Mets LHP Jon Niese was charged with four runs in 4 2/3 innings during his start Wednesday night against the D-backs.
"I told him, even on the mound, for a guy who hadn't pitched in six weeks, I thought he threw the ball great," manager Terry Collins said after the game. "I was very happy with the way he pitched."
Nevertheless, Collins said it's possible the Mets skip Niese's next start, since the team is off next Monday. However, if the pitch counts of the team's other starting pitchers are high and they need extra rest, the Mets might choose to stay on rotation.
"We don't make those decisions this far in advance," Collins said. "We've got to wait to see what happens in the next couple of days."
Niese is slated to next pitch Tuesday at Busch Stadium against the Cardinals, who lead the Mets by four games for the second wild-card spot.
In 19 starts between the Mets and Pirates this season, Niese has a 5.30 ERA.
In typical fashion, Niese was cruising, looking good, then, wow, what happened... He let up back-to-back home runs in the fourth inning, on essentially the same pitch. He's now allowed 25 home runs, which is the second-most among pitchers this season.
Again, he looked good to start. He had nice command early, moved the ball around the strike zone and used his cutter well. Then, in the blink of an eye, everything was up in the zone, his location was way off, balls were over the plate and he got crushed.
Collins pulled Niese with the Mets down two runs. I guess he didn't want Niese facing Paul Goldschmidt, who has been killing the Mets the last week. In the end, I'm not sure Niese could have done any worse than Erik Goeddel, who was being asked to pitch in back-to-back games.
My hunch is he'll get another start. It's August. It's hot. And, I'm sure the Mets will want Steven Matz, Jacob deGrom and Noah Syndergaard to have an extra day of rest.