ST. LOUIS. Right now, Trevor May is only sure that he has a replacement.
The Mets right-hander has allowed at least one run in four of his six assist appearances to start the season. The 10 hits he coughed up, including two home runs, resulted in an 8.53 ERA in 6.1 innings. To top it all off, there is no particular problem that May could point to as the reason for his disappointing results. Instead, May said, it’s a little bit of everything—his serve, his hand position, the lightning bolt on his fastball, whatever.
“I’m very upset at the moment,” May said on Chase Field Tuesday.
On Monday, May allowed the Cardinals to take a 2-0 lead in the eighth inning after giving up three singles and being allowed to walk. His slider wasn’t sharp, and his fastball didn’t move the way he wanted. Against a tough St. Louis lineup that includes Yagye Molia, Harrison Bader, Paul Goldschmidt and Tyler O’Neal, such missteps can quickly turn into disaster. May fell short against Molina, resulting in a base hit. He fell behind Bader again, leading to another single. O’Neal received some of what May called his “worst pitch”, an 87 mph lane change that hung in the middle of the zone.
Luckily for May, the Mets offense overcame his stumble in a thrilling ninth-inning comeback to defeat the Cardinals. But two-thirds of his arsenal is still out of whack with May, and it’s causing major frustration for the team’s powerful pitcher and reeler.
“I can’t be behind everyone, especially with this lineup,” May said. “This is probably a lineup that rivals ours in terms of just training bats and making you throw tons of balls. It was never my intention to go in there and just dominate them, you have to serve when you have to serve.
“I can’t afford to make many mistakes and I make more mistakes than I would like, but I also get hit a little more than usual – all together at the same time.”
Mets manager Buck Showalter said May is having difficulty with his team, which has led the 32-year-old pitcher to try too hard to overcome his difficulties. May spent enough time studying heatmaps with pitching coach Jeremy Hefner in his locker on Tuesday, and that was in addition to the amount of time he spent watching videos of his performance against the Cardinals.
May believes the shorter spring practice, which lasted just over three weeks due to the hosts’ lockout, compared to the usual six-week workouts for pitchers and catchers, is at least one of the reasons his pace is slightly slower than at his fastball. usually sits in April. Showalter echoed May, citing southpaw Joely Rodriguez’s recent burst of speed as a sign that pitchers are starting to turn the corner after a shorter spring.
“I think sometimes you can want something too much,” Showalter said. “He wants to do the job that we know he can do and he knows he can. It’s just not quite in that flow yet.”
May is grateful for the Mets offense that helped him after he tripped in his last two straight games, including when he conceded two runs to the Diamondbacks in Game 1 of the series in Arizona last Friday. The personality of the 2022 Amazin’s, a resilient group that entered Tuesday with 13 wins and a 4.5-game lead in the NL East, showed a next-man mentality that only made May work harder to improve his results. He thinks his stuff is on trend, and after eight years in the majors, he’s trying to believe his numbers will even out over a long 162-game season.
“I’m not going to be a burden on this team,” May said. We are too good for this.
The Mets signed pitcher Tommy Hunter to a minor league deal on Tuesday. The nutritious journeyman rejoins the Mets after having four outings and a memorable hit in his first career with New York last season. In July, the Mets traded Hunter to the Tampa Bay Rays to acquire Rich Hill. The 14-year-old major league pitcher underwent back surgery during the offseason.
Showalter managed Hunter in Baltimore and developed a close relationship with the right-hander. On Tuesday, the Mets manager expressed his delight that Hunter returned to his team because the veteran is responsible and happy to pitch anywhere and anytime he is asked to.
“We’re going to give him a chance,” Showalter said of Hunter. He’ll have to take it and run with it. He has a lot of competition.”
WHAT IS JAKE DOING?
For now, the Mets refrain from providing this information. Jacob de Grom learned on Monday that the stress response on his shoulder blade has healed significantly and that he can start to “load and strengthen” his shoulder again, according to the Mets.
However, the Mets ace is not yet cleared for shots, and it remains unclear if the team will wait to give him that go-ahead before he undergoes additional testing in three weeks. Showalter and a Mets spokesman on Tuesday declined to provide further details about deGrome’s current “boot and fortify” schedule.
“I was talking to Jake today,” Showalter said. “Firstly, he is very optimistic and excited about the news that the healing process has taken place. With the guy you’ve had for so long, you have a lot of images to compare him to. So he chews on the beat. He’s ready to go. He wants to be a part of it, and so are we. I won’t go into details about when he will join us.”