4 Things Learned About New York Mets Near First Quarter of the Season

Stephen SmithContributor IIIMay 14, 2013

4 Things Learned About New York Mets Near First Quarter of the Season

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    Let's be honest—the New York Mets are a lousy baseball team. Not only that, but aside from when Matt Harvey pitches, they're an unwatchable team to boot.

    As we draw near the quarter mark of the 2013 MLB campaign, it's time to take a look at some things that have been learned about manager Terry Collins' squad this season.

    Aside from the excellent performances of a few select players, it has not been pretty—at all.

    Read on.

Matt Harvey Might Be the Best Pitcher in Baseball

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    Let's start with the good news. With all apologies to Justin Verlander, Clayton Kershaw and King Felix, Matt Harvey may be the best pitcher in all of baseball right now.

    The numbers speak for themselves.

    The 24-year-old right-hander is 4-0 with a 1.44 ERA and 0.73 WHIP. Those ERA and WHIP totals lead the major leagues. Harvey is fourth in MLB with 62 strikeouts in just 56.1 innings pitched. Opponents are hitting a paltry.142 against him.

    The accolades go on and on.

    Even when the University of North Carolina product does not have his best stuff—as evidenced on Sunday against Pittsburgh— he keeps the Mets in a game with his grit and bulldog determination.

    He's a winner in every sense of the word and the cornerstone of New York's pitching rotation for many years to come.

    Steve Serby of the New York Post asked Harvey if he was driven to be great.

    Absolutely. I don’t accept mediocrity. I don’t want to be OK. I don’t want to be just another guy. I want to be up there with the greats. That’s my winning edge, and the way I always want to be. ... Winning is what I want to do. If I’m the best and we’re not winning, that doesn’t necessarily mean anything.

The Mets Need to Call Up Zack Wheeler Now

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    New York needs to call in the cavalry to help their beleaguered starting rotation. Aside from Matt Harvey, its starting five is a total disaster.

    It's time to summon Zack Wheeler from Triple-A Las Vegas—now.

    The Mets will probably resist the urge to call up the former first-round draft pick until June because they want to delay salary arbitration another year. But New York's season is quickly slipping away, and if the Mets don't straighten out their starting rotation soon, Citi Field could be a ghost town come July.

    Wheeler has really turned things around recently at Las Vegas. Over his last three starts, the lanky right-hander has allowed just three earned runs in 20 innings of work. He's given up just 14 hits during that span and has fanned 19.

    New York is 8-19 in games not started by Harvey this season and the Mets need a shot in the arm desperately. Their bullpen is starting to wear out already, and their season is on the brink.

    After Wheeler's most recent start, Terry Collins gave this glowing report of him, via Matt Ehalt of ESPNNewYork.com:

    "Guy [Conti] said it was very impressive. He thought [Wheeler's] composure and demeanor on the mound were really impressive. The numbers speak for themselves but he said, 'Terry [Collins], he handles himself really, really well,'" Mets manager Terry Collins said Sunday before the Mets faced the Pirates. "That all comes with confidence that he's pitching good -- for me. I heard early in the season the opposite. Obviously he's happy with the way his mechanics are and where he's at. That confidence is building."

Ike Davis Is an Incredibly Slow Starter

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    This is getting ridiculous.

    What's the deal with Ike Davis? 2013 is the second consecutive season Davis has gotten off to a horrendous start, and it's simply killing the Mets.

    The Arizona State product once again looks completely lost at the plate. Davis is batting .175 and has struck out 39 times in 114 AB this season—a terrible ratio. He has knocked in only nine runs.

    Not only that, but he's a one-man rally killer with a putrid .129 average with runners in scoring position.

    "Obviously, I need to perform," Davis told Marc Carig of Newsday.

    That's the understatement of the year.

    So what can the Mets do? Collins has dropped Davis to as low as seventh in his batting order to take some pressure off him, but that hasn't worked.

    On Sunday against the Pirates, Collins reinserted the southpaw slugger into the cleanup slot to show he still has confidence in him.

    Davis went 0-for-4 with two strikeouts.

    Do the Mets need to send Davis to Triple-A Las Vegas to work out his issues? It's time to seriously consider that.

    It's getting late early in Queens these days.

New York's Bullpen Is a Train Wreck

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    The Mets' bullpen has been overworked this season because most of their starters don't go long enough into games. With that being said, general manager Sandy Alderson has done a poor job of constructing New York's bullpen for a second season in a row.

    New York ranks 25th in MLB with a 4.76 ERA. The Mets bullpen has blown 6-of-10 save opportunities and it has allowed its opponents to hit .274, the third worst average against in baseball.

    Closer Bobby Parnell (4-0, 1.10 ERA, three saves) has been very solid but his bullpen mates have struggled. For example, veteran LaTroy Hawkins is allowing opponents to hit a lusty .328 against him.

    Wait, it gets worse. Lefty "specialist" Robert Carson owns a 10.29 ERA with a 1.86 WHIP. The Mets just recalled Greg Burke from Las Vegas to help out in the pen. His ERA? 6.23.

    Yikes.

    It's simply ugly right now and unless the starters can give Terry Collins more length, it's probably going to get worse. Mets relievers have hurled four or more innings in eight of their last 14 games.

    Collins told Roger Rubin of the New York Daily News that his starters (aside from Harvey of course) are not performing up to expectations.

    “It’s a pretty big problem because our bullpen is shot," Collins said.

    The whole team looks shot right now.