Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Mets Split Doubleheader with Braves

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Mets Split Doubleheader with Braves

Article excerpt

NEW YORK - When the Mets broke camp in March, it would've been hard to imagine Chris Flexen starting a game during the final week of the season.

The Mets were seemingly set with seven quality starting pitchers, and Flexen had yet to pitch above Class A Ball at that time.

Seven pitchers did not prove to be enough, though, and Flexen was summoned in July and has remained with the team since. Monday, he allowed four runs in five-plus innings in a 9-2 loss to the Braves in the first game of a doubleheader at Cit Field.

The Mets (67-90) earned a split of the doubleheader behind six shutout innings from Seth Lugo in a 3-2 victory in the nightcap.

While the Mets used Flexen and several others more than they would have preferred in 2017, Mets general manager Sandy Alderson is hopeful this experience could help prove beneficial as the team prepares to fortify its pitching for 2018.

"I do think one of the silver linings of the injures we've suffered this year is we have gotten to see other starting pitchers. Some have done reasonably well, some have not," Alderson said last week. "But I don't think there's anyone we've seen that doesn't have major-league potential. Might be a little early for them, there were a couple of guys that perhaps wouldn't be here but for the injuries, but we got to see them."

Once the backbone of the organization and the envy of 29 other teams, the Mets' starting pitching is now one of the biggest question marks of the roster. The unit owns a 5.16 ERA, the fourth-worst in the majors, and once again was ravaged by injuries.

Only Jacob deGrom avoided the disabled list among the seven starters, and Steven Matz and Zack Wheeler did not finish the season, Noah Syndergaard has made just six appearances, and Matt Harvey has missed time while posting a 6.60 ERA.

Entering 2018, the Mets can only count on two starters for 30 starts: deGrom and Syndergaard. The team is hopeful Matz and Harvey will fare better in 2018, but there are durability questions about both while Harvey has struggled for the last two years. …

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