ATLANTA — There was a time when the situation would have been too much to handle, when the runners on base would have tempted him into a mistake. But Seth Lugo knows better.
“I’m just starting to figure that out,” Lugo said after the Mets’ 10-3 win over the Braves on Sunday. “In my minor-league career, I’d go and try to throw too hard or make too good a pitch, then I’d end up falling behind and come back over the plate with guys in scoring position. It takes a lot of discipline. It took a long time for me to figure it out.”
Lugo, 26, worked out of a bases-loaded, none-out jam in the fourth after the Braves already had pushed across a run. By allowing two runs in seven innings, he upped his record to 4-2 with a 2.40 ERA, a performance that has softened the blow of losing Steven Matz and Jacob deGrom to arm injuries.
Matz and deGrom might throw again Monday, though Terry Collins said it is too soon to project a return date for either. But Lugo’s performances have given the Mets some leeway. “Throwing strikes makes it easy to get more comfortable out there,” said Lugo, a 34th-round draft pick in 2011.
The Mets continued their tradition of wearing caps to honor New York’s first responders during a pregame ceremony to commemorate the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks. The Braves and Mets exchanged hugs, a re-enactment of when the clubs played the first game in New York after the attacks, punctuated by Mike Piazza’s memorable home run.
Former first-round pick Gavin Cecchini struck out in his big-league debut, a pinch-hitting appearance witnessed by his parents . . . One day after bruising his neck in a collision at the plate, Wilmer Flores was too stiff to pinch hit.