Mets ace Jacob deGrom hasn't looked like himself over his last three starts, and Noah Syndergaard has looked off pretty much all season.
While the level of concern (whether the Mets should be concerned at all is debatable) is growing regarding deGrom and Syndergaard, their struggles seem to be part of a larger trend throughout baseball this season where ace-level pitchers are not performing up to standards.
Is it the cold weather? Is it the baseballs? Is it something else?
No matter what, the numbers don't lie. Here's a look at eight expected aces who have an ERA above 4.00 with roughly a month gone in the 2019 season:
Noah Syndergaard, Mets: 6.35
Syndergaard isn't missing as many bats as he usually does, but his FIP (fielding independent pitching) is 3.72 -- more than two and a half runs lower than his ERA. That suggests he has been the benefit of lots of bad luck and that a positive regression to the mean is coming.
Chris Sale, Red Sox: 6.30
Sale's fastball velocity has been down, but it hasn't dropped so much that he should be getting hit around as he has been so far this season. 21.2 percent of the fly balls Sale has allowed have left the ballpark.
Carlos Carrasco, Indians: 5.86
Like Syndergaard, Carrasco's FIP (2.92) suggests that he's due for a positive regression to the mean.
Corey Kluber, Indians: 5.81
A look at Kluber's numbers shows that he's walking 4.35 batters per nine innings -- almost triple what his rate was in 2017 and 2018. Could that be due to a ball that's harder to grip?
Aaron Nola, Phillies: 5.68
A season after finishing third in the Cy Young voting, Nola has allowed seven homers in 31.2 innings after allowing 17 homers in 212.1 innings in 2018.
Jacob deGrom, Mets: 4.85
After dominating during his first two starts, deGrom has looked lost over his last three. All three of those starts came during cold night games where there were rain delays.
Gerrit Cole, Astros: 4.71
Cole is striking out a ridiculously good 13.38 batters per nine and his FIP (3.30) suggests he has been unlucky. But like many pitchers this year, the home run rate against Cole has spiked -- it's at 1.49 per nine innings after being 0.85 in 2018.
Madison Bumgarner, Giants: 4.30
Bumgarner's strikeout rate has improved from last season and his walk rate is way down. But like nearly everyone else, his home run rate is up -- and would be the worst since his rookie season in 2009.
Max Scherzer, Nationals: 4.12
Scherzer's 2.25 FIP means he should be lumped in with Syndergaard and Cole as pitchers who should see their ERA drop soon. As far as Scherzer's home run per fly ball rate? Surprise: it's the worst of his career.