Thursday night at Citi Field as the rain and wait continued, the Marlins and Mets were in that holding pattern before an eventual halt caused a suspended game to possibly be concluded Monday afternoon. This is more of a mess for the Marlins in a tight race with three games remaining for a third NL Wild Card spot.
Though not a concern for the Mets as they continue to look at pieces of their possible 2024 pitching rotation. The last homestand of final ball games have been focused on manager Buck Showalter getting continued looks at left-handers Joey Lucchesi and David Peterson.
Both were not in the rotation picture in April, but the underachieving Mets commenced their season with Max Scherzer and Justin Verlander. They did not transpire to success with the exception of Kodai Senga, who finished his first season in the major leagues (12-7, 2.98 ERA, 202 strikeouts). HIs 12 wins are tied for the most in franchise history in a single season for a Japanese born player and strikeouts are second most for a Mets rookie.
Lucchesi in his ninth outing threw six scoreless innings Wednesday in the first game of a doubleheader at Citi Field. He retired seven of the first eight Marlins, while giving up two earned runs in the seventh. It put a cap on a season that started in the minors and finishing 4-0 with a 2.89 ERA.
He said, “It’s been an up-and-down year for me. Coming back from Tommy John, I felt like I had something to prove to the world, to myself. I wanted to show people I still belong here, and I feel like I made that case. I feel like my next year my arm’s going to feel way better. I’m going to work on some things. I feel like I’m going to come back stronger and better.”
Indeed, Lucchesi will be in the plan and based on his outings will be a viable candidate to be in the rotation next season, also cost effective. Obtained in 2021 in a three-team trade from the Padres, a long time NL evaluator informed me then, that Lucchesi was a sleeper. He continues to improve with his repertoire of a slider and what is now called a “Sweeper.”
Basically, Lucchesi has completed his audition. Depending on how the offseason transpires, he could be slated in as the fourth or fifth starter and provides the Mets significant depth that became an albatross this season. The 30-year old became the first Mets pitcher to make at least nine starts in a season with an undefeated record.
A look at David Peterson:
In the minors when demoted in mid May- 8.08 ERA in eight starts
Called up in late June: 3.38 ERA in 19 games.
Thursday evening at Citi Field against the Marlins:
7 IP, 4 hits, 0 runs, 4 walks, 9 strikeouts.
He has pushed himself to be a part of the rotation (10 starts, 3.88 ERA, 60 strikeouts, 48 ⅔ innings.) After his final strikeout that completed seven scoreless innings, he wanted to go the distance. Regardless. Peterson should also be put in that similar situation as a viable starter that adds depth for the Mets.
He said, “I was sent down to get back who I am. I think I came back and showed that I was able to get back to that and continue to build up success and use that success and continue to get better and take that into next year.”
A sixth spot in the rotation looms for Peterson, who is arbitration eligible, and continues to make his case since getting seven starts after the trade deadline. Quite a contrast from allowing 18 runs in three starts that propelled his ERA to 8.08.
Peterson has always had the tools. He has limited lefties to a .240 average, striking out 32 of 96 left-handed batters he faced, fourth overall for a lefty. He held batters to a .175 average with his slider and 78 of 128 strikeouts came on the slider.
It’s a matter of consistency and staying healthy. Peterson showed signs of resilience against the Marlins and threw 113 pitches, second to Verlander’s 117 pitches thrown against the Blue Jays in June.
“I felt like I had more in the tank,” Peterson said after the suspended game. “I was glad that they let me go back out and get that seventh.”
But all that will come into play for next year, The Mets can work around fortifying their rotation with Lucchesi and Peterson and surely as I have said, spend wisely on one or more free agent pitchers on the market.
But based on the past few weeks, rest assured Lucchesi and Peterson have presented their case to be a part of the Mets rotation decisions in 2024.
Rich Mancuso: Twitter@Ring786 Facebook.com/Rich Mancuso