Over the past three seasons, Jenrry Mejia has been up and down the roller coaster with the Mets several times. The 22-year-old right-handed pitcher was rushed to the big leagues at the age of 20 in 2010 in an ill-advised attempt to bolster the team's bullpen. He appeared in thirty games out of the bullpen that year, mostly in low-leverage situations, before he was sent back to the minors to get back to working on his future as a starting pitcher. He wound up back with the Mets that September, and he got shelled in his first three big league starts.
Last year, Mejia made just five starts for Triple-A Buffalo before his season was ended by Tommy John surgery. When he returned to the mound this year, he was a starter, a reliever, and a starter again in the minors. His first two appearances with the Mets this September came out of the bullpen, but he got a start last week — which was disastrous — and another start against the Pirates on Monday night.
After all of that, Mejia finally had his first good start at baseball's highest level. While he was far from efficient, throwing 96 pitches in just five innings, Mejia struck out four in the outing and walked two. Of his 96 pitches, 62 were strikes, and he generated eight swinging strikes in the process. In the end, perhaps Mejia is destined for the bullpen, but heading into 2013, the Mets should give him every possible chance to become a successful starting pitcher. There's just no need to rush to a conclusion about Mejia's future role just yet.
The Mets gave plenty of support to Mejia, too, which certainly didn't hurt. David Wright walked to lead off the fourth inning, and Ike Davis hit his twenty-ninth home run of the year to put the Mets ahead by two. And in the fifth, the Mets had runners on first and second with two outs for Wright, who singled to bring home the third run of the game. Ike followed up with his second home run of the game — his thirtieth of the season — to give the Mets a nearly-bullpen-proof lead of six runs.
Terry Collins used six relief pitchers in the last four innings of the game: Manny Acosta, Justin Hampson, Jeurys Familia, Robert Carson, Bobby Parnell, and Ramon Ramirez. They generally looked good, and Ruben Tejada and Daniel Murphy each made a nifty play in the field in support of Acosta. Familia was charged with a run, largely because Fred Lewis turned an Andrew McCutchen single to left field into a triple, and Ramirez struggled a bit and allowed a run of his own in the ninth.
Big winners: Jenrry Mejia, +26.8% WPA, Ike Davis, +24.6% WPA
Big losers: Scott Hairston, -3.9% WPA
Teh aw3s0mest play: Ike's first home run, +19.3% WPA
Teh sux0rest play: Neil Walker's leadoff single in the second, -3.8% WPA
Total pitcher WPA: +29.6% WPA
Total batter WPA: +20.4% WPA
GWRBI!: David Wright