It had been one week to the day since David Peterson last took the mound, thanks to a couple of rain outs and some necessary rotation reshuffling that followed. On that afternoon at Citizens Bank Park, Peterson had an awful first inning that sunk his club. Looking to get back on track, he put together one of the best starts of his major league career to help the Mets pick up a 5-1 victory and stretch their winning streak to three games.
From the get-go, it was clear this wouldn’t be the same Peterson that the Mets saw last week. He needed just 15 pitches to get through the first inning, which included strikeouts of Rhys Hoskins and Bryce Harper, a considerable improvement from the 38-pitch slog in the first inning last Wednesday. His fastball routinely touched 94mph while hitting a high of 95mph, and his slider was on point, both of which helped him match a career high with ten strikeouts.
Former Met Zack Wheeler, on the other hand, was not effective in the first inning. In honor of pitching in front of Mets fans for the first time in a rival uniform, he put forth a frustrating performance that many fans had become all too accustomed to watching over the years from him. It took him 29 pitches to get through the first, giving up singles to Brandon Nimmo, Francisco Lindor, and Dominic Smith to begin the game, which put his team in the hole immediately. He recovered to get Pete Alonso to hit into a double play, but gave the Mets their second run. After a Jeff McNeil single and a Michael Conforto walk, he retired James McCann to end the frame.
To his credit, Wheeler settled down, but he was no match for Peterson, who outdueled him. The lefty worked around a Smith error in left field to toss a scoreless second, and retired ten straight until Jean Segura broke through with a solo home run with one out in the fifth to end the no-hit bid and the shutout. He got the next two batters, and worked around a Hoskins single in the sixth to finish off his evening. In all, he gave up just two hits while not walking a single batter. With the Mets completing two turns through the rotation, the combination of Peterson, Jacob deGrom, Marcus Stroman, and Taijuan Walker have posted a sparkling 2.34 ERA.
The Mets scattered singles from Nimmo in the second, McCann in the fourth, and Smith in the fifth, but failed to get much more going. Their blew a golden opportunity to tack on insurance in the sixth, as McNeil led off with a single and McCann hit a one-out, bloop single into right that eluded both Segura and Harper’s gloves to put runners on the corner. Luis Guillorme struck out, and pinch hitter Jonathan Villar grounded out to end the threat.
With Peterson out of the game, Luis Rojas entrusted Jeurys Familia to navigate the seventh inning. He issued a leadoff walk to J.T. Realmuto, and an Alec Bolm ground out moved him over to second. The pesky Segura then reached on an infield single to put runners on the corners, at which point Rojas made the move to bring in the lefty Aaron Loup, who had not pitched since the team’s opening game on April 5. The move paid off, as he got Didi Gregorius to ground the inning-ending double play. Loup stuck around for the eighth and retired the side in order rather effortlessly.
Joe Girardi chose to stick with Wheeler to start the seventh with the right-hander at 99 pitches. Wheeler struck out Nimmo to begin the frame, but Lindor and Smith hit back-to-back singles to chase him from the game. Sam Coonrod entered and immediately allowed a sacrifice fly to Alonso to give the Mets a much-needed insurance run. The Mets put the game away in the bottom of the eighth, as McCann launched a two-run home run for his first long ball as a Met. Not wanting to mess around, Rojas turned to closer Edwin Díaz in the ninth, and he shut the Phillies down to secure the victory.
On the offensive side of things, it was a big night for the top of the team’s batting order. Nimmo, Lindor, and Smith combined to go 8-for-14. Nimmo, who went 3-for-5, upped his OPS to 1.155 on the season, which leads the club. He also has reached base at least two times in each of his first eight games, as he chases David Wright’s club record of ten straight games to start the season. Meanwhile, Lindor reached based three times, and Smith contributed three more hits. McCann had his best offensive showing for his new club, as he picked up three hits in his four at-bats.
The Mets will go for the sweep—weather permitting—tomorrow at 12:10pm, with deGrom on the mound against Zach Eflin. Given the current forecast, it’s highly likely that the game is washed out, but meteorologists have been wrong before, so who knows. If the club doesn’t get tomorrow’s game in, they face a potentially snowy night in Denver on Friday and a frigid evening on Saturday, so the weather will once again present problems right as the club is starting to build some momentum. One thing is certain: The next time the Mets take the field, they will be led by the best pitcher in Major League Baseball.
SB Nation GameThreads
Win Probability Added
Big Mets winner: Aaron Loup, 29.5% WPA
Big Mets loser: Jeurys Familia, -13.8% WPA
Mets pitchers: 38.5% WPA
Mets hitters: 11.5% WPA
Teh aw3s0mest play: Francisco Lindor first inning single, 9.5% WPA
Teh sux0rest play: Jean Segura fifth inning home run, -11.5% WPA