By Lenn Robbins
After Tuesday’s doubleheader in The Bronx, Yankees and Mets fans can agree on something – the pitching has to get better.
The Yankees won the first game, bludgeoning Zach Wheeler and the Mets, 12-5. The Mets got immediate revenge by chasing James Paxton in a 10-5 win. For those of you scoring at home, the metropolitan rivals combined for 31 runs on 44 hits. Yikes.
Paxton has spent time on the injured list with a sore left knee that needed a cortisone injection in early May. He pitches with a protective brace. The Mets battered him for six earned runs on seven hits in two and two-thirds innings.
“I don’t think that’s a factor,’’ Paxton told reporters after the game in regards to the knee. “It was just a bad game on my part.”
J.A. Happ has won his last three to raise his record to 6-3 and lowered his ERA to 4.48. He’s quietly putting together a solid season. But the Yankees acquired Paxton with hopes of the lefty being an anchor.
With Luis Severino (Grade 2 lat strain) still on the injured list, sensation Domingo German (9-2; 3.86) just added to the injured list (strained hip flexor) and workhorse Masahiro Tanaka having allowed at least four earned runs in each of his last three starts, the Yankees can only hope Paxton can work through that sore left knee.After going 11-6 with a 3.76 ERA last season, Paxton, who signed a one-year deal with the Yankees worth $8,575,00, is 3-3 with an ERA of 4.04.
The Mets also have had their pitching woes.
Jacob deGrom, the 2018 Cy Young Award, got off to a tough start. He experienced soreness in his right elbow that landed him on the injured list in mid-April. Having undergone Tommy John surgery in 2010, any yellow flag is cause for serious concern.
DeGrom went 10-9 last season with a breathtaking 1.70 ERA. He was rewarded with a five-year, $137.5 million deal. But until recently he wasn’t close to those numbers. He’s 3-6 with a 3.45 ERA.
But in his last eight starts deGrom has gone 4-2 with a 2.72 ERA. He’s averaged more than one strikeout per inning in that span. The Mets need a dominating deGrom at the top of the rotation.
The lineup simply isn’t potent enough to win games for the Mets. Their .250 batting average is 9th in the National League. And the pitching, 10th in the NL allowing teams to his at a .256 clip, was supposed to be this team’s strength.
Mets and Yankees fans might have found the split O.K. But not the pitching.
all photographs Neil Miller /nysportsextra copyright 2019