The Mets, whose recent winning ways have apparently stimulated some brain cells in management, have finally done what they should have done weeks ago and have sent Jenrry Mejia down to the minors to stretch out and get converted back into a starting pitcher. He’ll ply his trade in Double-A Binghamton.
I’ve beat this drum over and over again, but when you have a studly young starting pitcher it’s a mistake to fastrack him to the bullpen. Yes, he’ll likely be effective as a reliever, but so will any number of other guys because it’s inherently easier to throw fastballs for an inning than it is to start a game and use your full panoply of pitches against an entire lineup.
As it was, Mejia wasn’t being used that often and every day he wasn’t throwing his full arsenal was a wasted day in his development. OK, maybe not totally wasted — being on the big club for a while was probably good for big league orientation purposes — but training to go seven innings is more important than figuring out where your locker and the library and the guidance counselor are.
The Astros’ bullpen did yeoman’s work in place of the injured Dallas Keuchel on Monday against the Tigers. Keuchel is temporarily sidelined with a pinched nerve in his neck.
Brad Peacock made the spot start, limiting the Tigers to one hit and two walks with eight strikeouts over 4 1/3 innings. Chris Devenski took over with one out in the fifth, finishing out that inning as well as the sixth and seventh, facing the minimum. Will Harris pitched a perfect eighth and Ken Giles closed out the 1-0 victory in the ninth. Devenski, Harris, and Giles each had two strikeouts.
The Astros scored their only run in the bottom of the first inning as George Springer drew a leadoff walk, then scored on Jose Altuve‘s one-out double. Tigers starter Brad Fulmer pitched well enough to win on most days, giving up the lone run in seven frames.
After Monday’s win, the Astros became the first team to reach 30 wins, sitting on a 30-15 record. With a +55 run differential, even their expected record matches up with their actual record.
Braves second baseman Brandon Phillips became the 337th player in baseball history to hit 200 career home runs, driving a solo home run to left-center field during Monday night’s home game against the Pirates. Phillips is the 14th second baseman (who played a min. of 75 percent of his career games at the position) to rack up at least 200 career home runs.
Phillips, 35, entered Monday’s action batting .290/.345/.405 with two home runs and 12 RBI in 142 plate appearances. If he’s anything, he’s consistent, as he finished with an adjusted OPS between 90-99 (100 is average) every year between 2012-16 and it was sitting at 97 coming into Monday.