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NEW YORK — Chasen Shreve almost jumped the subway stairs into Manhattan on Tuesday night. He played for the winningest team in baseball, with the best pitching staff in baseball, and just then, fresh off a double sweep from the giants-he felt he had the most fun in baseball.
the Dishes The reliever stuck his head into the cold air and smiled as another thought came to mind: And we don’t even have a Grom yet.
Indeed, after a 6-2 win on Thursday gave New York the series victory over San Francisco and made them the only team with 10 wins, their most impressive number isn’t at the top of the standings. but the one on the injured list: No. 48, Jacob of Grom. The Mets ace may be the best pitcher in baseball when he’s healthy, which he hasn’t been since last July. Since then, a succession of injuries – elbow, back, shoulder – took him away from the mound. The team says he’s due for an MRI on Monday. In the meantime, the New York starters have a 2.10 ERA without him.
“Let’s make sure we’re [clear]says right-hander Max Scherzer, who signed with the Mets this winter for three years and $130 million, the richest contract in history by average annual value, to be 1B to 1A for deGrom. “Jake is really, really good. You’re worse when you don’t have Jake. You still want it there. But we did a good job overall being able to cover it.
Scherzer dominated batting for nearly 15 years, so his success comes as no surprise. And New York felt it had gained a stabilizing force, both on and off the mound, with right-hander Chris Bassitt, which it acquired from Like in March. Right-hander Carlos Carrasco is a solid mid-rotation starter. But right-hander Tylor Megill, fielded when deGrom went down, and left-hander David Peterson, who slotted into the rotation when right-hander Taijuan Walker developed bursitis in his shoulder, were revelations. Megill did not allow a race until his third start; Peterson still hasn’t. They say they feed off each other.
“Why wouldn’t that give you confidence?” said Peterson. “It’s like hitters – you see the guy in front of you getting a hit, you see him having a good bat, it gives you confidence going into the box. So for us as rookies, or a rookie and then a reliever taking over, why not continue the success that the guy before you had? The guy in front of you has a good start, why not continue? We try to win and we all try to do our part. So yes, it’s a lot easier to do well when you see that guys are successful.
(No one was brave enough to mention to Scherzer that in the first two corners he actually had the worst ERA of them all, at 3.27. “I don’t think you want to go that route,” he said. said pitching coach Jeremy Hefner, laughing. It didn’t last long, anyway. In his third start – Game 2 of Tuesday’s doubleheader – Scherzer took a no-hitter in the sixth inning; his ERA dropped to 2.50.)
They attribute a variety of elements to their performance: the right attitude; a pitching coach who treats them as individuals; and a culture, imported in part by newcomers, of collaboration.
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First, the attitude. Their manager has no patience for the bad. “You think someone who works across the street [in one of the auto body shops] does he care if someone gets injured or plays a day game after a night game or in cold weather? said Buck Showalter. ” It’s an opportunity. I don’t want to hear a bad attitude. I said to the guys, ‘Don’t let that seep into the clubhouse, that doom of mine thing.’ What a great opportunity for Megill and [Peterson]. When [deGrom and Walker] come back, we’re going to say, ‘Wow, we’ve got depth.’ »
Peterson took the team out of spring training last year and struggled; Megill was promoted from Triple A Syracuse mid-season to fill a hole created by injuries. Both pitchers say the experience has helped them calm their nerves and slow down the game this year.
Just like their pitching coach. Shreve signed a minor league contract with the Mets this spring because he enjoyed his experience here so much in 2020. He spent ’21 with the pirate; when he suggested throwing his fastball into the area to tunnel it with his splitter, they disagreed. But he really believed the idea was a good one, so this spring he took it to Hefner. “Let’s try,” Hefner said.
“His fastball is playing in the zone,” Hefner says now. “Pittsburgh is not wrong to have him in the zone. But if a guy planted himself in the zone his entire career, or if he made an adjustment early in his career to start throwing up, that’s all on the scouting reports, isn’t it ? … If you can command it and you can locate it consistently, who am I to say, “Don’t”?
Shreve has yet to allow a hit on a low fastball this year.
Megill had a similar experience. He arrived this spring hoping to remodel his pitch slider that looked more like a cutter last year. Hefner told him to go. Megill adjusted her grip and lowered her velocity a bit; he has yet to allow a hit on that pitch.
And veterans sometimes serve as personal pitching coaches. Scherzer and Bassitt encourage young pitchers to gather around them in the dugout after the start, no matter who it is. Bassitt offers commentary on what he’s seen, making sure to “read the room,” he said, and give them space after tough outings. Scherzer asks the children about what they saw—particularly after hard rides.
“A lot of times when you give up a bunch of races, the instinct is to let it go, but for me, no, no, no, that’s where you learn,” he says. “Baseball is giving you a free lesson today.”
Among those lessons: DeGrom’s loss doesn’t have to be the disaster some fans predicted. “If we’re having trouble with a guy falling, then are we really cut out to win?” said catcher Tomas Nido. “It takes more than one guy to get us where we want to go, so when he fell I think it made us want to step up.”
It’s only been 14 games. But that means they are 14 games closer to recovering from Grom.
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