Mets escape a bullpen meltdown as David Peterson has become a good problem for the Mets
The Mets blew a 5-1 lead late, but Starling Marte's hustle in the 10th saved the Mets
What’s Up with the Mets? ⚾️
The Mets hung on to defeat the Diamondbacks 6-5 in extra innings on Friday night (box)
The Mets jumped out to a 5-1 lead thanks to more stellar work from David Peterson on the mound, but Chasen Shreve, Trevor May, and Edwin Díaz combined to allow four runs in innings 7-9, allowing Arizona to tie the score at 5-5
Starling Marte drove in the go-ahead run in the tenth thanks to his speed and hustle, and Seth Lugo made it stand up to secure the victory
James McCann hit his first home run of the year - a two-run homer in the seventh inning
Pete Alonso drove in two runs - one on a pop fly single behind first in the fourth and on a ground out to the right side in the sixth inning - he now has 16 RBI
Three of the five runs the Mets scored were produced with two outs - the Mets are hitting .345 with two outs and runners in scoring position so far this season
Mets starting pitching has a 2.07 ERA over the first 15 games of the season
Pete Alonso recorded two more RBI on Friday - he now has a league-high 16 RBI
In three appearances this season, David Peterson has allowed one run over 14 innings.
Brandon Nimmo has reached base in each of the last seven games he has started and has five multi-hit games in the 11 games he has played in 2022
Today’s Game 🗓
Match-up: Mets (11-4) vs. Diamondbacks (5-9)
Where: Chase Field - Phoenix, Arizona
Starters: Trevor Williams (0-1, 0.00 ERA) vs. Humberto Castellanos (0-0, 2.57 ERA)
When: 8:10 PM EDT
David Peterson has emerged as a good problem for the Mets 📝
The Mets certainly endured a rollercoaster evening in the desert last night, at one point cruising with a 5-1 lead thanks to James McCann’s first home run of the season. But the wheels nearly fell of the wagon in the eighth and ninth innings thanks to a shaky outing from the bullpen.
But all’s well that ended well for the Mets, thanks to great hustle from Starling Marte to beat out an infield single in the tenth to plate the go-ahead run.
Instead of focusing on that bullpen meltdown, or a bad problem for the Mets, I want to discuss what has become a very good problem for the Mets.
That is David Peterson.
When it appeared Jacob deGrom was going to make the opening day start and before Taijuan Walker hit a bumpy road with his knee and shoulder, Peterson didn’t have a path to the big league roster. Even when deGrom went down with his shoulder injury, Peterson merely served as an on-looker from the taxi squad before finally being optioned back to Syracuse on April 7.
But then Edwin Díaz went on the bereavement list, affording Peterson another chance on the roster. Then in Philadelphia early last week, Walker exited with a shoulder injury, Peterson entered and he hasn’t looked back.
Since Peterson replaced Walker in that April 11 game, he has allowed just one earned run in 14 innings pitched, allowing just 14 baserunners over three appearances while holding opponents to a .188 average during that span. What’s more, Peterson has held the opposition to 2-for-10 with runners in scoring position.
Peterson is back to being stingy with runners on, something he was successful at as a starter in the pandemic-shortened 2020 season (the opposition was 7-for-41 with RISP against Peterson that year).
He has found the feel of his slider/change-up combination again that led to his success in 2020. Last night in particular, that pitch combination accounted for 48 percent of the pitches he threw over 5 2/3 innings with five swings-and-misses. His change-up has become particularly effective against right-handed hitters with good movement down and away, akin to former Met Johan Santana’s change-up. He then uses his slider which has effective movement down and away to the left-handed hitters, making for a dynamic combination of off-speed which induces a ton of ground balls.
What’s more, Peterson has improved his tempo and efficiency on the mound. He’s not going to be a big strikeout arm in the end, but this slider/change-up combination is producing weak, early-count contact thanks to their elite movement, his slider in particular.
Peterson has created a good problem for the Mets, both in the short and long-term, as he is earning his keep thanks to his early season success. Yes, his two starts have come against the second-division Diamondbacks and he will face a bigger challenge on Wednesday in St. Louis. But with Taijuan Walker nearing his return from the injured list and Peterson’s rise to prominence, Peterson has at least earned to be a part of the starting pitching conversation, especially with uncertainty surrounding Walker’s health and stamina in the near-term. That Peterson is a left-handed pitcher should help his case, and perhaps Buck Showalter can use Peterson to piggyback Walker as Walker continues to build up his stamina.
But if Peterson continues to perform like this, and display the poise and presence which created so much promise and buzz in 2020, then Peterson is going to make the end-game difficult for Showalter and the Mets.
Good problems are never a bad thing for a player or a team.
Down on the Farm 🌾
Triple-A: Daniel Palka continued his strong start for Syracuse, blasting his fifth home run of the year and Carlos Cortes drove in five runs as Syracuse routed Worcester for their fourth straight win
Double-A: Cooler heads prevailed between Binghamton and Portland on Friday after a huge brawl broke out between the two teams on Thursday. Johneshwy Fargas scored the only two runs for the Rumble Ponies in their 3-2 loss to the Sea Dogs
High-A: JT Schwartz reached base three times and Rowdey Jordan had four hits and three RBI in Brooklyn’s 6-4 win over Hudson Valley
Low-A: Mets outfield prospect Alex Ramirez reached base twice and Justin Guerrero drove in two runs but the St. Lucie Mets didn’t muster much offense in their 4-3 loss to Jupiter
Around the League 🚩
Mookie Betts hit his first two home runs of the year in the Dodgers 6-1 over the Padres
The Reds extended their early season losing streak to ten games with a 4-2 loss to the Cardinals
Aaron Judge homered twice in the Yankees 4-1 win over the Guardians
Former big leaguer Matt Adams is joining the Kansas City Monarchs of the American Association (Independent ball)
The Yankees and Padres discussed a trade scenario involving Joey Gallo in the off-season (Heyman)