Dugger ready to 'come back strong next year'

Rookie right-hander chased after seven runs in final start

September 26th, 2019

NEW YORK – Rookie right-hander pitched his last game of the season on Wednesday night, and it turned out to be one to forget as the Mets pounded the Marlins, 10-3, at Citi Field.

Dugger pitched two innings and allowed seven runs -- six earned. He was in trouble starting in the first, when the Mets scored three runs. The following inning, New York added four more. Pete Alonso had the biggest blow, when he hit his 51st homer of the season -- a three-run shot. Dugger was done after the inning ended.

The 24-year-old Dugger made his Major League debut on Aug. 5 at Citi Field after pitching 70 2/3 innings for Double-A Jacksonville and 53 1/3 frames at Triple-A New Orleans. He finished 0-4 with a 5.77 ERA in seven big league starts (34 1/3 innings).

“He didn’t want to end [the season] like that,” Marlins manager Don Mattingly said. “But it’s going to be an experience, still. He was able to get through an extra month of the season. It’s probably the first time he has done that. At the end of the day, some lessons don’t make you feel so good. It’s still good for you at the end of the day, if you take them right.”

Overall, in two starts at Citi Field, Dugger has a 15.43 ERA (12 earned runs in seven innings) and a 2.43 WHIP. Outside of Flushing, he has a respectable 3.29 ERA (10 ER in 27 1/3 IP) in five starts.

“It’s usually not the field. It’s possibly a matchup [problem]," Mattingly said. "Those guys match up with him pretty decently."

Dugger didn’t have any answers as to why he is not successful at Citi Field. Miami's No. 23 prospect realizes if he makes the Major League roster next year, he has to be more consistent on the mound.

“I’m going to take these outings, learn from them and come back strong next year,” Dugger said.

Asked what was the biggest thing he learned from his brief stint in the Majors, Dugger added: “Just the experience, really. I kind of know myself as a pitcher. I’m excited for this offseason and [can’t wait to] get back [on the mound] this spring. I want to be consistent. That’s the key.”

Dugger is not going to blow hitters away with his fastball, but he has a decent pitch mix (four-seam, slider, sinker, curveball and changeup), according to Mattingly. Dugger must know how to sequence the pitches he throws and locate them.

“You have to have pitchability at that range where he is at. You can’t miss location when you are pitching [in the] 89, 90, 91, 92 [mph] range,” Mattingly said. “You've got to be able to get the ball where you want it.”

Miami's offense fared no better against New York ace Jacob deGrom. The team collected two hits off deGrom, who pitched seven shutout innings and picked up his 11th victory of the season -- and fifth against the Marlins. The Marlins mustered three runs off the Mets' bullpen in the ninth to avoid the shutout.