Things have not been going too well for the Mets of late. They were just swept -- at home, no less -- by the last place Braves, and they've lost six of their last eight games overall. New York comes into Tuesday with a 36-32 record. They're 5 1/2 games back of the Nationals in the NL East.
Tuesday afternoon the Mets announced a relatively minor change to their rotation for this week's two-game series with the Royals. They're flip-flopping Bartolo Colon and Noah Syndergaard.
This is a relatively small change in the grand scheme of things -- the Mets had an off-day Monday, so Colon will be starting on regular rest Tuesday -- but it does accomplish three things of varying importance.
1. It gives Syndergaard an extra day of rest.
Last season, between the minors and the regular season and the postseason, Syndergaard threw a career-high 198 2/3 innings. That's an increase of 65 2/3 innings from the previous year. Syndergaard is still a young man the Mets have to monitor his workload going forward. They want to keep him healthy. He's on pace to throw 200 innings this year and this little breather won't hurt.
2. Syndergaard will now face the Nationals next week.
Flip-flopping Colon and Syndergaard this week allows Syndergaard to face the Nationals next week. Had the team kept not changed their rotation, Colon would have started against Washington and Syndergaard would have missed the series.
In fact, this little flip-flop potentially allows Syndergaard to start against the Nationals twice in the coming weeks. Not just once. If you lay out the team's schedule and rotation a few weeks in advance, you get these probable starters.
|6/21||vs. Royals||Bartolo Colon|
|6/22||vs. Royals||Noah Syndergaard|
|6/23||@ Braves||Matt Harvey|
|6/24||@ Braves||Steven Matz|
|6/25||@ Braves||Jacob deGrom|
It's tough to accurately project pitching matchups two and a half weeks into the future because of rainouts and things like that, but, as it stands, Syndergaard will now start against the Nats on June 27 and July 7. Throwing your ace against the team your chasing in the standings is never a bad strategy.
Had the team not flip-flopped Colon and Syndergaard this week, Syndergaard would have instead faced the Braves on June 26 and the Marlins on July 6.
3. Syndergaard now lines up for the All-Star Game.
An added bonus to this little flip-flop maneuver? It lines Syndergaard up perfectly to start the All-Star Game on July 12. That isn't to say he should start the All-Star Game -- that Clayton Kershaw fellow is mighty good, you know -- but he lines up to do so. It's an option.
Remember, Mets manager Terry Collins will be the manager of the NL All-Star Team last year because New York won the pennant a year ago. He could give the All-Star Game start to Syndergaard, his own player. It certainly wouldn't be the first time an All-Star manager opted to give the ball to his own guy.
Syndergaard, 23, is 7-2 with a 1.91 ERA (206 ERA+) and a 0.97 WHIP in 14 starts (and one relief appearances) this season. He's struck out 106 and walked 12 in 85 innings. Syndergaard struck out 10 in seven scoreless innings against the Nationals last month.