Chris Schwinden has failed to get through five innings for the second time in two big league starts this season, and it’s become unclear if he’ll get a chance at another. After Schwinden allowed five runs on two Chris Johnson home runs in yesterday’s 8-1 loss to Houston, Matt Cerrone of MetsBlog said, “Chris Schwinden should not make another start. It’s that simple.”
Schwinden allowed two walks and six hits while striking out one batter in his short outing. Ruben Tejada continued his hot hitting with two doubles and a single out of the lead-off spot, while Jed Lowrie continued to pound the Mets with three hits of his own. Johnson has been in danger of losing his job as Astros third baseman, but he had a wonderful day, with four hits and six RBI.
Houston ace Wandy Rodriguez mowed down the Mets through seven innings with five strikeouts, two walks and just one run allowed.
Meanwhile, Mets manager Terry Collins wouldn’t say for sure if Schwinden or someone else would start the next time Pelfrey’s old spot in the rotation came around.
“I’m not committing to anything,” Collins said. “Things change in this game. So we’ll see what happens.”
Perhaps the top candidate to take Schwinden’s place on the roster would be Jeremy Hefner, who has a 2.08 ERA, 14 strikeouts and four walks in four starts at AAA Buffalo this season. Hefner also pitched three innings of scoreless relief for the Mets in the first game of the doubleheader versus San Francisco on April 23. Hefner’s strikeout totals in the upper levels of the minors indicate he is far from flashy, but he at least deserves a spot start if the Mets decide they’ve had enough of Schwinden.
Another possibility is the return of Chris Young, who did some good work for New York last season before undergoing shoulder surgery after just four starts. Young was signed by the Mets to a minor league deal in the off-season and has been rehabbing in Florida recently. Collins estimates that he could be ready for major league action in mid to late May.
One aveunue that the Mets probably won’t explore is the early call up of one of their treasured pitching prospects. Adam Rubin of ESPN New York reports that Matt Harvey, Jeurys Familia and Zach Wheeler will probably stay in the minors for the time being.
Are Harvey’s seven scoreless innings last week against Lehigh Valley, the Phillies’ Triple-A affiliate, enough to warrant him starting against the actual Phillies the next time Pelfrey’s turn comes up, Tuesday at Citizens Bank Park? That’s hard to fathom.
Harvey, by the way, walked 11 over the four preceding games before his lights-out Lehigh Valley outing. Familia, meanwhile, has 22 walks in 21 2/3 innings with Triple-A Buffalo this season.
I’ll admit that I’ve been itching to see Harvey pitch in the majors this season, but there’s no real reason to not give more established players like Hefner and Young a shot at the job first. I’m guessing that Hefner will get the next two or three starts, with Young taking over after that if Hefner is not very effective.