C.J. Nitkowski: ‘Fatigue A Factor For Mets Pitching’

With all due respect to Yoenis Cespedes, David Wright and Daniel Murphy, the New York Mets are in the World Series because of their starting rotation. Yes, from Matt Harvey to Jacob deGrom to Noah Syndergaard, the Mets have arguably the youngest, most talented, most powerful pitching staff in the majors.

But sometimes, power arms – especially young power arms – get a little tired. Harvey was so-so in Game 1, deGrom was off in Game 2.

Are the Mets’ young arms starting to wear down?

“There’s definitely a little fatigue there,” Eye on Baseball co-host CJ Nitkowski said on CBS Sports Radio’s The DA Show. “It’s a really bad combination unfortunately for the Mets. You have a team like the Kansas City Royals that just don’t swing and miss. They don’t strike out. (They had the) least amount of strikeouts in baseball (and the) least amount of swings and misses in all of Major League Baseball. They’re a contact team, which is completely atypical of what we see in Major League Baseball. That doesn’t mean they’re necessarily the most disciplined. They’ll go out of the zone, but they make a ton of contact. So if you get Matt Harvey a little bit tired and you get Jacob deGrom a little bit tired and you get a contact team that is strong 1 through 9, that definitely presents a problem, and that’s what we have seen so far. That’s how things have unfolded.”

The Mets’ starting pitchers mowed hitters down in the regular season and mowed hitters down in the NLDS and NLCS. Double-digit strikeouts became the norm. These guys came with gas, and they came with gas early and often. The Cubs, who have one of the finest – albeit swing-happy – offenses in baseball, mustered just eight runs in four games against New York.

The Royals have 12 in two.

“Jacob deGrom and Matt Harvey are both pretty good strikeout pitchers, but that game plan is not going to work,” Nitkowski said. “Even if they’re feeling pretty fresh, that game plan is not necessarily going to work against the Kansas City Royals. You watch both of these games, especially deGrom’s game in Game 2. The foul balls are what kill you. You’ll sit there and you’ll throw a pretty good pitch and he’ll elevate a fast ball at 97 miles per hour, 96 miles per hour. Mike Moustakas was fouling it off with two strikes and you’re just like, ‘Come on, dude.’ You’re getting tired, they’re wearing you down. He had that eight-pitch at-bat in the fifth inning. It was just an absolute killer for deGrom. Hosmer had a really good at-bat. It wasn’t deep, but he did a really good job of just keeping the ball in the middle of the field. As things unravelled in the fifth inning, that’s what you noticed. You noticed guys aren’t pulling the ball. Everything was pretty much in the gaps or up the middle. They did a really good job.That’s a good approach. There definitely is some fatigue there on the part of the New York Mets pitchers, and again, going up against this contact lineup, is just kind of a bad combination right now.”

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