Mets Game Preview (4/12/21): 7:10 p.m. vs. Philadelphia Phillies (6-3)

The New York Mets and Philadelphia Phillies hope to play the first game of a four-game series at Citi Field if the weather holds up. Each team comes off of Sunday’s games riddled with controversy. The Mets wasted Marcus Stroman‘s start by forcing a game in the rain and the Phillies stole a win off a controversial call in the ninth inning against the Atlanta Braves.

The Mets split their two games against the Miami Marlins but should have taken both easily. Their offense has started slow out of the gates and they were lucky to even take the first game of the series. Jeff McNeil’s game-tying home run tied it in the ninth inning and Michael Conforto‘s elbow won it with an awkward hit by pitch. In game 2, the Mets were shutout and wasted Jacob deGrom’s 14-strikeout effort.

The Phillies are rolling on all cylinders to start their season. Their 6-3 record puts them in first place in the NL East but they lost two of three games to the Atlanta Braves over the weekend. J.T. Realmuto and Rhys Hoskins are the team’s leading hitters with .333 and .306 batting averages. Jose Alvarado, Hector Neris, and Connor Brogdon are the three anchors leading their bullpen. They have allowed just one run in 14.1 combined innings pitched.

Pitching Matchups

David Peterson looks to rebound from his first outing against the Phillies where he allowed six runs in four innings. It started ugly for Peterson as Alec Bohm (solo) and Rhys Hoskins (three-run) tagged him for home runs in the first inning. There is no doubt there will be an emphasis on keeping Hoskins in check this time out.

Chase Anderson makes his second start again the Mets and did a terrific job of battling the first time. He only pitched five innings and struck out three but held the offense just to one run. Anderson is notorious for allowing home runs but only allowed one to Dominic Smith on a ball that was at his shoulders.

Matchups To Lookout For

Chase Anderson vs. Michael Conforto: 3-for-15 (.200), 3 Home Runs, 2 Walks, 4 Strikeouts

David Peterson vs. Rhys Hoskins: 4-for-5 (.800), 2 Doubles, 2 Home Runs, Strikeout

Mets Cannot Recover From Peterson’s First Inning in 8-2 Loss to Phillies

Simeon Woods-Richardson

David Peterson‘s first inning against the Philadelphia Phillies symbolized the New York Mets issues during their opening series. Flat, rusty, and a step slow as the Phillies tagged Peterson for four runs to put the Mets in an early first-inning hole. Rhys Hoskins‘s solo home run and Alec Bohm‘s three-run homer gave them a 4-0 lead they never looked back from in their 8-2 victory.

Peterson bookended three shutout innings with ugly first and fifth innings. Hoskins got to Peterson again with a double in the fifth, and Bryce Harper‘s drag bunt gave the Phillies a first and third situation. Peterson left the game, and Jacob Barnes made his Mets debut in relief but gave the Mets little help. J.T. Realmuto swatted Barnes’s first pitch over the right field fence to put the game out of reach at 7-1.

Wasted Opportunities

The Mets offense made Phillies ace Aaron Nola worked extremely hard through his four innings of work. Nola worked around eight baserunners to hold the Mets to one run on 92 pitches. The ability to get runners on base but failure to score them was the story of their game. They recorded 11 hits but left 14 runners on base and went 1-for-12 with runners in scoring position. Combine all those factors, and you get their two-run effort. Michael Conforto struggled the most in his 0-for-5 day with two strikeouts and nine left on base.

The silver lining from the game is Joey Lucchesi‘s two innings to finish off the loss. Lucchesi struck out two and only allowed one hit as he tries to keep himself ready for a start next week. Jonathan Villar also finished a home run shy of the cycle.

A 1-2 start to year always stings, but a full 162 game season allows plenty of time to rebound from a rough start. The Mets return to Citi Field for their home opener, with Taijuan Walker making his Mets debut. They will face the Miami Marlins, who have not announced a starter yet due to the current injuries in their rotation. The first pitch from Queens is at 1:05 p.m.

