David Peterson Continues to Bull and Bear it

The young southpaw appeared to find a groove on Monday

Baseball is about balance.

There will be times that half the team is struggling and there will be stretches that it feels like the entire roster is clicking. We’ve seen this tale of two Citis play out already this season.

Early on, the Mets couldn’t buy a hit with runners in scoring position. Today, the Mets’ 106 wRC+ with RISP is good for fifth in the National League.

Tides change. There’s evidence of it everywhere.

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Look at David Peterson. Inconsistencies this year after a sterling debut season in 2020 have left the 25-year-old left-hander as a question mark in the eyes of most with rooting interests in this team.

As discussed, without the necessary seasoning that most players endure through the higher levels of the minors, Peterson was essentially removed from the frying pan, tossed into the fire, and has been tasked with polishing his craft at the highest level.

Professional hitters will pick up on advantages in an instant, which has left Peterson searching for the consistency and approach that holds serve among the best players in the world.

A quality start here, a stinker there. So it goes. Progress is fickle. Perseverance is the key to unlocking that labyrinth.

Peterson’s high water-mark came at Tampa Bay on May 14 (7.1 IP, 2 ER, 9 K), but outside of a handful of encouraging outings (April 14 vs. PHI, April 27 vs. BOS, May 2 at PHI, May 24 vs. COL), the lows have been mighty low.

Nine earned runs allowed over three innings in his last two starts (at ARI, at BAL) turned Peterson’s start on Monday into a de facto pop quiz. Pass or you may need to go to tutorials.

Mets manager Luis Rojas made it clear after Peterson’s clunker in Baltimore that the southpaw would stay in the rotation. The confidence the Mets’ decision-makers have shown in Peterson presumably have been the fuel keeping the lefty’s motor running.

Some of the beatings he’s taken have been demoralizing from a spectator’s vantage point. Mental toughness — which Peterson has in buckets (overcoming adversity does that) — will only take you so far.

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Rojas, Jeremy Hefner, and the rest of the Mets’ eyes out there seeing the potential in Peterson’s stuff and makeup on the mound, not giving up on the former top pick but pushing him further, has plausibly made all the difference.

That belief in Peterson’s skills translated into a watershed outing on Monday against the Cubbies.

Putting up six scoreless frames with just two hits and a walk on his ledger while facing the first-place Cubs is quite the statement to make after the journey Peterson’s had to traverse this season.

“I think it came down to being able to execute,” Peterson said of his splendid outing. “I think the goal is just being able to take the start one pitch at a time. That’s all you can do is throw one at a time.”

“I think when you simplify it down to that and really focus on each pitch and executing that pitch, the results will come,” he said. “[Monday] felt good. Being able to execute over and over again tonight felt really good.”

We concur.

Taijuan Walker takes the hill for New York in the second of four against Chicago at Citi Field on Tuesday at 7:10 PM EST. Until then…

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