Left-hander David Peterson, regarded just last month as the New York Mets’ sixth- or seventh-best starting option, is already in the two-hole.
Peterson, 27, will face the host Miami Marlins on Friday night after the Mets won 5-3 on Opening Day.
The reason for Peterson’s promotion is the Mets have two starters on the injured list. Projected fifth starter Jose Quintana (rib surgery) isn’t expected back until at least July, and new co-ace Justin Verlander, who pitched for the Houston Astros last year and won his third Cy Young Award, was placed on the injured list Thursday due to a muscle strain.
“This isn’t the best-case scenario,” Verlander said of his injury. “But it’s probably the second-best case, very minimal.”
This is Peterson’s fourth year in the majors. Last season, he won a career-high seven games, going 7-5 with a 3.83 ERA in 28 appearances (19 starts).
Peterson has been good in five career appearances (four starts) against the Marlins, going 2-1 with a 2.74 ERA.
New York’s bullpen entered this season as a source of concern after closer Edwin Diaz was lost to a knee injury during the World Baseball Classic earlier this month. But on Opening Day, the Mets got three scoreless relief innings — one each from Drew Smith, Brooks Raley and David Robertson (save).
This series features the two reigning batting champions: New York’s Jeff McNeil and Miami’s Luis Arraez, who came over from the Minnesota Twins in an offseason trade. Both play second base and both went 2-for-4 on Thursday.
From the perspective of the Marlins, who have an $110.2 million payroll compared to $377 million for the Mets, Thursday’s result gave them a confidence boost.
“The Mets are a really good team,” new Marlins manager Skip Schumaker said. “But we showed we can play with them.”
Marlins first baseman Garrett Cooper certainly showed that as he slugged a game-tying, two-run homer in the sixth inning.
Cooper said it wasn’t easy to deal with baseball’s new pace of play rule.
“The pitch clock messes with hitters,” Cooper said. “These pitchers can use all 20 seconds (with a runner on base) if they want. It’s something we’re going to have to get used to. It’s a battle.”
Cooper also made two outstanding catches at first base Thursday — one to his left that saved a run and one to his right.
Another rule in baseball this year also factored into his defense.
“We don’t have the shift anymore,” Cooper said. “So, I have to cover more ground, especially against lefty hitters who like to try to pull the ball down the line. I need to be as athletic as possible as use my wingspan.”
Miami is expected to start lefty Jesus Luzardo on Friday. In four career starts against the Mets, the 25-year-old is 1-1 with a 5.40 ERA.
Last season, Luzardo tied his career high with 18 starts, posting a 4-7 record with a career-best 3.32 ERA.
His fastball command improved last year, although he did have lapses when his four-seamer caught too much of the plate. His fastball averaged 96 mph, but his curve was his best pitch and he also has a nasty changeup.
–Field Level Media