Mets Game Preview (4/7/21): 4:05 p.m. @ Philadelphia Phillies (4-1)

New York Mets, David Peterson

The New York Mets look to take the rubber game of their opening series against the Philadelphia Phillies. After a lackluster performance in game one, the offense led the way with an eight-run performance in the second game. They will have their work cut out for themselves against Phillies ace Aaron Nola.

The Mets will be shorthanded while J.D. Davis rests his injured hand that was struck by a pitch in Tuesday’s game. Luis Guillorme will take his place at third base. Jonathan Villar makes his first start of the season as he bats sixth and plays second base, giving Jeff McNeil a day off. James McCann remains in the lineup for a day game after a night game instead of receiving the usual day off.

The Phillies turn back to their usual top of the order, with Andrew McCutchen and Rhys Hoskins batting first and second. Didi Gregorius and Adam Haseley are the lone left-handed hitters in the lineup against David Peterson. No one in their lineup has faced Peterson more than twice in their career.

Pitching Matchups

David Peterson makes his first start of the season as he looks to build on a strong rookie season. Peterson was solid in the spring with a 3.75 ERA in 12 innings pitched but only struck out three. In 2019, he had a double-digit strikeout game but also had outings with only one strikeout. The jury is still out on the type of pitcher Peterson is at the big league level.

Aaron Nola takes the mound for the Phillies was as good as advertised on Opening Day against the Atlanta Braves. He threw 6.2 innings, but Pablo Sandoval’s two-run pinch-hit home run put a damper on his stellar outing. Nola features a fastball in the 92-94 range and backs it up with a changeup and knee-buckling curveball. Like with most aces, the Mets need to get to him early before he settles in.

Matchups To Lookout For

Aaron Nola vs. Michael Conforto: 7-for-37 (.189), 3 Doubles, Home Run, 5 Walks, 14 Strikeouts

Aaron Nola vs. Brandon Nimmo: 4-for-21 (.190), 9 Walks, 9 Strikeouts

Canceling The Mets Opening Series Could Open Up The Starting Rotation

New York Mets, Jacob deGrom

The last 24 hours leading to Opening Day were a complete whirlwind for the New York Mets. At 11 p.m. on Wednesday, they announced the Francisco Lindor extension, which set the momentum going towards the following night’s game. 12 hours later, the disappointment of a postponed game quickly calmed down the positive vibes heading into the day.

The Mets knew there was at least one positive COVID case on Wednesday, but the announcement of two more on Thursday forced a postponement of game one. While the three positives do not affect the Mets roster, there could still be more lingering throughout the Nats clubhouse. The players in close contact also quarantine for a limited time. Even with a taxi squad, the Nats will need to make more roster moves to field a 26-man roster for their first game. They faced this same issue at the beginning of 2020 when Juan Soto missed time with a positive test.

Rotation Strength

For the Mets, we still know that Jacob deGrom will pitch the first game of the season, no matter when they play. At this point, it seems that they will open their season on Monday, April 5, in Philadelphia against the Phillies. It still allows Luis Rojas to set his 4-man rotation as he planned before the postponements. deGrom will be followed by Marcus Stroman, David Peterson, and Taijuan Walker before their off-day on Friday.

The Mets ace can return to the mound Saturday, and they can go all the way to April 14 without using a fifth starter. This would be one of two games in April where the Mets would need a fifth starter. After Joey Lucchesi‘s start on the 14th, they have the following two Mondays off. This allows deGrom to get his usual rest and sneak in an extra start out of it. The Mets also get the final Thursday in April off, which allows them to get back to the 4-man rotation for another week.

Not only does this help the current roster, but it helps the Mets on the shelf. Carlos Carrasco‘s absence will not feel as Lucchesi only has two April starts. The same could be said for Seth Lugo as they get an extra arm in the bullpen when Lucchesi goes more than his regular rest without making a start. Of course, we all want the Mets season to get started, but this is the best way to bring light to a dark situation.

