After being notified three and a half hours before the game that he would be starting, Rafael Montero struggled mightily against the Padres, picking up his fourth loss of the season.
Montero threw 87 pitches in only three innings, allowing three runs and five hits.
The 26-year old walked three batters, all in the first inning, which helped lead to San Diego jumping out to an early 2-0 lead.
Montero needed 45 pitches to get through the first inning.
"I struggled a bit in that first inning, but after that I started feeling better," Montero told reporters after the game, according to the NY Post.
May 25, 2017: Montero throws a pitch at Citi Field (Credit: USA Today Images)
Montero is now 0-4 with an 8.24 ERA and 2.54 WHIP in 19 2/3 innings this season. He has allowed runs in each of his last three appearances, and has walked three batters in consecutive outings.
"That's what we have been fighting with Raffy, to have confidence in his stuff to throw it over the plate," Terry Collins said after the game. "There are certain expectations when you're in a big league uniform. ... We don't have a lot of options, so we've got to do a better job of getting him to buy into the fact that he's got to throw strikes."
This is now the second time the Mets decided to call an audible and rush a pitcher in to a start that he wasn't expecting to make. It first happened with Matt Harvey a few weeks ago, a day after he did nothing to prepare because he was unaware he would have to. And they did it to Montero yesterday, telling him three hours before game time that he'd be getting the ball.
That said, I think we all know that Montero could have been told about this start last year and it still would not have mattered. Basically, the Montero experiment is over. It was over weeks ago, but I trust last night made it more clear than ever. Seriously, it's time to wave goodbye. I appreciate him filling in for deGrom. But, Montero (and his one career win in five years) need to go back to Las Vegas, from where he'll probably eventually be released.
There's an argument to be made for keeping him as the 25th guy on the roster, and last man in the bullpen, available for mop-up duty and desperate fill-in work. However, because they always have at least one or two guys on the roster who are deemed 'unavailable,' the Mets aren't in position to waste an additional spot on a long man. They need every useful arm they can find right now...
Jose Reyes talks to Rafael Montero between batters at Citi Field (Credit: USA Today Images).
It would not surprise me to see him latch on with a new organization, who may approach him in a different way and get him back to the big leagues. But, it's clearly not going to happen with the Mets, who have really done everything possible the last five years to get this kid to be everything they hoped he could be.
It stinks, because he's always had the potential to be an effective reliever since he's got good velocity and can place his fastball. But, that will never matter if he's also going to keep hanging sliders multiple times every at-bat. It's fine to pull that garbage in Triple-A, where guys are swinging from their heels through crappy off-speed pitches.
But, in the big leagues, against the best in the world, no one is swinging because they know they don't have to. Instead, they can wait on a fastball away or inside, whichever they choose, and -- if they don't get it -- Montero's probably going to reach four balls.