This much is known: The Mets need four starting pitchers over the next three days. They have four arms — Steven Matz, Robert Gsellman, Michael Wacha and David Peterson — in mind. It remains to be seen when they will be used, and if Wacha and Peterson will be able to start.
Manager Luis Rojas declined to offer much insight, even for Thursday’s series finale against the Marlins, other than to say Matz and Gsellman weren’t going to be used Wednesday night out of the bullpen. Wacha and Peterson, both still on the injured list with shoulder ailments, threw bullpen sessions on Monday and are in play to start over the next three days.
“Right now, we’re staying TBD for [Thursday]. We’re still on a day-by-day approach,” Rojas said over Zoom before the Mets topped the Marlins, 5-4, at Citi Field on Wednesday night. “We’re having a couple of guys play catch, throw sides today, and just to see how they feel.”
In addition to Thursday, the Mets will need two starters for Friday’s doubleheader against the Yankees in The Bronx and a single game on Saturday, before likely going back to Rick Porcello and Seth Lugo for Sunday’s twin bill against the Yankees.
Matz, scuffling with a 9.00 ERA, was bumped from the rotation in favor of Lugo for last Thursday’s scheduled game against the Marlins in Miami. Of course, that game was never played when a player and coach tested positive for COVID-19. Gsellman made two abbreviated starts in place of Wacha, allowing four runs across 3 ²/₃ innings pitched.
“We’re looking at [Wacha] possibly starting one of the upcoming days,” Rojas said. “We’re looking at Peterson also progressing in a way he can start soon.”
Edwin Diaz left in the eighth inning with the bases loaded due to an injury, but the Mets don’t believe it is anything more than a left leg cramp. Diaz inherited a bases-loaded, one-out jam from Justin Wilson and struck out the first hitter, Jesus Sanchez. After Jesus Aguilar reached on an infield single, Diaz walked Corey Dickerson to force in a run and was behind Brian Anderson 2-1, when Rojas came out with the trainer and took Diaz out.
Diaz, favoring his left leg, tried to convince Rojas to leave him in, but the Mets’ manager didn’t want to risk further injury.
“It could lead to something else,” Rojas said.
He inserted Brad Brach, who walked in the tying run, but Wilson Ramos’ go-ahead single in the bottom half of the inning took Diaz off the hook.
Just when the Mets thought Amed Rosario had begun to turn the corner, producing consecutive multi-hit games last week, he has returned to expanding the strike zone and going 1-for-13 over his last four games. He was even pinch-hit for during the nightcap of Tuesday’s doubleheader sweep and has yet to draw a walk in 89 at-bats this year.
“He’s still chasing,” Rojas said. “He’s still chasing some pitches and it’s a constant reminder, it’s constant teaching, it’s constant work with him just to get him to take [more] quality at-bats because the byproduct is for him to get the pitches he’s going to be able to handle, do more damage.”
The Mets-Yankees doubleheader will begin Friday in The Bronx at 4:05 p.m. The Mets will be the home team in the second game. On Sunday, the doubleheader will start at 1:05 p.m. with the same designations.
The Mets optioned catcher Patrick Mazeika to their alternate training site in Brooklyn, leaving them again with two catchers on the roster.