New York Mets: Peterson Pitches Well, Bullpen Not So Much in 7-3 Loss

New York Mets, David Peterson

The New York Mets have some questions behind their quartet of top-tier relievers, and Robert Gsellman and Stephen Tarpley continued to heighten the need for reliable middle relievers. After a scoreless seventh inning, the Washington Nationals roughed up Gsellman in the eighth inning.

Josh Bell‘s majestic opposite solo home run tied the game at three and almost cleared the scoreboard. Gerardo Parra put the Nats in the lead with an RBI single giving them a 4-3 lead. They added a two-run homer from Luis Garcia and RBI single from Adrian Sanchez to complete the 7-3 victory.

David Peterson was in line for the win before the blown save from Gsellman. Peterson pitched six solid innings with four hits and two runs allowed. The Nats did a bulk of their damage during the fourth inning, with three hits and two runs in their top half. Singles from Josh Harrison and Hernan Perez were the only damage against the slender lefty. Peterson only struck out two but was very effective in the outing. He did not allow a hit for the first half of his start.

Manager Luis Rojas hopes to have a second lefty in the bullpen, but Tarpley squandered one of his final opportunities to make the roster. Tarpley allowed four hits and three runs, including the Garcia homer, and only retired one batter. Due to their rough outings, Gsellman and Tarpley made their route to the Opening Day roster bumpier. Tylor Megill came in and prevented more runs from being charged to Tarpley’s ledger in the ninth.

The Mets offense recorded 12 hits but only pushed 3 runs across. James McCann‘s RBI single provided the first run during the second inning. The other two runs came in the sixth when Dominic Smith lucked into an RBI triple on a dribbler that Bell misplayed at first base and J.D. Davis lined an RBI single over a drawn-in infield. McCann and Francisco Lindor were the two Mets with multiple hits on the night.

On Saturday, the Mets play another home game when the Houston Astros visit Clover Park. Bryan Abreu (1-0, 3.68 ERA) takes the mound against opener Jacob Barnes (0-1, 5.40 ERA). Barnes opens up for Joey Lucchesi for the 1:10 p.m. ET start on SNY.

 

Battle for the New York Mets’ fifth starter job is not over

New York Mets, David Peterson

The New York Mets boast enviable pitching depth after going to the market and acquiring Taijuan Walker, one of the few reliable starters available, a few weeks ago. The popular belief is that the first four members of the rotation are set, with Jacob deGrom, Marcus Stroman, Carlos Carrasco (provided he can make it in time as he tries to shake off some elbow soreness) and Walker expected to take the ball in the team’s first four games.

The fifth spot of the Mets’ rotation, however, is still up for grabs. David Peterson had a so-so outing on Sunday, in which he allowed three runs on five hits in four innings, and coupled with Jordan Yamamoto’s impressive spring (1.08 ERA in three outings), it makes the race even more interesting. Joey Lucchesi (two shutout innings) is fighting, too.

“There’s plenty to take away from today,” Peterson told reporters over Zoom. “Plenty to work on going forward and looking forward to the next start.”

“Some hard hit balls against him, On and off with his command,” New York Mets’ manager Luis Rojas said after the game. “But he’s working on stuff, you could see that he got some swing and misses on his changeup, from his slider, the fastball velocity is the one that we like seeing. … Stuff is there, I thought location wise was where he just didn’t execute at times.”

Peterson impressed for the Mets’ last season

The left-hander raised a few eyebrows last season, as he put a 3.44 ERA and 40 strikeouts in 49.2 innings as a rookie.

Yamamoto was impressive on Saturday, allowing a run in 3 1/3 innings against the Washington Nationals.

