Mets RHP Rafael Montero allowed two runs, walked two batters, and struck out six in six innings in his start Monday night at Yankee Stadium.
"I hope it's a big step going forward," manager Terry Collins said. "The fourth inning could have been disaster for us and he hung in there and battled and got out of there with one run and I thought it was a big turnaround for him."
Montero, who entered Monday's game with a 6.49 ERA during his previous five starts, used just 43 pitches through the game's first three innings, during which he faced the minimum nine batters.
"He's got the stuff to pitch here," Collins concluded. "If he locates it and trusts his stuff and throws the ball in the strike zone he's got a chance to get outs and he showed that tonight."
Matthew Cerrone (Twitter | Instagram | About Me): I expected Montero to get rocked, especially pitching in Yankee Stadium. Instead, he was aggressive inside, mixed in his slider and ended up having one of his best starts of the season.
In games when Montero is bad, he's not sharp with his control. He'll nibble, miss and got crushed. However, last night, he wisely moved the Yankees off the plate, painted the outside corner and kept guys off balance. Thanks in large part to his catcher, Rene Rivera, Montero also looked uncharacteristically unfazed when things started getting dicey in the fourth inning.
The Mets believe that if Montero can simply 'trust his stuff,' as Collins repeated last night, then he may still have a future in the rotation. Personally, I still see him as a reliever, especially if he can consistently throw at least 2-3 innings like he did last night.