LOS ANGELES -- The Mets' rotation ERA has risen to 5.11, second-worst in the National League. There is no ignoring the fact that injuries to Noah Syndergaard and Matt Harvey, two cornerstones of what was supposed to be one of baseball's best starting fives, have played a role.But the struggles
LOS ANGELES -- The Mets' rotation ERA has risen to 5.11, second-worst in the National League. There is no ignoring the fact that injuries to Noah Syndergaard and Matt Harvey, two cornerstones of what was supposed to be one of baseball's best starting fives, have played a role.
But the struggles of other, healthy Mets starters have been more difficult to explain. In serving up four homers in a 12-0 loss to the Dodgers on Tuesday, Robert Gsellman became the second Mets pitcher in as many days to allow four runs before recording an out. In what was supposed to be his breakout season, Gsellman fell to 5-5 with a 6.04 ERA.
"I've just been getting my butt kicked out there," Gsellman said.
"I can't explain it," added Mets manager Terry Collins.
Few Mets have much to offer in the way of hypotheses. Pitching in his hometown Tuesday, leaving 14 tickets for family -- including his grandmother, who had never seen him pitch as a professional -- and friends, Gsellman began his night thusly: single, home run, error, home run. He allowed the first of Corey Seager's three homers on a hanging changeup, then Cody Bellinger's 10th long ball in 10 games on an 82-mph curve.
From there, the night became a microcosm of Gsellman's season; he recovered in the second and third innings only to allow homers in the fourth and fifth.
"It's definitely been a roller-coaster ride, up and down," Gsellman said. "I definitely just have to stay positive and keep moving forward. It's still a long season."
Rapidly, though, the Mets are nearing the halfway mark of a campaign in which they had hoped to contend. Exacerbating matters Tuesday was the fact that Gsellman's outing came a day after Zack Wheeler lasted only two innings in a loss to the Dodgers, allowing seven runs. Hours later, the Mets ran tests on Wheeler to ensure he was healthy (he is), for lack of any other explanation.
But it hasn't been just Gsellman and Wheeler. Harvey struggled mightily before landing on the DL. Steven Matz and Seth Lugo only recently made their season debuts due to injuries, forcing Rafael Montero, Tyler Pill and Tommy Milone to fill in. Even Jacob deGrom endured uncharacteristic rough patches before recently righting himself. Since the start of June, Mets starters have posted a 5.87 ERA.
"It's tough for me to sit here and, night after night, look up and we're just not making pitches," Collins said. "If you're going to battle, you've got to make pitches."
In the manager's estimation, Mets starters must become less predictable, throwing more pitches out of the zone. Gsellman went as far as to suggest plunking a few more batters to make his opponents less "comfortable."
"We've got to do anything right now that will help us get through the first inning and get deep in the ballgame," catcher Rene Rivera said. "We'll figure it out.
"It's frustrating because we know what kind of talent we've got here, what kind of pitching we've got here, and they've showed that they can pitch in the big leagues. Right now, we're in a bad stretch and nothing's going our way. But we're in the big leagues and we have to grind it. We have to be better."
Anthony DiComo has covered the Mets for MLB.com since 2008. Follow him on Twitter @AnthonyDiComo and Facebook.