“I’m just having conviction,” Yamamoto said. “That’s the main thing that we were working on that we’ve been talking about, just conviction with all my pitches, being able to throw it in any count, just getting ahead of hitters and making them get in swing mode. Everything and anything that makes me who I am is what I did tonight.”

Who will win the battle for a spot within the Mets’ rotation?

Guillorme’s 22-Pitch Walk Highlights Mets 7-5 Win Over Cardinals

The New York Mets had plenty of fun during their 7-5 win over the St. Louis Cardinals. Luis Guillorme was responsible for one of the greatest at-bats in spring training history. After falling behind 0-2, Guillorme battled 20 more pitches to draw a walk off flamethrowing Jordan Hicks. His walk was the epitome of the Mets’ success at the plate as it started a five-run fifth inning.

Michael Conforto led the way with a 3-for-3 game and two RBIs. One of his RBI singles came in the first, along with another from Dominic Smith. After Guillorme’s epic walk in the fifth, it immediately spelled the end for Hicks. Garrett Williams came in and loaded the bases after drilling Caleb Joseph and Brandon Nimmo.

Francisco Lindor walked to drive in the first run, then Conforto recorded his second RBI single to tie the game at four. Pete Alonso‘s two-run single put the Mets ahead 6-4 and J.D. Davis grounded into a double play for the final run of the inning. The entire inning was a preview of how dangerous the Mets offense can be.

David Peterson started for the Mets and had what he would consider an average start. He allowed two first inning on a Jose Rondon single but settled in for the final three innings. Rondon also got to him again for a sacrifice fly in the third inning. Peterson allowed three runs and five hits over his four-inning outing.

Corey Oswalt impressed out of the bullpen and struck out five of the six batters he faced. It was his first outing of the spring as he tries to work himself back on to the 40-man roster. Arodys Vizcaino also hurled a scoreless inning in his first appearance of the spring.

The Mets get Monday off before they face the Houston Astros again. Jacob deGrom (1-0, 0.00) gets the opportunity to torture their hitters again, but this time it will be in Port St. Lucie. The first pitch from Clover Park is at 1:10 p.m. ET.

Alonso’s Grand Slam Propels New York Mets to an 8-4 Victory

New York Mets, Luis Rojas

For the second straight game, the New York Mets came out swinging and had the pitching to back it up. They used three home runs and seven two-out RBIs to defeat the Washington Nationals 8-4.

Brandon Nimmo got the Mets started early with a leadoff home run to give them a quick 1-0 lead against Jackson Rutledge. After three quiet innings, the fifth was loaded with action. Dellin Betances made his Spring debut and became the only reliever to allow runs.

After getting the first two outs of the inning, Betances issued two walks, and an RBI double on a fly ball that left fielder Drew Ferguson misplayed. Ryan Zimmerman capped off the inning with a three-run homer, giving the Nats a 4-1 lead. The only positive of his outing is his velocity in the 92-93 range, which is far better than last year’s spring training.

In the bottom half of the fifth, Pete Alonso‘s grand slam put the Mets back and forth 5-4. It was a classic Alonso homer as he drove it onto the right-center field hill. Alonso did not homer in 13 spring training games in 2020 and already looks more relaxed at the plate. Jake Hager supplied the third homer on the day with a solo shot in the seventh.

Pitching Success

David Peterson was solid in his first start of the spring as he tries to earn a spot in the starting rotation. In two innings, he allowed just one hit, a hit batter and worked out of a second and third jam in the first inning. Peterson finished off his start with a 1-2-3 inning in the second.

After Peterson left the game, the Mets used many relievers who are expected to make the Opening Day roster. Jeurys Familia struggled with his command and needed 31 pitches to get through his scoreless inning. Aaron Loup was the complete opposite, needing just 11 pitches to work through a scoreless fourth inning.

Trevor May, Robert Gsellman, Stephen Tarpley, and Sean Reid-Foley all put up goose eggs in their respective innings. Mets pitchers collectively only recorded two strikeouts on the day. The Mets have a day off on Friday and send Jacob deGrom to the mound on Saturday night against the Houston Astros. Due to MLB’s incompetence, the game will not be televised.

