For all of Mike Pelfrey's flaws, the New York Mets are having some serious trouble replacing him in the rotation.
A day after Pelfrey underwent Tommy John surgery, knocking him out for the rest of the season, rotation replacement Chris Schwinden served up five runs over four innings of an 8-1 loss to the Houston Astros. It was the second consecutive poor outing for Schwinden, who submitted an almost identical line in his first start against the Colorado Rockies. Schwinden has now allowed a total of four home runs in eight innings.
After the Mets were swept by the Astros in Houston, manager Terry Collins was noncommittal when asked about Schwinden's future in the rotation.
"I'm not committed to anything," Collins said. "There's change in this game."
The main issue for the Mets is a lack of internal options. Right-hander Chris Young, who is rehabbing from right shoulder surgery, threw a simulated game Monday but is not yet ready to begin a minor league rehab assignment. Team officials have said not to expect Young until late May at the earliest.
In the minor leagues, one obvious replacement is Jeremy Hefner, who impressed the Mets with three innings of relief last month. He has been thriving in Class AAA Buffalo's rotation. However, Schwinden was also succeeding at that level prior to his promotion, meaning the Mets cannot be certain that Hefner will do any better in New York.
Either way, there appear to be no easy answers for a team currently lacking in quality starting pitching depth.