QUEENS — New York Mets starting pitcher David Peterson didn’t throw a pity party for himself when he was demoted to Triple-A last month. It didn’t take much to realize that his 1-6 record and 8.08 ERA wasn’t good enough for the big leagues.
“I knew what I threw out there my first couple starts and I knew it wasn’t up to par and it wasn’t what the team needed,” Peterson said. “It was pretty easy for me to get over that and focus on what I needed to do to get back.”
So he went to work upstate with the Syracuse Mets, re-working his slider and trying to re-discover what made him a serviceable arm in 2022 — though the results weren’t necessarily top-notch considering he had a 4.86 ERA across six starts in the minors.
But with the Mets desperate for pitching depth having sent Tylor Megill down to the minors, there was no other choice but to call on Peterson for Tuesday night’s game against the Milwaukee Brewers one night after losing their 16th game in 21 tries and asking their bullpen for four innings after Justin Verlander gutted out five scoreless innings on 100 pitches.
Peterson bucked the narrative and put together an important outing, tossing six scoreless innings with five strikeouts while working around five hits and three walks in the Mets’ 7-2 victory.
“It’s big,” Peterson said. “When I got sent down, I had some things to figure out and it was also a great opportunity for me to learn and grow and get myself back in the spot I want to be in every fifth or sixth day.”
It could have been far uglier considering he loaded the bases with one out in the first inning and allowed the first two men to get on in the fourth, but timely double plays saved his day and ultimately allowed him to settle into his finest groove of the night toward the very end of his start.
He struck out Brian Anderson on a slider for his first punchout of the evening to end the fourth. He then proceeded to strike out four more for a grand total of five over a seven-batter stretch. Finally, a sign of life at the big-league level for Peterson’s important pitch.
“The slider wasn’t very sharp at the beginning [of the season] and we talked about it in spring training,” Peterson said. “It was something that was kind of coming along later for me. So I’m really just getting back to where I need to be with that pitch.”
Tuesday’s outing lowered Peterson’s ERA by more than a full run — down to 7.00 — and provides a bit more confidence for him and his manager, Buck Showalter, moving forward.
“I think everybody likes to feel good about themselves,” Showalter said. “We all know what Pete is capable of. We saw it in the past and I saw it last year a little bit and a little bit this year. We need him… everybody down [in Triple-A] to be that important depth. So you hope this is a springboard to do what he’s capable of doing.”