On June 8, New York Mets starting pitcher David Peterson got lit up like a Christmas tree for the second straight start. It wasn’t quite as bad as his start six days prior when he gave up five runs and only recorded one out, but it almost felt worse.
At least when he didn’t make it out of the first inning, the Mets were able to overcome it and squeak out a win, so it didn’t feel as horrible coming out of the game. A win is a win, and “hopefully it will be better next game” was the attitude.
Well, the next game came, and Peterson made it through eight outs before getting pulled, giving up four earned runs. This time though the bullpen wasn’t perfect and the hitting never got going, so ultimately, the Mets exited their first of two in Baltimore with a 10-3 loss.
Peterson had already been having a shaky season before these last two starts, generally not allowing a ton of runs but also not often making it deep in games. Now, with back-to-back disaster games, some Mets fans are just about ready to give up on the 2017 first-round pick.
But here’s the thing — there are not better options. The Mets have no other choice than to let Peterson try to work through this. That’s the reality, like it or not.
Let’s look at the options.
In terms of players on the 40-man roster, one of the names that jumps out is Thomas Szapucki, the Mets 5th round pick in 2015 and currently pitching in Syracuse. On Wednesday, he got torched by the Worcester Red Sox, giving up five earned runs through 3.2 innings pitched. If he’s getting lit up in Triple-A, it’s probably best to not bring him up yet.
Other than Szapucki, that’s pretty much it. There are a couple of relievers, most notably Sean Reid-Foley who really impressed during his stint in the majors this year but got sent down simply because he still had options. He’ll surely be back up at some point and can go for a couple of innings an appearance if needed, but at the end of the day, he’s a reliever.
Stephen Tarpley and Yennsy Diaz are also there, but again, relievers. The Mets are already committed to a semi-bullpen game whenever Joey Lucchesi pitches. They can’t do that twice every five games.
One option is moving Robert Gsellman to a starting pitching role, something he’s done before (though not with much success). It’s an interesting thought, but he’s had some nice success as a long man out of the bullpen this season when the Mets have needed to do a bullpen game, so taking him out of that role might not be the best move.
As for other starting pitching options in Syracuse, there’s Jerad Eickhoff, who hasn’t pitched in the big leagues since 2019 when he had a 5.71 ERA with the Phillies. This season in seven starts in Triple-A, he has a 4.62 ERA. Corey Oswalt is also there, but no Mets fan can reasonably say they want to do that experiment again. Those two also aren’t on the 40-man roster so a DFA would be necessary to call them up, something this depleted Mets team should really try to avoid.
There are just no better options, plain and simple.
Besides, it’s not like Peterson hasn’t done well before. He’s had some really good starts in his young career, some even this season. He’s going through a rough patch, but it’s way too early to give up on him. He’s made 20 career starts, that’s it. It’s obviously not ideal how he’s pitching right now, but he should get a shot to figure it out. He’s a former 1st round pick after all, 96.2 career innings is way too early to pull the plug.
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Until Noah Syndergaard or Carlos Carrasco, or probably both, come back, it’s going to be Peterson running out there every fifth day. You’re going to have to learn to live with it and hope he can figure it out.