Mejia had his worst statistical outing, as he gave up his first runs of the season after starting the season out with 12 2/3 scoreless. Mejia pitched 5 2/3 innings, giving up three hits, three runs, two earned, walking four, and six strikeouts, raising his ERA from 0.00 to 0.98.
However, Mejia's outing was not as bad as his line would indicate. It was a frigid 39 degrees at game time, and Mejia struggled to find his groove in the first inning. On a cold day, its tough to get a good feel for the baseball, and it was clear that Mejia could not find it early. Mejia got the first batter out, then proceeded to walk the bases loaded, really not coming close to the strikezone. Mejia then gave up a bases loaded two-run double to Rene Tosoni giving Rochester an early 2-0 lead. After a strikeout, Mejia walked another hitter before finishing the inning. He threw 37 pitches in the first, 20 balls and 17 strikes. He was clearly frustrated with himself, as he was talking to himself on the mound to go along with bad body language. He was missing up in the zone with the fastball, and really had no feel at all.
Then something just clicked for Mejia. Over his final 4 2/3 innings, Mejia allowed just two hits, no runs, no walks, while striking out five. Here are some notes from Mejia's start:
- He threw 92 total pitches (53 strikes/39 balls)- 58% strikes
- 62 fastballs- 36 strikes (58%) and 26 balls
- 9 curveballs- 2 strikes (22%) and 7 balls
- 21 change-ups- 15 strikes (71%) and 6 balls
- Of the 23 batters he faced, Mejia threw only 9 first pitch strikes (39%)
- He got 8 swings and misses- 3 on change-ups, 4 on fastballs, and 1 on a curveball
- Mejia was very slow to the plate, allowing 2 stolen bases. He needs to work on holding runners on.
- Still lacks the fastball command needed to excel at the big league level.
- Change-up is a true swing and miss pitch. He has confidence to throw it behind in the count.
- The fastball is never straight, moving with hard cutting and sinking action.
Mejia still has issues falling behind hitters.
There are some trends from his first three starts: His fastball once again was, according to the broadcaster, 91-94 mph with late hard cut and sink, but still has trouble commanding it. His fastball just moves so much that hitters have a tough time getting the barrel on it. While he struggled to get his curveball over, it still had big 12-6 break to it that changes the hitters' eye level completely. Once again Mejia's change-up was very effective. Facing a predominately left-handed lineup, Mejia used his change-up as his out pitch against those lefties. His change-up has improved leaps and bounds over the last year, and is a true weapon he can count on. [Ed (TH): Emphasis added, because I liked it.]
All in all, Mejia had a very impressive outing aside from his first inning struggles. The weather was not ideal, and it seemed to have had an effect on Mejia in the first inning. He had a swagger about him when he started to pitch well, and showed a lot of toughness to battle back in the game. Mejia gained confidence as his outing progressed, and he got into a really good groove with his fastball. There are still things for Mejia to work on, but with each passing start, Mejia is looking more and more the part of a very good big league starting pitcher.
A NL scout in attendance, as quoted in the Buffalo News, had some interesting comments about Mejia's outing:
"He has a big-league arm and flashes of a breaking pitch, but until he commands his fastball, he isn't doing anything. If anything, he's confident. He's aggressive and confident. He handled adversity well and didn't panic."Here are some highlights from Mejia's outing yesterday.