Scott grabs 'complete control' of his start before yielding to 'pen

Mets' No. 2 prospect lifted after 5 2/3 strong innings due to pitch limit against Pirates

July 8th, 2024

PITTSBURGH -- It had been a mixed bag of results for in his first six career starts heading into Monday afternoon’s series finale. Despite a couple of solid efforts, the Mets’ No. 2-ranked prospect and No. 38-ranked prospect across MLB, per MLB Pipeline, had yet to record a Major League victory.

After an 8-2 loss to the Pirates at PNC Park, the 25-year-old Floridian is going to have to wait at least one more outing to get the monkey off of his back.

This time, however, there isn't much for Scott to hang his head about.

Pitching for the second time since being recalled from Triple-A Syracuse on July 3, Scott allowed just one hit and a pair of runs over an efficient 5 2/3 innings. Scott went right after the Pirates the first time through the order and quickly found himself in a rhythm, needing just seven pitches to get through the bottom of the first inning and nine pitches to do the same in the second.

After three perfect frames, the rookie hurler’s pitch count sat at just 32.

Scott and Pirates starter Mitch Keller, who countered the rookie with eight strong innings, traded zeros on the scoreboard. The two breezed through the first three frames, which were completed in just 34 minutes.

But similarly to Scott’s previous outing against Washington, a long home run eventually plagued his pitching line. Scott allowed his first base runner of the game to lead off the fourth inning after coming out on the losing end of a nine-pitch battle with Pirates designated hitter Andrew McCutchen.

Two batters later, shortstop Oneil Cruz sent a well-executed, 2-1 splitter by Scott a Statcast-projected 431 feet into the bullpen past the center-field wall.

It was the sole blemish on an otherwise superb outing by Scott. The right-hander struck out three batters and allowed just one walk, while lowering his WHIP to 1.03 on the season.

“I thought I attacked from the early point,” Scott said. “Got a lot of weak contact early. I thought the defense played great, and me and [catcher Luis Torrens] were on the same page again.”

Brandon Nimmo responded with a two-run blast of his own in the sixth inning off Keller to knot the game, 2-2, and let Scott off the hook. After retiring the first two batters of the sixth inning, manager Carlos Mendoza pulled Scott from the game, despite sitting at just 77 pitches.

Looking for an out to finish the inning, Mets rookie Eric Orze and Adrian Houser were charged with a combined five runs on five hits and one walk to blow the game open.

After the game, Mendoza explained that he went into the day set on limiting Scott to around 75 pitches as he gets accustomed to pitching on four days’ rest for the first time in his career. Scott only has 39 innings on his big league resume, and Mendoza knows his importance to the future of the rotation.

“Obviously, he was in complete control of that game. He was really, really good,” Mendoza said. “It was one of those [where] it was a hard decision, but, like I said, we went in there [knowing] it was only going to be 75 today.”

While the Mets’ relievers struggled to get the final out and pick up Scott, Mendoza stuck by his decision, highlighting the importance of slowly building up his workload.

“It’s a tough spot, obviously, but this kid is too important,” Mendoza said. “We’ve got to protect him, especially after he threw 99 pitches his last time out [against the Nationals].”

Scott knew his pitch limitations well ahead of time, and understood the reasoning for it. He said he just wanted to go out and give his skipper the best 75 pitches he possibly could. The reality is that if Scott continues to execute like he did in Pittsburgh, it shouldn't be long before he’s given the green light to pitch deeper in games.

“I felt great. Body feels good and in a good spot,” Scott said. “Just excited to go out and compete at this level. Whether it's five days, six days, seven days, it doesn't really matter to me.”