Rick White

Five Aces Finally Deal In

The Mets are 9-1, and they are now off to the best start in franchise history.  However, right now, when it comes to the Mets, this isn’t even the biggest news of the season:

Saturday, April 7th at Washington – Steven Matz
Sunday, April 8th at Washington – Matt Harvey
Monday, April 9th at Miami – Noah Syndergaard
Tuesday, April 10th at Miami – Jacob deGrom
Wednesday, April 11th at Miami – Zack Wheeler

Sometime after 7:10 P.M., after the bottom of the first has ended, the dream will finally be realized.  The Five Aces will have finally taken one turn through the rotation. What’s funny about it is the dream was thought to be dead.

In 2015, before Syndergaard and Matz were called up to the majors, Wheeler needed Tommy John surgery.  As a result, this meant the dream, which was still in its infancy, would have to wait a year.

Heading into 2016, the Mets re-signed Bartolo Colon to help allow Wheeler to take his time in his rehab.  He would have a number of setbacks, and he would never pitch in 2016.  That year also saw deGrom, Harvey, and Matz befall season ending injuries themselves.

In 2017, the Mets were once again poised to have them all in the same rotation.  However, Matz would need to begin the season on the disabled list.  Syndergaard didn’t have an MRI and tore his lat.  Harvey and Wheeler would find their way onto the disabled list with stress reactions after they had probably been rushed into the rotation before they were ready.

The progress in 2017 was they at least all made a start in the same season.  That was something Generation K never did.  In 1995, we saw Jason Isringhausen and Bill Pulsipher in the same rotation.  Like with Wheeler, it was discovered Pulsipher needed Tommy John during the ensuing Spring Training.  As a result, this meant it was just Isringhausen and Paul Wilson in the rotation.

In 1997, Isringhausen was the only one to pitch for the Mets with Wilson pitching in the minors with shoulder problems and Pulsipher experiencing depression and complications from Tommy John.  Pulsipher would be the only one to pitch for the Mets in 1998 with Isringhausen hurt and Wilson hurt and in the minors.

In 1998, Pulipsher was the first to go.  He was traded to the Brewers for Mike Kinkade.  In 1999, it was Isringhausen’s turn to go as the Mets thought it better to use him to obtain Billy Taylor rather than use him in the bullpen.

Pulsipher came back to the organization in 2000, and he lost the Spring Training competition for the fifth starter spot to Glendon Rusch.  Both he and Wilson would get traded that season as the Mets sought reinforcements in Lenny Harris, Bubba Trammell, and Rick White to help them win a World Series.

The odd thing about seeing Generation K all being traded away for supporting pieces was they were supposed to be the leading drive towards a World Series.  Overall, they’d never appear in the same rotation, and they would pitch for the Mets in the postseason.

Seeing Generation K’s struggles makes what is happening tonight all the more remarkable.  Not only are we finally seeing these five pitchers in the same rotation, but we have already seen them have the success we once expected from Generation K.  In fact, they’ve been much more successful.

In many ways, seeing Wheeler start tonight is going to slay many demons for the entire Mets organization.

From the start the Mets have had and the seemingly magic tough Mickey Callaway has had, there is a lot more in store for the Mets.  That said, short of David Wright taking the field again, it is going to be hard to envision a more powerful moment that will happen this (regular) season.

Five Aces Are No More and Never Were

When you go through Mets history, there are certain dark moments of Mets history which continue to haunt Mets fans.

The 1977 Midnight Massacre which saw a vengeful and frankly inept front office trade Tom Seaverand Dave Kingman. This would beget Grant’s Tomb.

The 1992 Mets were dubbed The Worst Team Money Could Buy. The Mets first real foray into free agency would see the team add Eddie Murray, Willie Randolph, Dick Schofield, Bill Pecota, Bret Saberhahen, and the prize of the offseason free agent class Bobby BonillaUnder the guise of 1990 American League Manager of the Year Jeff Torborg, the Mets would go 70-92.

There would not be hope again until Generation K – Paul Wilson, Jason Isringhausen, and Bill Pulsipher.  With Isringhausen bursting out of the gate in 1995 going 9-2 with a 2.81 ERA in his first 14 starts, Mets fans anticipation was at a fever pitch.

The funny thing is due to a myriad of injuries to all three pitchers, the trio dubbed Generation K would never appear in the same rotation.  Over time, they would be surpassed and traded away for spare parts.  To put it in perspective, the best player the Mets would get in exchange for the trio would be Rick White.

Fast forward 20 years and Mets fans have dreamed about this generations crop of pitchers winning their first World Series since 1986.  While not as clever as Generation K, they had their own nickname – The Five Aces.  Matt Harvey, Jacob deGrom, Noah Syndergaard, Steven Matz, and Zack Wheeler.

They were going to scoff at the 1971 Orioles pitching staff and their measly 20 wins apiece.

Those 1990s Braves teams were going to laughed at for producing just three Hall of Fame pitchers.

This wasn’t “Spahn and Sain and Pray for Rain.”  It was Matz and Thor and We Got Three More!

Instead, what we got was Matt and Jake and All Five Pitchers Ache.  Essentially, it all came off the Wheeler.

Each and every single one of them would go down with injury.  Most of them went down with two or more.  As a result, much like Generation K, these five pitchers have never appeared in the same rotation.  Worse yet, in some sick cosmic twist of fate, last year would be the first year all five would start a game in the same season, and the end result was the worst ERA in team history.

Finally, this year was supposed to be the year.  Everyone was shut down at a some point last year to help them get ready for this year.  The team brought in Mickey Callaway, Dave Eiland, and a whole new medical staff.  It was all set up for them.

And then, the team signed Jason Vargas.

Yes, given their respective health issues, the Vargas signing made a lot of sense.  However, with him getting a two ear deal, it may just kill the dream because so long as Vargas has a rotation spot, we will not see the Five Aces pitch together in the same starting rotation. With Harvey’s impending free agency, this was the last chance, and it is going by the wayside.

Maybe it is for the best because as we saw in 2015, so long as we have three completely healthy, this team can go to the World Series.  That more than the Five Aces pitch in the same rotation is the goal.  Still, not seeing it happen once leaves you a bit melancholy.

At the end of this run for the Five Aces, we are ultimately going to be left with Vargas and Montero Where Did Our Five Aces Go?