against big league pitching, no need to delay that.

    • Ghost of Steve M. - Jun 4, 2015 at 2:27 PM

      Rust yes but much needed just to pencil him in.

    • Sec 3, My Sofa - Jun 4, 2015 at 2:31 PM

      And at the wire, it’s PROCTOR by a nose!

    • natsfan1a - Jun 4, 2015 at 2:40 PM

      [happy dance] Woooooooo! Hooooooooooo! (learned it from MicheleS)

      • natsfan1a - Jun 4, 2015 at 2:40 PM

        Which is for the Rendon activation, btw. I didn’t have any money on the race to post.

  7. Ghost of Steve M. - Jun 4, 2015 at 2:25 PM

    Rendon is back!!!!

    • jd - Jun 4, 2015 at 2:32 PM

      Great, great news

  8. Eric - Jun 4, 2015 at 2:29 PM

    Anthony REEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEENDON!

    Woohoo!

  9. Ghost of Steve M. - Jun 4, 2015 at 2:38 PM

    “#Nats also recalled AJ Cole (presumably to start Saturday). Taylor Jordan and Wilmer Difo optioned.”

    I had Taylor Hill going back which could mean Taylor Hill gets Strasburg’ start next week unless they skip it with Monday off.

  10. kirbs3256 - Jun 4, 2015 at 2:42 PM

    How is the weather up there? I’m in Richmond-Its way to wet for baseball here.

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FINAL NL EAST STANDINGS

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WASHINGTON83797.0
MIAMI719119.0
ATLANTA679523.0
PHILADELPHIA639927.0

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