It was a match-up between lefty starters drafted in the first round of the 2017 draft, and while David Peterson was drafted seven picks below Trevor Rogers, he came out on top today. The Mets’ lefty held the Marlins off the board, while the offense scrapped together six runs over the course of the day to give themselves a 6-0 victory to win the series against their division rivals.
It’s been a rough stretch for Peterson after a promising start to the season, as the difficulties that have plagued him throughout his career—namely, his ability to command pitches and get ahead of batters—have prevented him from pitching deep into games and keeping the opposing teams off the board. Tylor Megill going back to the injured list insured that the Mets would still need Peterson’s presence for the time being, but Max Scherzer’s impending return means that he will have to demonstrate some of the value he showed in the beginning of the year if he wants to continue having an important role on this team. Alas, as he has been doing consistently in recent times, Peterson did allow a number of baserunners over the course of the day—through his 5.1 innings of work, he gave up six hits and two walks while also hitting a batter—and once more struggled to throw first-pitch strikes. However, we also saw Peterson do what he’s done in his better outings, which is bend without breaking. He was consistently able to get himself out of trouble, such as in the second and third innings when he let the first two batters of the inning reach base and subsequently retired the next three batters to end the threat before it began. He also recorded a season-high seven strikeouts to help keep the Marlins from making anything happen. While there are still things he needs to work on, his performance today was overall an encouraging one.
Given the numerous threats that Peterson faced throughout the game, it would have done wonders for the stress levels of Mets fans if the offense could have put up a crooked number to give him some more breathing room. They did not quite oblige us in that regard, as the Mets struggled to get the kinds of clutch hits that would have put the game away early on. However, they did do a strong job at chipping in a run here and there, even though the big hit eluded them. They came close to wasting a bases-loaded, nobody out opportunity in the first inning, however, as Pete Alonso and J.D. Davis both struck out to forego the opportunity for a big hit—but they did not come away completely empty-handed, as a one-out walk by Mark Canha was able to bring home one run.
They scored two more runs in the fourth inning, as a walk to Davis and a double to Jeff McNeil put runners on second and third with one out, and Eduardo Escobar brought home the first run with a sac fly that also advanced McNeil to third. That proved to be important, as Trevor Rogers threw a wild pitch that scored the second run of the inning. However, McNeil came up slightly lame after sprinting to score the run, and Luis Guillorme would replace him at second base in the top of the fifth. The Mets later said that he left the game due to right hamstring tightness, and while it remains to be seen just how severe that injury will prove to be, it’s possible that the run may have been a costly one.
The Mets once again had an opportunity to put the game away in the bottom of the fifth, as Brandon Nimmo and Starling Marte both singled to leadoff the inning. They once again failed to put up a crooked number, but did manage to add to their lead. Francisco Lindor hit a sharp lineout to center that advanced Nimmo to third, and then Alonso hit a sacrifice fly of his own to score that run to make it 4-0. Things would be relatively quiet for the Mets’ bats until the eighth inning, when they scored their final insurance runs against Tommy Nance. With one out, Davis was plunked in the hand by a pitch (the same hand that caused him problems last season), and while it looked painful, he was able to stay in the game. Guillorme followed with a single up the middle, and they both then advanced on a wild pitch. Escobar then got the clutch hit that the Mets had been struggling all day to get, singling to center field to score the team’s final two runs (which also broke a long 0-for-23 hitless streak for Escobar).
As for the pitching, the bullpen handled its business after Peterson was done after five and a third. Adam Ottavino came on with runners on first and second with one out and was able to induce a double play ball to save Peterson’s ERA, and he then tossed a perfect seventh inning. Drew Smith handled the eighth and gave up a single but nothing else. And then the extra runs the Mets scored in the eighth allowed the Mets to preserve Edwin Díaz and instead go with Yoan López, who walked a pair but retired the final batters to preserve yet another shutout victory for the Mets, who are once again twenty-one games over .500.
SB Nation GameThreads
Win Probability Added
Big Mets winner: David Peterson, +21.9% WPA
Big Mets loser: Pete Alonso, -7.1 WPA
Mets pitchers: +32.1% WPA
Mets hitters: +17.9% WPA
Teh aw3s0mest play: Mark Canha bases-loaded walk in the first, +9.1% WPA
Teh sux0rest play: Jazz Chisholm hit-by-pitch in the third, -7.0% WPA