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Friday, April 4, 2014
Mejia good enough to make it work

By Mark Simon

Jenrry Mejia
Jenrry Mejia fanned a career-high eight batters Friday night.
The Jenrry Mejia of 2014 looked as good as the Mejia who made a good impression in five starts in 2013.

There was one exception to that -- the five walks (he walked four total last season) -- but Mejia’s cutting fastball worked well, and his changeup stayed down in the zone at a good rate. He survived bad weather, bullpen struggles, a near-home run by Brandon Phillips and being hit in the ankle by a comebacker.

"That’s pretty tough," Mejia said of the 43-degree game-time temperature, which dropped below 40 as the evening went along. "I fought through it the best I can. Sometimes, I didn’t feel my fingers."

How did Mejia win?

Mejia excelled against right-handed hitters, throwing 29 of 34 pitches to the likes of Todd Frazier and Phillips for strikes. Righties entered the day with a .304 career batting average against Mejia but were only 2-for-12 with three strikeouts against him in this game.

When Mejia wasn’t walking the Cincinnati Reds' dangerous left-handed hitters (they drew all five walks in the game), he was able to freeze them. Mejia finished with a career-high eight strikeouts, four of which came when a Reds lefty took strike three (including Jay Bruce twice).

Mejia was also able to escape the trouble he ran into on a couple of occasions, holding the Reds to one hit in 12 at-bats with men on base.

"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 Bruce and not have a lot of damage done, you should have a pretty good game."

As for the damage to his ankle, Mejia shook it off.

"It’s not too bad," Mejia said. "I just feel a little pain, but it’s not going to bother me."