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Last night at Citi Field, the Nationals hit three home runs off Mets pitching prospect Rafael Montero, raising his ERA to 6.12 through 25 innings with the Mets this season.

It was Montero's first start since being demoted back to Triple-A early this summer. He let up five home runs in his four starts with the Mets earlier this season.

"I know he's not afraid to throw it over the plate, but you've got to make your pitches," Terry Collins said after the game. "You see he's got weapons to be successful, but he's got to learn to use them better. When you're throwing it in the middle of the plate, you're going to get hit."

Montero is filling in for Jacob deGrom, who was recently put on the 15-day disabled list with shoulder tendonitis. Montero will remain in the rotation for at least one more start, according to Collins.

"The batters here are a little better," Montero said through an interpreter (ESPN, Aug. 13).

I got ripped by my readers in Spring Training for expressing concern about Montero's height, but I still see it as a problem for a right-handed pitcher with his repertoire. I mean, I can't think of any righties his size who pitched in the zone like he does who had sustained success in the big leagues. This level of hitters just tee off on a slider coming in on that trajectory, and his fastball -- while in the mid-90s -- isn't deceptive enough to make it work in his favor. Also, he still looks like he's aiming the ball and almost never throws inside. He needs to own the plate and find a way to get up on top of these pitches of he's going to continue to get crushed. It wasn't pretty.

His next start is huge; not just for him, but for the Mets, who may want to offer him in trade for a bat this winter. Right now, he still looks like a relief pitcher making spot starts. I want to be wrong. He's a smart kid, he's shown command and presence of mind to adjust during Spring Training starts and in Triple-A, so the skills are there. He's worth more to the Mets and on the market as a starting pitcher, but I just don't see the command right now of his secondary pitches needed to work over a lineup. He and Dan Warthen have a lot of work to do over the next four days...

Tags: matthewcerrone, avsny, MetsBlog , Matthew Cerrone
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