New York Mets left-hander David Peterson followed one of the rougher starts of his brief major-league career with arguably his best in his most recent outing.
As Peterson aims to keep improving entering Wednesday night’s game against the host Chicago Cubs, one attribute stands out above all to Mets manager Luis Rojas.
“This kid has shown that ever since the first time I met him,” Rojas said. “He wanted the ball. He wanted to come in and pitch. … I think this kid doesn’t get in his head. He just goes and corrects what he needs to correct, and he goes after it. So you’ve got to give the kudos to him.”
Peterson (1-1, 6.30 ERA), who debuted last season, has neither faced the Cubs nor pitched outside of the Eastern time zone. He is coming off a victory against Philadelphia on April 14, when he scattered one run on three hits in six innings with zero walks and 10 strikeouts.
One week earlier, the Phillies tagged Peterson for six runs and seven hits in four innings.
To be sure, the Cubs would take that output against Peterson — or any pitcher, for that matter. Chicago won Tuesday’s series opener against the Mets 3-1 despite being outhit 6-4.
Eric Sogard of the Cubs and the Mets’ Dominic Smith and J.D. Davis each had two hits.
The Cubs struck out 12 times, with left fielder Joc Pederson whiffing three times and shortstop Javier Baez going 0-for-4 with four Ks.
Although Baez leads the major leagues in swings and misses, Cubs manager David Ross said he wants Baez to maintain an aggressive approach at the plate.
“I think he’s the best version of himself when he’s turned loose and able to play freely,” Ross said. “Asking Javy to cut down his swing, spread out and play pepper, put the ball in play, I don’t know that that’s going to be the best version of him.
“I know he’s trying extremely hard to get the ball in. And I think when he is at his best and seeing the ball well, he does that really good.”
Ross also was bullish about Baez’s preparation and commitment to improving, crediting his diligence to video work.
Then again, many teammates often follow suit.
“A guy like Javy, when he’s off, we try to bring to him things that we think will help him, and he’s very receptive and works on them and tries to put them in play when he gets out there,” Ross said. ” I don’t think that’s any different than any other player.”
Right-hander Zach Davies (1-2, 10.32) will look to reverse course for Chicago while giving the bullpen a break. Over his past two starts, Davies has yielded 11 runs on 12 hits in just 5 2/3 innings. He allowed four runs in four innings against the Atlanta Braves on Friday in his most recent start, a 5-2 loss.
Davies is 3-2 with a 5.06 ERA in seven career starts against New York, with 26 strikeouts in 37 1/3 innings.
–Field Level Media