New York Mets: David Peterson Ready For Starting Pitching Competition

New York Mets, David Peterson

David Peterson was the second-best starting pitcher for the 2020 New York Mets, but he will need to earn his spot in the 2021 rotation. The additions of Carlos Carrasco, Taijuan Walker, and a returning Marcus Stroman pushes Peterson to the fifth spot.

He will compete with fellow left-hander Joey Lucchesi and former Miami Marlin Jordan Yamamoto. Peterson may deserve the fifth starter job, but he welcomes the challenge from Manager Luis Rojas.

“I want to come in here and do my thing and let the rest take care of itself,” Peterson said during Saturday’s Zoom call. “However I can help the team win, that’s what I’m here to do.” Spoken like a true competitor, Peterson does not want something handed to him when he still has more to prove.

Peterson had a 3.44 ERA in 10 games (9 starts) last season, which was far more productive than his competition. Despite the small sample size success, the Mets have seen the same story before. In 2016, Robert Gsellman and Seth Lugo burst on the scene when the Mets needed pitching. Both had ERAs under 3.00, but Gsellman regressed to 5.03 while Lugo stayed solid at 3.61 over the next four seasons.

Innings Limit

No matter how well Peterson pitches, he may end up starting the season in the bullpen. Peterson has never thrown more than 128 innings in a minor league season, and the Mets aim to limit his innings jump. Starting his season as a reliever will allow the Mets to do so without shutting him down towards September and October.

The Mets could also use a six-man rotation when Noah Syndergaard returns. They’ll kill two birds with one stone by conserving innings for both Syndergaard and Peterson. It will also allow Peterson to keep the same role for the entire season and presumably move to the bullpen once the postseason starts. Whether in the rotation or bullpen, Peterson will have a huge role on the 2021 roster. He will be one of two left-handed pitchers and the only one who can pitch multiple innings.

New York Mets: Weighing the Possibility of a Six-Man Rotation

New York Mets, Luis Rojas

Depth was the top priority during the New York Mets offseason, and it shows the most with their rotation options. With the new depth, they consider using six starting pitchers with Taijuan Walker joining the rotation.

We know the top three starters are Jacob deGrom, Carlos Carrasco, and Marcus Stroman, with Walker as the fourth. David Peterson has the upper hand on Joey Lucchesi and Jordan Yamamoto going into camp, but all three are fighting for the last rotation spot.

The Mets might look to conserve Peterson’s innings because he only has two seasons over 100 in the minors with a career-high of 128. Around baseball, teams are considering the extra starter because of the shortened 2020 season. Pitchers will get extra rest without making shorter starts, and it lessens the innings jump from last season.

All five Mets starters were healthy in 2020 and are amongst the fittest in the sport. Despite the great physiques, the Mets expect to play deep into October. A long playoff run requires pitchers to log 20-40 high-leverage innings. Pitchers like Chris Sale, Nathan Eovaldi, and Max Scherzer saw these innings’ taxing effect the following year. If Lucchesi or Yamamoto pitches well in spring training, the Mets should not be afraid to tack on another starter.

Syndergaard’s Return 

If the Mets have a six-man rotation to being the season, Syndergaard would slide right in and conserve innings for the rest of the rotation. With a five-man rotation, he would tack on and potentially save the Mets from holding Peterson back in September. The one drawback is the one less arm in the bullpen, but a strong rotation solves any bullpen issues.

In October, the Mets would love a rotation of deGrom, Carrasco, Stroman, and Syndergaard. Allowing Syndergaard to save his innings early in the season will allow him to avoid injury and stay fresh for a playoff run.

Despite missing out on an expensive free agent, the Mets finally have starting pitching depth with respectable MLB track records. This accolade alone deserves an A grade for the offseason.