On Tuesday morning, when Mets manager Luis Rojas told David Peterson that he would make his Major League debut that night, there was no outward burst of emotion. No obvious elation. Stoic, Peterson simply thanked his manager and said: “I’m ready.”
Such is Peterson’s demeanor, both off the mound and on. If the Mets had any doubts about the benefits of that attitude, Peterson erased them throughout the first 5 2/3 innings of their 8-3 win over the Red Sox. He gave up two runs and nothing more, becoming the first left-handed pitcher in 18 years to last at least five innings in a big league debut at Fenway Park.
“That’s his first outing,” Rojas said. “He handled himself like it was one of many outings he’s had at the Major League level.”
— New York Mets (@Mets) July 29, 2020
The only real inflection point where things could have gone awry occurred in the third inning, when Peterson loaded the bases with no outs on two hits and a walk. He then ran the count to 2-0 against J.D. Martinez, who owns the league’s highest OPS against left-handed pitchers over the past five seasons. Combining Martinez’s reputation with the fact that Fenway Park can be a nightmare for lefties, it was clear that Peterson was in the stickiest of jams.
On the mound, he resolved not to give into Martinez with a fastball down the middle. Instead, Peterson came back with a changeup that Martinez was early on, followed by a 3-1 sinker that dotted the outer edge of the strike zone. With the count full, Peterson then threw a devilish slider that dove beneath Martinez’s bat at the last moment.