The New York Mets and the host Miami Marlins — two teams with pitching rotations wrecked by injury and illness — will meet again on Tuesday night in the second game of a four-game series.
Neither team is in top form. New York snapped a three-game losing streak on Monday with an 11-4 win. Miami has lost six of its past eight games, including the past three in a row.
New York’s Tuesday starter is expected to be rookie left-hander David Peterson, who would be facing the Marlins for the second time in his young career.
Peterson (3-1, 2.91 ERA) beat the Marlins on Aug. 8 in New York, pitching five innings and allowing four hits, three walks and two runs.
New York began this year with six veteran starting pitchers, including two-time reigning Cy Young award-winning right-hander Jacob deGrom.
But Noah Syndergaard (elbow surgery) and Marcus Stroman (leg/opt out) were lost for the season without throwing a pitch, Michael Wacha is on the injured list with shoulder inflammation, Steven Matz (0-4, 9.00 ERA) and Rick Porcello (1-3, 5.76) have been mostly ineffective, and even Mr. Reliable, deGrom, missed his most recent scheduled start due to neck stiffness.
And then there is Peterson, who is never flashy but usually solid.
A 24-year-old Denver native, Peterson looks the part at 6-foot-6 and 240 pounds. After a stellar career at the University of Oregon — including one game in which he broke the school record with 20 strikeouts — he was the Mets’ first-round pick in 2017, No. 20 overall.
But, as a pro, Peterson has not put up big strikeout numbers (17 in 21 2/3 innings this year). His fastball is major league average at best, and his changeup is nothing special, either. Instead, it’s his slider with tons of lateral movement that gets most batters.
Peterson is thinking his way to victories, and he seems to be settling in after four starts.
“With every start,” Peterson told reporters, “I get more comfortable here. I learn more.”
There is one caveat, however, for Peterson. He has yet to throw more than six innings or 87 pitches in a major league game, and he experienced shoulder tightness in his previous outing, meaning New York could have its bullpen involved early Tuesday.
Meanwhile, Miami has not made an announcement regarding its starting pitcher on Tuesday, but reports are it will be right-hander Humberto Mejia (0-0, 3.86 ERA).
Miami saw its rotation take a major hit last month when arguably the team’s three top pitchers went on the injured list as COVID-19 ravaged the roster: 2019 wins and strikeouts leader Caleb Smith; 2019 All-Star Sandy Alcantara; and Jose Urena, who was Miami’s Opening Day starter in 2018 and ’19.
Mejia, a 23-year-old from Panama, had never pitched above Class A before making his major league debut on Aug. 7 against the Mets.
That still stands as his only major league appearance, and he showed potential with six strikeouts in 2 1/3 innings. The only run he allowed came on a solo blast by Dominic Smith, who hit a 93 mph fastball.
Still, the Marlins went on to win 4-3, and among the players Mejia struck out was 2019 All-Star Jeff McNeil — twice in two at-bats.
“This was a very special day for me,” Mejia said afterward. “It’s a day I’ve been dreaming of since I was a kid. I think I did a good job. I hope I get the opportunity to pitch more games.”
Mejia will be facing some hot hitters. Mets second baseman Robinson Cano, who is batting .412, hit a pair of two-run homers on Monday, and Mets first baseman Pete Alonso added two solo blasts.
–Field Level Media