Originally written on MetsZilla  |  Last updated 8/23/12

Making his major league debut on Thursday afternoon, New York Mets starter Collin McHugh allowed two hits and a walk, while fanning nine batters over seven scoreless frames.  His efforts, however, were rewarded with a no-decision.  Surprise. Surprise.

Unfortunately for McHugh, a misplay by Jordany Valdespin in centerfield led to the games only run as the last place Colorado Rockies completed a four-game sweep of the Mets.  In the top half of the eighth, Tyler Colvin lifted a long fly ball in which Valdespin broke in on off the bat. Eventually retreating back, the would-be fly out landed just passed the center-fielders out-stretched glove, resulting in a lead-off triple.  Chris Nelson followed with a single to center, plating Colvin and giving the Rockies a lead they would not relinquish.  However, it is hard for me to point the finger at Jordany. Especially when you consider the fact he is essentially playing out of position, as Terry Collins pointed out during his post game presser:

“One of the things you’ve got to be careful of is putting guys out of position in the big leagues, because eventually the ball will find them in perhaps a big situation. Jordany is athletic enough. We saw him play center field enough so far this year where we’ve sat here and said, ‘Boy, this guy can play center field.’ And then a mistake happens. It’s not the first time I’ve seen a guy misjudge a ball. And I’ve seen guys who are center fielders misjudge balls. But when you’re in a situation like we are, it’s going to happen at the wrong time, which it has.”

That said, Valdespin’s miscue and another anemic effort from the Mets offense ruined a brilliant effort from McCugh; who’s nine strikeouts were the second most in franchise history by a player making his MLB debut since Matt Harvey fanned 11 just one month ago.  The 25-year-old rookie allowed a lead-off double to start the game and another single in the third before retiring 14 of the next 15 batters he faced, including the final ten batters he faced. Following the game, Collins said McCugh is a much better pitcher than he was just two years ago, saying:

“It’s been a couple of years, obviously, since I’ve seen him pitch in competition. The command of his stuff is so much better than what I saw two years ago. And that was the kind of pitcher he was. His slider is much improved than it was two years ago. The breaking ball, which they told me was really good, is really good. But the command of his fastball — both sides of the plate — is outstanding. I was very impressed.”

While it was tough to watch the Mets futile offense every half inning, the clubs 18th-round pick in the 2008 First Year Player Draft kept me from turning the channel. And has me very intrigued to watch his next start.

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