Sunday, August 24, 2014
Positive signs from deGrom, Mejia in L.A.
By Anthony Witrado | Special to ESPNNewYork.com
LOS ANGELES -- Despite another ugly loss Saturday night, the New York Mets showed some signs that their young pitching will continue to be a source of encouragement.
Jacob deGrom, a Rookie of the Year candidate, ended up with a dented final line. But his velocity was in the mid-90’s, and there was a time when he had things on cruise control before a few poorly located pitches were banged around by the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Then there was 24-year old Jenrry Mejia, this season’s de facto closer, who has had some struggles in August, with a 7.27 ERA (seven earned runs in 8 2/3 innings). Mejia came in to pitch the eighth inning, his first appearance since Monday.
Mejia threw a clean inning, and sat his fastball at 94-95 miles per hour with a sharp tilt on his slider. “I was [encouraged],” manager Terry Collins said. “You can just see the difference in his stuff when he’s rested. He had the sharp breaking ball we all know he has.”
Mejia is at 79 innings on the season, and he has never thrown more than 108 2/3 in a season, doing so in 2012 between the minors and a brief stint with the Mets. This season’s workload has caused different ailments, including a hernia that will require offseason surgery and most recently a tight back that limited him this past week.
The Mets are cognizant of Mejia’s body and are keeping a close eye on his usage. “If he’s going to keep doing this moving forward, he’s got to be able to understand that hopefully four or five days a week he’s in there,” Collins said. “If we can somehow monitor his workload so that he stays as sharp as we can keep him, because his stuff [Saturday] was outstanding.”
Wrong kind of Wright: David Wright stranded six men on base and again failed to get a hit in five at-bats Saturday, making him 2-for-his-last-29 in a forgettable offensive season. Collins said Saturday that he would not sit Wright, saying, “Stars don’t need that. They don’t think like that.”
So Wright is in the lineup again Sunday against Dodgers starter Kevin Correia, who he has owned throughout his career to the tune of a .765 average (13-for-17) with three home runs.
“You can lift your confidence pretty fast, and he’s facing a guy he’s had success against,” Collins said. “He’s the key to our lineup. He’s having a very un-David-like year.”
When asked again Sunday about maybe giving Wright a day off, Collins again said that is not a fix for a player of Wright’s caliber, and also that Wright has been sat for a day or two during slumps this season and it hasn’t made a difference.
“Those guys don’t think like that,” Collins said. “If he was tired, that’s different. ... But we’ve done that, given him two or three days. There is no instant cure. Saying, ‘OK, you’re not playing for the next three days and you can back off and watch for a while,’ that doesn’t fly.
Collins also mentioned that Wright might be starting to press, and that there are some swing flaws he has been trying to correct lately. He also said Wright is no longer receiving treatment for his sore shoulder, so that has nothing to do with his struggles.