Over the first three games, the Mets looked as popular as the How I Met Your Mother series finale – angering fans with their late surprises, and downward twists and turns.
But before this season goes into retirement, ala David Letterman, the Amazin’s needed someone to step up and perform.
And tonight, they found that savior.
Jenrry Mejia – with the help of Lucas Duda – came through as the Mets took the first game of their series, having Cincinnati see red in the 4-3 Mets win.
“Tonight he got us deep into the game, which was great for us,” Mets manager Terry Collins said. “He hung in there, made pitches when he had to and got us a lot of outs. When you can go through (Joey) Votto and Jay Bruce and not have a lot of damage done, you should have a pretty good game.”
This game may be the start of something for Mejia, the former prospect, who erstwhile manger Jerry Manuel fell in love with , overusing the then 20 year-old in 2010, which resulted in Tommy John Surgery the next season.
Now 24, Mejia just may be the answer for a rotation looking for a stabling force with Matt Harvey on the shelf. Looking like a rock out there, Mejia, who wasn’t the sharpest, allowed one in six inning, with eight strikeouts and five walks.
“Everybody always raved about his stuff, but can he throw enough strikes?” Collins said. Tonight, it was touch to grip the ball, but he made a lot of outs.”
Last season, Mejia looked like he arrived when he went 1-2 with a 2.30 ERA in five games, but then had to be shut down because of bone chips in his elbow.
But what we saw in 2013 was impressive. He became a different pitcher, who showed a number of pitches – including a slider, cutter and more, importantly a changeup, which became an out pitch for the righthander.
“The changeup was the pitch last year, which improved his repertoire,” Collins said. “It gets in those hitters heads when you can use it to get outs.”
And more importantly there was fearlessness in his mound presence, and a determination to stay in the majors. Mejia wanted to start and tonight he proved to Collins that belongs up here in the majors.
If you wanted an ace, you may have found one. Mejia has the stuff to make it happen, proving it with big outs against a tough Reds lineup.
And with a cool mist flowing over Citi Field, these weren’t the most ideal condition for a pitcher coming back from arm surgery. But Mejia threw a career high of 101 pitches and looked stronger as the game went along.
Of course, he has some help with Eric Young, Jr. robbing Brandon Philips of a home run in the first, and survived a scare when the he took a line drive off the right leg from the Phillips in the third, but winners need the breaks and tonight the young righthander was just that.
Even another home run allowed by John Lannan – who looks like the Mets first DFA candidate – couldn’t stop New York from winning tonight.
So fret not Met fans, there’s life in Queens and if 2014 is the year the Amazin’s turn the corner, Mejia will have to be a big part of it.