The 1962 Mets, a collection of castoffs and misfits, bumbled their way to a staggering 120 defeats. Led by 24-game loser Roger Craig, the starting rotation posted a 5.18 ERA, still the worst in franchise history.
Now, that inglorious record is under threat.
Following a 9-1 loss to the Phillies on Tuesday night, when Jacob deGrom was battered for nine runs (six earned) in 3 2/3 innings, the 2017 Mets found themselves on pace for their own slice of infamy.
DeGrom’s bruising evening meant that the ERA of the Mets’ starting rotation rose to 5.19, an already-bloated figure that could get even worse on Wednesday night, when it’s unclear who will start.
Matt Harvey had been scheduled to pitch on short rest, an unorthodox and controversial decision after the righty looked overmatched in his last outing. But late on Tuesday, manager Terry Collins said the Mets had “reconsidered.”
Said Collins: “We have possible weather issues popping up and we certainly don’t want that to be a factor.”
With a fastball that didn’t top 94 mph, Harvey got hammered for seven runs in two innings, a brutal return after 2 1/2 months on the disabled list with a stress injury to his shoulder. Now, he’ll pitch on normal rest, leaving the Mets to change course for Wednesday night.
At the start of the season, the Mets hoped they had assembled a history-making starting rotation. This is not the kind of history they had in mind.
Even deGrom (14-9, 3.65), who has enjoyed an otherwise stellar season, has not been able to completely pull away from the gravitational pull of mediocrity.
Earlier in the season, he endured a two-start stretch in which he gave up 15 earned runs.
Eventually, deGrom bounced back from that turbulence. But he has dropped four of his last five decisions, a span in which he’s given up 19 earned runs. Of the 10 hits deGrom surrendered on Tuesday night, two came against opposing pitcher Ben Lively.
The damage included a two-run single and a two-run homer, after which deGrom kicked the dirt in front of the rubber.
In recent days, deGrom has been pitching through some lingering pain in his right foot, and his innings count has raised questions of fatigue. But he insisted that neither was a factor Tuesday night.
“No excuses,” deGrom said. “I was terrible tonight.”
Notes & quotes: Shortstop Amed Rosario remains day-to-day with a bruised right index finger . . . Wilmer Flores will be seen by a doctor on Thursday. He is still experiencing swelling after breaking his nose on Saturday . . . Righthander Robert Gsellman will rejoin the Mets on Wednesday as a September call-up.