David Zalubowski/Associated Press
While he has struggled in his last two starts, Mejia has still exhibited his elite potential this season.
The fact that the Mets have a .500 record over a month into the season is mostly due to the starting rotation’s strong performance.
This may seem like an odd statement considering that over half the members of the rotation have ERAs over 5.00. While Jonathon Niese and Dillon Gee have been exceptional with their 1.82 and 2.51 ERAs, respectively, the rest of the rotation’s numbers would be much better if not for some extenuating circumstances.
Bartolo Colon has an ERA of 5.36 following his star Tuesday night, but outside of two bad outings, he has been exceptional. Every pitcher has days when he loses command of his arsenal, yet the two times Colon has struggled, he has been remarkably bad, giving up 16 runs in 9.2 innings over two starts. However, he has a 2.65 ERA in 34 innings in his other four starts.
Zack Wheeler and Jenrry Mejia also have high ERAs, yet have showed tremendous promise despite this. In games when these two have surrendered numerous runs, it has been after they have dominated the opposing team in the early innings.
Wheeler pitched poorly throughout his start in Colorado last week, but his weaker starts prior to that were usually because he struggled in the fifth inning and later.
Mejia has had similar issues recently, causing his ERA to balloon to 5.23. Prior to his last two starts, Mejia had an ERA of 1.99, and in both of his poor starts, he absolutely dominated the opposition early in the games. However, he gave up five runs in the sixth inning in Miami and eight runs in the fifth in Colorado.
Both Mejia and Wheeler are young pitchers, and struggling around the fifth inning could be explained by either fatigue or not mixing up their pitching sequences when facing the opposition for the third time. This should improve as they build arm strength and gain experience, as both have exhibited the natural talent to dominate at the major league level.