Mets' Streak Busted By Rays
David Peterson shines but bullpen falters in 3-2 loss to Tampa
Coming off a less-than-ideal start versus Arizona last weekend (three earned runs, three walks over 1.2 innings), it didn’t take long for David Peterson to find himself in another self-inflicted jam on Friday in Tampa.
He even showed a little emotion, which is a rare sight from the 25-year-old southpaw when between the lines. This would set the evening’s tone for Peterson.
Tampa right-hander Tyler Glasnow (2.37 ERA, 75 strikeouts, 19 walks over eight starts/49.1 IP entering the night) was in top form early, working perfectly through the third on just 32 pitches.
Jonathan Villar — who, as we’ve noted many times here, hadn’t played third base since 2016 and wasn’t very good at the time — made a sparkling play on a Randy Arozarena screamer down the line in the third.
Every night it’s another guy stepping up, even outside of their comfort zones. It truly takes a village. Villar would re-enter the picture — prominently — shortly thereafter.
Glasnow breezed through the fourth, still without a baserunner. But, lo and behold, David Peterson was running neck-and-neck with the future star righty, pushing the fifth with goose eggs on the board, as well.
Was he perfect? Nope. But was he effective? Yes, indeed.
That’s going to continue to play, in any capacity. Once the reserves are full, Peterson’s marching orders may change. But able depth is never a bad thing, wherever it’s being utilized.
In a perfect world, standing toe-to-toe with an ace like Glasnow should give your team the opportunity to make a push as the game wears on. Things have just been working out this way for the Mets as of late, haven’t they?
After looking downright befuddled over their first 14 plate appearances, Kevin Pillar finally broke the ice, beating out a groundball deep into the 5.5-hole for the Mets’ first hit and baserunner of the game.
On cue, Villar blasted a two-run shot just over the rightfield wall to stake the Mets to a 2-0 lead in the fifth.
Peterson rolled through the seventh, finishing the frame with 17 consecutive Rays batters retired on a nifty 83 pitches.
The Mets threatened in the eighth with a one-out double off the bat of Jeff McNeil, but Glasnow, just as nasty as he was early, closed out his night with a fine display, absolutely baffling Francisco Lindor with a two-strike dead-zone slider and grounding out Michael Conforto to end the frame.
The missed opportunity to add some insurance to their two-run lead immediately became magnified.
Pitching into the eighth inning for the first time in his career, Peterson allowed a leadoff homer to Mike Zunino, cutting the Mets’ lead to 2-1, and Padlo scorched a double into the right-center gap, putting the tying run in scoring position with none out.
Game faces on, boys.
Following a mound visit, Peterson struck out Phillips and, with a right-handed (and extremely dangerous) batter in Arozarena coming to the plate, Luis Rojas called upon Trevor May to quell the attack.
Peterson finished his evening with nine strikeouts over 7.1 innings of tremendous pitching, but with the outcome still very much hanging in the balance, a shutdown appearance from May would be a necessity.
Well, they can’t always be easy…
Arozarena sent a hoverboard to third that Villar snagged for the second out but Manuel Margot (.388 career average versus NYM) sent one the same way, this time just a bit closer to the bag, and it skipped into the corner, tying the game at two and scratching Peterson’s name off the ledger.
Just as Peterson’s playing up to Glasnow kept the Mets in the game as they were finding their way early on, Glasnow taking two on the chin yet still keeping things moving kept air in the lungs of these Rays, leaving the door cracked open for Tampa.
There’s a fair point to be made regarding Rojas’ decision to stick with Peterson entering the eighth. At just 83 pitches, he surely had gas in the tank. And with 17 straight Rays set down until that point, he was clearly cruising.
But — really just playing devil’s advocate here, but entertain me — with a fully-rested bullpen at Rojas’ disposal, maybe it was the right time to pull the plug.
Peterson earned his chance to go back out, no question. And hindsight is always 20/20, but maybe adhering to the bigger picture might have been the prudent path for Rojas.
The Mets’ relief corps did enter the night with the fifth-lowest ERA in baseball (2.99) and just 0.44 home runs allowed per nine (lowest in the majors), after all.
The game wasn’t over yet. Just riffing. Onward.
The Mets put two on in the ninth (Pillar single, Villar reached on Adames error), but McCann grounded out to end that threat.
If we’re being honest, that’s a sequence I’m starting to become weary of typing. Plenty of time for McCann to get it going — four years, in fact — but maybe Tomas Nido starts to see more time behind the plate until he gets back on track.
With runners on the corners and one out, Castro walked Zunino on five pitches — a clear pitch-around — to load the bases and Rojas went to left-hander Aaron Loup to keep the game alive.
Loup struck out Joey Wendle looking for the second out but double-earflap hero Brett Phillips sent one into right in the next at-bat, scoring Lowe and ending the Mets’ winning streak in gut-wrenching fashion.
Turn that page. Tomorrow’s a new one. That’s what’s great about this game. Until then, family…
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