NEW YORK (WFAN) — Sure, this week’s Mets-Nationals series is big, but how big?

SNY’s Ron Darling said Tuesday he believes it marks the de facto start to the season for both teams.

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“I didn’t think really the season started until tonight because they both played a lot of games against Atlanta, against other teams that are not very good,” the former Met told WFAN’s Mike Francesa. “I think they’re both going to be teams that play about .500 against the real good teams — and I’m talking about Pittsburgh and the Cubs and others — so it’s going to come down to them playing each other.”

Darling also discussed the concerns about some of the Mets’ starting pitchers.

Of Matt Harvey: “What I see is what happens to almost all pitchers. Matt Harvey has dominated hitters since he was probably 10 years old, and he’s always probably had that beautiful slider since he was a freshman or sophomore in high school. And he just doesn’t have the feel for it so far. The frustrating part comes, I think … when these guys have had so much success that when things don’t happen for them right away, frustration sets in and the start squeezing the ball, and that’s just the opposite thing you’re supposed to do. I just think Matt needs to relax. He’s not that far off.”

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On Jacob deGrom: “I think the great thing about Jacob, of all the pitchers, is when he doesn’t have his A game, he can still win, probably it’s from his age and maturity. Maybe that’s part of it. So I’m not really concerned, but if you tell me he’s going to pitch all year at 91, 92, 93 (mph) after throwing 96 and 97, I’d be not concerned, but you’re going to go from a guy who dominates lineups to a guy who is getting outs and trying to get through a lineup. So those are two different things, and I think all of us expected that the strength of this team was going to be hitting home runs and great strarting pitching.”

On Steven Matz: “He concerns me in this way: He’s a young kid that’s gone through a lot of injuries early in his career, and I think what happens in this professional game at this level is you’re going to go through some days that you just don’t feel right. And I think for the young pitcher in today’s game, they immediately have to see the trainer, they’ve got to get an MRI.”


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