Mets: On Why Tonight Is The Most Important Game Of The Week

Mets David Peterson a keeper for 2021 (NY Daily News)

The Mets play the red hot Cubbies four times this week, but the most important game for the team is one played tonight. And here’s why.

The Mets have one of the best one-two-three punches in baseball right now in Jacob deGrom, Marcus Stroman, and Taijuan Walker.

But after that, manager Luis Rojas has few if any choices to fill out the rotation. Filling that void, Rojas has turned to Joey Lucchesi and David Peterson.

With only two pitches to work with while he works on developing a changeup, Luchessi is predictably taking his lumps, especially when he hits a second turn through the lineup.

Except for sheer need, Lucchesi should be working at Triple-A Syracuse, putting the final touches on his repertoire, although he pitched in five quality innings yesterday against the Padres.

Mets Joey Lucchesi looking for consistency (
Mets Joey Lucchesi looking for consistency (

David Peterson, however, is another story because unless last year was an outlier, he should be improving and not declining.

Arguably, the Mets’ best starter after deGrom in the shortened 2020 season, Peterson came out of nowhere to win six of his eight decisions while pitching to a respectable 3.44 ERA over 12 starts.

An enigma for the Mets this year, Peterson has lost five of his six decisions in eleven starts with an ERA that has ballooned to 6.89.

More alarming, though, are his last two starts against the Diamondbacks and Orioles, not necessarily two powerhouses in the league.

Combined, the Mets have watched Peterson total three innings while allowing 11 hits and nine runs, with his strikeouts equaling walks at four.

Mets: A Start To Watch

This is why Peterson’s start against the red-hot Chicago Cubs is the most important game of the week for the Mets.

With three doubleheaders coming up before the end of June and only one day off between now and the All-Star Game, Peterson is “it,” and the Mets have no choice but to keep him in the rotation.

Obviously, a turn-around from Peterson is needed, and ironically, Peterson is the one most likely to deliver it. A player seldom, if ever, forgets how to pitch from one season to the next, barring injury, and there is no sign of that.

Usually, and unless Mets pitching coach Jeremy Heffner sees something in Peterson’s mechanics that can be quickly and easily corrected, it’s all in the head with self-confidence as the driving force to recovery.

Mets Peterson: Hopefully, It’s All In His Head

While we can’t imagine anything happening to deGrom’s confidence or mechanics, David Peterson, like almost everyone, pitches in a different league. Something is goin’ on with Peterson.

To that, an incisive article from Amazin Avenue draws this observation about David Peterson:

“There have been moments when he’s demonstrated the shakiness that you would expect from a rookie starter, but he has thus far avoided letting such moments get completely away from him. A good example came in the third inning of his second start when he loaded the bases to open the frame and then walked a runner in on four pitches but subsequently rebounded against the heart of the Braves’ order to get out of the jam, having only allowed one additional run.

The ability to bend but not break is as important an attribute as any for a starting pitcher. Peterson has thus far proved adept at that by keeping the Mets in the ballgame each time he’s been out on the mound, as evidenced by his having gone at least five innings and not given up more than three runs in each start.”Michael Drago,

Mets’ David Peterson: Bend But Don’t Break

Mets David Peterson looking to find himself (NY Post)
Mets David Peterson looking to find himself (NY Post)

While bending and breaking is Peterson’s latest trend, it has not been part of his makeup overall.

It’s incumbent on Peterson (then) to bend without breaking to constitute a quality start that gets him into the sixth inning and even beyond with three or fewer runs allowed.

Not to mention the need to protect and save the Mets bullpen.

For the playoffs, barring injury, the Mets rotation is set one thru three. But for now, the regular season is a different animal, and Peterson is a significant player as the Mets seek to freeze out the rest of the teams in the NL East.

Author’s Update 8:15 pm ET 6/14/2021

So far, so good. Peterson is through three innings with no runs surrendered on only one hit. A pick-off and a double-play erased any trouble. Waiting for the Mets offense to do something against Arrieta though…

Three Mets runs and Peterson through four…holy cow!

End of five…Dominic Smith adds a solo home run.

Here’s What Readers Are Saying…

Aedo Joe Huge spot for Peterson

Darrell Johnson I have defended Pete before but if you cannot get out of the second inning on consecutive starts you don’t deserve the ball until you can prove otherwise…I’m sure we can find someone who can give us better than that. We cannot sustain any type of winning streak with Pete in the rotation at this time. If he does not give us productive innings tonight he should be replaced until he can…We might have another rainout tonight so this may be moot..Still, Pete needs to get it together fast..

Jeff Lane It would help if he gets run support that’s what a pitchers best friend is

Allan Mitchell Great Article. Honestly, I was at Saturday’s late afternoon game. Loved the way Stroman pitched. However as much as I liked the way Lugo pitched which certainly helped us win, I must digress. I think Lugo should be given a chance to start. They could have kept his arm quiet till tonight and started him. I mean with him you have a solid starter who can give you 6 or 7 maybe even 8 good innings. Peterson these days can only give you maybe 3 or 4 good innings lately. Switching him to the pen & adding Lugo into the Rotation would make the most logical sense. Author’s Note: Good idea. I’m just wondering if Lugo is stretched out enough after coming back.

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Author: stevecontursi

I am an amateur writer with a passion for baseball and all things Yankees and Mets.