SAN FRANCISCO — The Mets have had to dip into their pitching pool to get by with injuries and suspensions over the last few weeks, but they might finally be finding the end of the depth. Saturday’s 7-4 loss to the San Francisco Giants at Oracle Park was evidence of that.
The Giants hit David Peterson hard right from the start. The left-hander gave up four runs in the first and two more in the second to put the Mets in a 6-0 hole early in the game. There were some missteps, outs on the basepaths and calls that didn’t go the way of the Mets (14-8) in the third game of a four-game series, but Peterson’s performance ultimately doomed them.
Brandon Nimmo hit his second home run of the season off San Francisco starter Logan Webb (1-4) and Daniel Vogelbach had an RBI double. Starling Marte went 2-for-4 and scored Bretty Baty in the eighth with an RBI single to make it 7-3 and Baty scored Mark Canha in the ninth, but the Mets would get no closer.
Despite the resiliency they’ve shown throughout this West Coast trip, the Mets couldn’t claw back this time.
Three former Mets made life difficult on their former team in the early innings. Michael Conforto went 1-for-4 with an RBI and a run scored, Darin Ruf, who was recently cut after a dismal tenure in New York, went 1-for-4 with an RBI and Wilmer Flores hit a solo home run off Peterson in the fifth to put the Giants (10-13) up 7-2.
Peterson loaded the bases with one out in the first. He got the second out in the form of an RBI sacrifice fly from David Villar. But the big hit came one batter later, with Brandon Crawford hitting a three-run shot into McCovey Cove to put San Francisco up 4-0. It was the first time the Mets had trailed in the series, which is now at 2-1 with one game left to play.
Ruf had an RBI single in the second inning and advanced to second on the throw. Conforto then hit a grounder to Pete Alonso at first base and he tried to get Thairo Estrada at home, but Estrada was ruled safe for the sixth run. The Mets challenged the tag play but the call was upheld.
Flores led off the fifth with his third home run of the season. He continues to hit left-handed pitching well, much like he did when he was with the Mets.
Peterson was tagged for seven earned runs on seven hits over five innings, with one walk and eight strikeouts.
The Mets are in a tough spot when it comes to pitching. They’re without most of their starting staff already and they’ve burned through some of their depth in Triple-A. Peterson is 1-3 with a 7.36 ERA. He has minor league options remaining and a trip to Triple-A might not be the worst thing for the lefty, but the Mets may not have many options when it comes to configuring the rotation for the next two series.
They need someone to pitch Tuesday in place of Max Scherzer, who is suspended for 10 games after being ejected for violating the rules on foreign substances in Los Angeles earlier this week. The Mets could use someone like Jimmy Yacabonis to start Tuesday against the Washington Nationals and then use the relief staff from there. But Tuesday marks the start of 13 straight games without an off day, so draining the bullpen on Day 1 isn’t something the Mets want to do.
Jose Butto isn’t eligible to be promoted again until Thursday, so he could take Peterson’s next turn through the rotation Friday against the Atlanta Braves. But it would be tough to demote Peterson with the starting staff so thin right now.