The Mets looked on last night, hoping they’d get the start from David Peterson, the team sorely needed. They got it, and the offense backed him.
The Mets had to know there was little room for error as they settled into the first of four against the red hot Chicago Cubs at Citi Field.
Ditto with regards to their starting pitcher, David Peterson.
Typically this season, though, the Mets pushed all the right buttons, as David Peterson breezed through six innings, allowing only one hit that was subsequently erased on a double-play, another on a pick-off following a base-on-balls…
Pegged as the game of the week for the Mets, Peterson demonstrated command that recalled his excellence from last year, needing only 73 pitches (43 of which were strikes).
Mets: How is this a big deal?
It’s not as if the Mets are looking only at the tandem of Jacob deGrom, Marcus Stroman, and Taijaun Walker to thrust against whoever comes calling in the playoffs, a surefire trio that will draw the attention of everyone.
Instead, the focus is on the long and arduous regular season, where that fourth starter is a must, especially when the Mets fifth starter, Joey Lucchesi, is pitching in the big leagues with only two pitches when he should be in Syracuse refining and throwing his changeup twenty times a start.
Mets Acting GM Zack Scott could step in to rectify that with a trade adding a reliable starter in a trade before or at the July deadline, but for now, manager Luis Rojas and pitching coach Jeremy Heffner can only deal with what they have.
Peterson was aided by a Mets offense that gave him a 3-0 lead powered by a James McCann single scoring Dominic Smith, followed by a double to left-center by Jonathan Pillar that scored James McCann and Billy McKinney.
In the bottom of the fifth, Smith crushed a 433ft home run to give Peterson a four-run cushion that he held onto.
This is no small accomplishment for the Mets because, as Mets and are well aware, numerous outstanding efforts by Jacob deGrom (for one) have a history of being wasted.
Even so, Trevor May, who last pitched Sunday, surrendering two hits and an earned run, didn’t have much against the Cubs either, allowing the lead to shrink to 5-2 on back-to-back home runs by Anthony Rizzo and Patrick Wisdom.
The game then swung to a decision by manager Luis Rojas, who had Seth Lugo warming in the bullpen. Still, with Aaron Loup looking good, retiring all four hitters he faced with two strikeouts, Rojas stayed in the dugout as Loup got pinch-hitter, Javier Baez, to ground out in the eighth inning.
Mets: Diaz Closes It Out
There was little mystery about what was coming next as Rojas made the knee-jerk reaction, turning to his closer Edwin Diaz to pitch the ninth.
Diaz, who has been nothing short of remarkable, with twelve saves while striking out 34 batters in 25.2 innings, with only seven walks, is experiencing a turnaround season from a time when many wondered if his 57 saves in 2018 was an outlier season when he was with the Seattle Mariners.
Diaz quickly dispensed Wilson Contreras and Kris Byant on strikeouts, facing the top of the Cubs lineup.
Bringing the Citi Field crowd to its feet, Diaz capped off the night, striking out Anthony Rizzo, giving the Mets added momentum to an already astounding season.
But the story remains David Peterson, who gave himself and the Mets a much-needed lift tonight…
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