On Sunday, New York Mets starting pitcher Bartolo Colon helped out his own cause with a RBI double. Several days before that, fellow starter Noah Syndergaard hit a solo home run. Both of those games resulted in a Mets victory, with the former resulting in a win by one run. This raises an obvious question: “What are the Mets feeding their pitchers?”
One year ago, we watched in disbelief and embarrassment as Bartolo Colon took his hacks at the plate. The 42-year-old who has spent nearly his entire career in the American League looked to be one of those examples of the phrase “You can’t teach an old dog new tricks” when it came to hitting. But every at bat Colon gave a whole-hearted effort. Many times he would have runners in scoring position with two outs, so he couldn’t afford to be a sitting duck. As the year went on, Colon looked and felt more comfortable at the plate, and each at bat became less assured to be an easy out.
As 2015 began, Colon looked to be poised to master both duties of the pitcher position in the National League. So far he’s been doing his best going 3-for-21 with a double and 3 RBIs. Though it has been seen as a spectacle for most baseball fans, Colon can now laugh back every time he collects a hit. He even outdid himself when he beat out a throw from third earlier this year. Now that he’s shown to be a confident hitter, some of that confidence has made its way over to the rest of the Mets pitching rotation.
On May 27, it was Syndergaard’s turn in the rotation when the Mets took on the Phillies. There was buzz that even the 22-year-old was known for hitting. While it took Colon up until Sunday to collect three hits and an extra-base hit this season, Syndergaard was able to do that in one day against Philadelphia, going 3-for-3 with a solo home run, all the while shutting out the Phillies lineup through 7.1 innings.
This kind of play has taken the National League by storm. Not too long ago, Washington Nationals pitcher Max Scherzer urged the NL to institute a designated hitter, claiming people would rather come see a power hitter than a “pitcher swinging a wet newspaper.” We’ll give Scherzer a pass here because he is fresh off the boat from five seasons in the American League, but the Mets have been stroked with good fortune here that their pitchers are willing to hit and are capable of hitting.
When asked about his pitching staff at the plate this year, manager Terry Collins revealed that his team did not have an agenda this season about putting an emphasis on the pitchers’ hitting, but rather the ability to make lemonade out of lemons with that they have:
“Right now, none of them can bunt so they’re all trying to get hits.”
Now that Collins has introduced a six-man rotation to the ball club, we’ll now see how an extra day of rest can work for their pitchers and their hitting productivity among the rest of the offense. And in case you’re wondering, each of the Mets’ six starting pitchers has registered a base hit this season.