Eric Karros: Mets can take a big step forward if pitching rotation stays healthy

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Eric Karros and Dontrelle Willis join Kevin Burkhardt to discuss the Mets' hot start and whether they can maintain it.

- This Mets team-- 8 and 1 is pretty good, EK. You come up with a sweep of the Nationals, where they never sweep there. Are you buying? You buying the Mets right now? They have staying power?

- Yeah, I think they're staying power. If there's any team that is susceptible to health-- which everybody is-- I think they're the most susceptible to it. Obviously, the pitching staff-- you've got a lot of injury history there. And then, you know, the age of their everyday guys. You know, you have some guys that are over 30 years old.

So like I said, every team deals with that. But those guys can stay healthy with that pitching staff. You know, this can be the quickest turn around, as far as what they had last year to this year. And that's why the hiring of Callaway as manager-- brilliant. Because that is a pitching coach. And that's what this team is going to be based off of.

- For me, Céspedes has to stay healthy the majority of the year. Every year, he seems to have an injury. Misses a ton of games.

Him in that lineup, it makes that lineup look like a post-season type team. And it takes the power pressure off everybody else. Everyone else can pick their spots-- like Jay Bruce and company. And they can do what they can. But they keep him a the lineup. To me, as a starting pitcher-- that's the guy I'm circling. He cannot beat me, and I have to pitch around him.

But once he goes down, you see the offense go down. And it puts more pressure on the pitching staff. And it makes them have to pitch perfect. And they start to make mistakes. So it's a domino effect. But he's the main guy in that lineup that needs to stay healthy.

- To your point, sorry, he missed 73 games last year. You got to have him.

- I mean, there's no right-handed power. I mean, he goes out, you're cooked. I mean, you could say Frazier. But you know, at least from the left-handed side, you've got Bruce. You've got Conforto. You've got González. You've got some threat. But if--

- They might face the D-Train, though. They might have to [INAUDIBLE] left side to shut the lefties down.

- That's the thing. You lose Céspedes, it's no bueno.

- Yeah.

- Hey, how about the way-- you talked about Callaway, the pitching coach. How about the way he's handling these guys? Syndergaard-- Look, he could throw 150 pitches and be fine. 90 pitches. Could have probably gone farther. He was like, oh, come on out, son. We'll take what you did. You like that?

- I do. And that's why I say that that hiring-- you know, for the Mets, where they were last year-- if they could stay healthy with their pitching staff, they could-- they could turn it around in one year. And that's why bringing Callaway from the Indians over. He knows pitchers.

And he's going to err on the side of the pitchers-- the health of the pitchers. You know, sometimes you get guys in there that, they aren't former pitching coaches. Or they're every day guys, and they're like, why can't the guy warm up. Let's just get him loose. Or, what's wrong? Just throw. Back when I played-- he's very cognizant of that health down there.

KEVIN BURKHARDT: All right. So meanwhile, with the Mets flying high, the Nationals just got swept.