New York Mets News

Mets pitcher P.J. Conlon did something unique last year in Double-A

PORT ST. LUCIE, FL - FEBRUARY 27: P.J. Conlon #80 of the New York Mets pitches in the first inning of a spring training game against the Houston Astros at Tradition Field on February 27, 2017 in Port St. Lucie, Florida. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
PORT ST. LUCIE, FL - FEBRUARY 27: P.J. Conlon #80 of the New York Mets pitches in the first inning of a spring training game against the Houston Astros at Tradition Field on February 27, 2017 in Port St. Lucie, Florida. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images) /
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The New York Mets hand the ball to rookie P.J. Conlon on Monday against the Cincinnati Reds. Can he go the distance like he did so often in 2017?

The New York Mets have placed Jacob deGrom on the disabled list. After a few days of telling us he would make his scheduled start, he’s going to sit out a few games.

I appreciate the caution yet still feel a bit concerned about the late-notice. Why not make the move from the start?

Regardless, I’m excited to see the guy taking his place. Belfast-born lefty P.J. Conlon will start on Monday against the Cincinnati Reds. The Mets are hoping the Irishman is a good luck charm to end this horrific six-game losing streak.

Many Mets fans may worry when they see Conlon’s ERA with Las Vegas this year. At 6.75, it certainly does stand out as a bad one.

However, Conlon has a much more favorable track-record. In 2016, he went 12-2 with a 1.65 ERA with two teams at the Single-A level.

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For me, the more impressive number from Conlon’s career was achieved last year with Binghamton. Conlon tossed three shutouts, which at any level is unprecidented.

Conlon finished 2017 with a record of 8-9 and 3.38 ERA. This is still good, but the ability to finish games is what I like most about the kid.

Some of this credit goes to the manager’s faith in his abilities. We’ve seen Mickey Callaway pull his starters earlier than some wanted for a variety of reasons. This is the way Major League Baseball is played. Managers worry about pitch counts far more than they do a player’s individual achievements.

Even so, Conlon is throwing more than complete games. He’s keeping opposing teams scoreless and going the distance. Any pitcher can labor on the mound for nine innings. Conlon did it with a goose egg staring from the scoreboard.

I’m not convinced Callaway will give Conlon the same luxury in his MLB debut. Nor should he. Based on the way this rotation has performed in 2018, the Mets need to stay cautious with every pitcher they have. Conlon may only get one start before returning to Las Vegas. Think of this as more of a tryout for later in the year or for any openings which may arise with future injuries or demotions.

Conlon faces a weak Reds squad in his MLB debut. It’s a great chance for a win. Hopefully, the Mets bats show up with a little help.

Next: Missing Mets offense has become a problem

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If Conlon goes five innings, consider it a victory for the Mets. Right now, they need every boost they can get.

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