For the past 2 times David Peterson took the mound the command of his pitches was way off and that resulted in 3 innings of work where he gave up 9 runs but last night at Citi he found his game with 6 shutout innings giving up only 1 harmless hit in a 5-2 Met win.
Peterson’s performance combined with the last 4 games have given Luis Rojas 30.1 innings of pitching where the quintet of Mets starters gave up only 3 runs giving the team a 4-1 record in those games against a high octane Padres lineup and an amazing power laden Cubs lineup in that stretch of games.
More importantly, it gives Luis Rojas confidence in all 5 starters heading into a stretch of games that will be filled with doubleheaders and not many off days. “I am really proud of those 5 guys”, said manager Luis Rojas,, “because they work so hard in the days leading up to their starts. And heading into this part of the schedule, giving us both quality innings coupled with length in games will help us in so many ways including not overusing our bullpen.”
For most of the year, the trio of Jacob deGrom, Taijuan Walker and Marcus Stroman have been lights out but this start by David Peterson and the last 2 or 3 starts from Joey Lucchesi have given an every night feel of dominance when the Mets send a starting pitcher to the mound. And when they play these 7 inning doubleheader games coupled with the right arm of closer Edwin Diaz (who earned his 13th save last night) it could make the Mets an impossible team to deal with on a night by night basis.
The knock I keep hearing on this team is they fattened their record on bad teams but that is just utter nonsense. They are 4-3 vs Padres, 2-1 vs Braves, and have 3 more games with the Cubs here at Citi trying to erase that 3 game sweep at Wrigley earlier in the year. The bottom line is they still hold a huge lead in the loss column in the NL East and they are doing it with some hitting but mostly with a starting rotation that top to bottom may be the best in baseball.
We have seen a great illustration of that in the past 5 games and that is the reason they are an elite team. Now let me be clear here–there is so much inventory left on their schedule but in this sport when you can bring talented starting pitching to the table every night you generally make your opponent’s offense disappear into thin air.
In a series like this where David Peterson gave you a gem and the Cubs know that the trio of Taijuan Walker, Jacob deGrom and Marcus Stroman are still on the docket in this series it could make their high octane offense feel very pressurized.
And that is the secret folks on how this team has overcome injuries, obstacles, offensive inconsistency and a plethora of cancellations forcing a stop and start to their season. And when you talk to the players you get the sense it will get them through this challenging schedule. Often times we try to get a face of the franchise for every winning team. And yes there are some offensive players who could fill that role but Met history has shown us when they win championships it is the starting rotation that is ALWAYS the face of the franchise. And I get the feeling that this year’s version of the Mets is fitting very neatly into that philosophy.