The Mets Had No Choice But David Peterson Was Set Up For A Poor Start Today

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

Mets starter David Peterson had nothing today, despite being given a four-spot to open the game. Sometimes, it’s just the luck of the draw.

Mets starter David Peterson is learning the hard way what life can be like as the fifth-starter in the team’s rotation.

Staked to a four-run lead in the first inning, more than the team is averaging for a full game, Peterson took the hill against the Diamondbacks this afternoon at Chase Field.

Mets manager Luis Rojas takes David Peterson out of his misery (Getty Images)
Mets manager Luis Rojas takes David Peterson out of his misery (Getty Images)

Peterson, pitching on eight days rest, lasted only 35 pitches, surrendering five runs on four hits, and walking three, before manager Luis Rojas took the ball from him, making it the shortest start of Peterson’s young career.

Striving to find at least one pitch in his arsenal that worked for him today, Peterson’s release point was all over the place, and his recently discovered change-up was left over the plate too many times.

There are times when a starting pitcher begins a start, knowing even in the bullpen it was going to be an uphill effort, and more often than not, his “feeling” becomes a reality.

But there are other times when a manager puts a pitcher in a situation where he does not have his best chance of success.

Today was one of the days for the Mets, Rojas, and inevitably David Peterson.

Recall, however, the number of rainouts the Mets had last weekend in their series against the Braves. A domino effect on the Mets rotation was released, moving starters around.

Rojas, to his credit, made sure Jacob deGrom was kept on normal rest, and it paid off when deGrom went five innings in his first start since a stint on the 10-day IL for a Mets victory.

Next up (normally) in the Mets rotation is Marcus Stroman, and given Stroman’s scorching stretch with the ball of late, how could Rojas and pitching coach Jeremy Heffner deny him his start. Result – six strong innings, but a tough loss by the Mets.

Lost in the shuffle is David Peterson, and though everything that transpired is logical and well thought out by the Mets, nevertheless, sometimes the numbers are proven right. Consider Peterson’s record based on the number of day’s rest between starts. Note: Baseball-Reference has not caught up to his start today, skewing the 6+ days rest even more.

Source: Baseball-Reference
Source: Baseball-Reference

Mets David Peterson And The Luck Of The Draw

Now, before you say or think it, let me do the honors. A major league player has to be ready, mentally and physically, whenever his number is called.

Mets ace Jacob deGrom a creature of habit (Sportsnet)
Mets ace Jacob deGrom a creature of habit (Sportsnet)

But to fair, starting pitchers are a different animal in baseball, and routine is everything for them, from day one following a start through a bullpen day, all leading up to prescribed and individualized “steps” on game day.

Jacob deGrom, for instance, can be seen in the outfield when the Mets are home at Citi Field watching the clock intently until it clicks precisely to 6:50 pm for a night game, and only then does he make his way to the bullpen to begin his warmup.

Peterson has been inconsistent throughout all of his nine starts this year, with all of his negative numbers up from last year when he was one of the Mets’ most reliable and successful starters…(again, not including today)

Source: Baseball-Reference
Source: Baseball-Reference

YouTube commentators for today’s worldwide broadcast, and there were so many of them I can’t tell you who said this. Still, it has some legitimacy regarding Peterson’s struggles today; claiming that during the offseason, Peterson worked primarily on adding a pitch or two to his arsenal, leaving his bread-and-butter 97 mph fastball and accompanying slider aside.

The theory goes then that Peterson “lost the feel,” another idiosyncrasy among pitchers, of these pitches, and that’s what hurt him today.

In any event, the Mets need Peterson to be what he was last year and even building beyond that. Otherwise, the Mets, who are officially smack in the middle of a pennant race, will be forced to make a move, perhaps adding recently returning Seth Lugo to the rotation as a stopgap.

Mets: All Is Not Lost, Though…The Mets Win!

David Peterson receives a no-decision today as the Mets and Diamondbacks traded leads back and forth, with the game locked in a 6-6 tie in the ninth inning, so why not follow the game through…

Francisco Lindor, leading off the ninth, ripped a single to right-center, advancing to second on a misplay. Lindor to third on a passed ball, and Pete Alonso slashed a single between short and third to score Lindor. Mets up 7-6.

The ball goes to Edwin Diaz (1-1 3.38 ERA with nine saves) for the bottom of the ninth.

Diaz throwing at 101 mph. Ground out to Lindor, strike out, fly out to Dominic SmithGame Over – Mets Win!

Here’s What Readers Are Saying…

Michael Brown We don’t have a 4th or 5th starter. Start working the phones Sandy

Abel Rosario Jr Yeah too many days of rest is a good point

Barry Weyandt See I think with all the off days he should’ve come in from the bullpen to pitch an inning or 2…they have this habit….of having guys just sit….gotta start making it a necessity to get guys work.

Mark Anthony Ramirez Being the fifth starter can be rough. However, Peterson may have to throw more between starts so that he can keep his feel and mechanics on point. The fact his release point was all over the place tells me he’s not throwing enough between starts to keep his mechanics right.

Michael Terry When is he going to have his day? Looks like to me the league has figured him out. They are not swinging at his pitches out of the strike zone, so he walks them, then gets frustrated and throws one right down the middle. When was the last time the Mets had a left-handed starter who wasn’t a head case? Ollie Perez to Niese, to Matz, to Peterson. They all have innings in which they absolutely lose it.

Dick Louie Yeah, he was set up to fail: Peterson hadn’t pitched in 8 days because ANALytic a____s decided it was better to skip him on his regular turn for deGrom, and then for Stroman.As someone who used to pitch, trust me when I say this: if you can’t stay on your usual routine like pitch every 5th day/game, you will not be very effective when you take the mound.

Especially if you are a pitcher who relies on a sinkerball as Peterson does; the more rested the arm, the worse it is for a sinkerball pitcher to get the pitch down in the strike zone consistently. And if not throwing on a regular schedule, the breaking pitches will take some time to get a feel for, like Peterson’s slider and changeup today. You can’t be a one-pitch pitcher in the major leagues, and Peterson’s fastball isn’t fast enough to survive being the only pitch he can throw for strikes.

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Author: stevecontursi

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