NEW YORK -- Since joining the rotation in early June, Trevor Richards has shown the Marlins that he belongs. What the organization is looking for down the stretch is how the rookie right-hander holds up over an entire season.On Wednesday, Richards was rudely reminded of the rigors that stand in
NEW YORK -- Since joining the rotation in early June, Trevor Richards has shown the Marlins that he belongs. What the organization is looking for down the stretch is how the rookie right-hander holds up over an entire season.
On Wednesday, Richards was rudely reminded of the rigors that stand in the way in September. On a night the game was delayed 5 hours, 35 minutes due to rain, the 25-year-old was tagged for six runs (four earned) in five innings as the Mets rolled to a 13-0 victory behind Zack Wheeler at Citi Field.
"[Richards] has been in the big leagues and it's late, but it's not like we're at 170 or 180 [innings], and we're at a threshold that he hasn't been before," Marlins manager Don Mattingly said. "I think it's a matter of just making pitches and executing as much as anything. I think tonight, he was a little better, command-wise, with the fastball. But the changeup tonight, to me, it was a little more sideways. When it's good, it's down. Today, it looked like it was a little more sideways than down."
While New York broke the game wide open with seven runs in the sixth off Ben Meyer, who surrendered a grand slam to Jay Bruce and a two-run shot to Dominic Smith in the inning, the Mets had already enjoyed a comfortable lead early.
Wednesday turned into a washout night for the Marlins. Due to rain, Game 1 of the doubleheader was postponed, and will be made up on Thursday in a twin bill beginning at 3:10 p.m. ET. Wheeler, who threw eight shutout innings, didn't throw his first pitch until 9:45 p.m. ET.
"That's part of baseball. Rain delays, they happen," Richards said. "You never know how long they're going to be, if they're short or fast."
In his last two starts, Richards has labored, allowing 12 runs (10 earned) in 6 1/3 innings. And over those starts, the right-hander's ERA is 6.75.
"Obviously, it didn't go the way we wanted it to," Richards said. "But I threw some good pitches, I was around the zone more than I was the last outing. I wanted to focus on attacking hitters. One walk early in the game. I did a better job around the zone. Now I need to execute pitches better."
The grind of the season also is sinking in. In addition to 39 1/3 innings at Triple-A New Orleans, Richards has 107 2/3 innings with Miami, giving him 147 on the season. A year ago, he threw 146 total in the Minors.
"It's still a process, even though it is September," Richards said. "You still want to develop from start to start, and get ready. Nothing really has changed."
The Mets also did damage off Richards' best pitch, his changeup.
New York grabbed a comfortable six-run lead in the fourth inning on Amed Rosario's three-run home run, which came off a first-pitch changeup. Wheeler helped his cause in the inning, getting a single to right on a changeup.
Entering the night, opponents had a .159 batting average off Richards' changeup.
"Physically, I feel fine," Richards said. "I'm just focusing on every outing."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Before the game got out of hand in the sixth inning, Richards had a chance to minimize damage in the fourth. Jose Reyes led off with a single on a fastball. And with one out, Wheeler, who wasn't in a bunting situation, singled on a changeup to right field. Rosario jumped on a first-pitch changeup for a three-run homer that gave Wheeler a six-run lead.
"Wheeler's a good hitter; we knew that going in," Richards said. "He fouled some pitches off, and laid off a couple. I threw him a changeup that was a little up, and he got to it. That is what it is. Then Rosario came up and was sitting soft, I think. We hadn't thrown him a changeup. He was ready for it, and he turned it around. That's going to happen when you face good hitters."
The Marlins were blanked for the 12th time this season, and they suffered their most lopsided shutout loss since falling, 13-0, to the Mets on April 2, 2008.
HE SAID IT
"You just hang out in the clubhouse. There's card games going on and guys listening to music. There's games on TV going on to kill time. I left the hotel at noon." -- Richards, on waiting out the long rain delay
Unable to get two games in on Wednesday, the Marlins and Mets are scheduled to play a doubleheader beginning at 3:10 p.m. ET Thursday at Citi Field. Sandy Alcantara, coming off his career-high seven shutout innings against the Phillies, will start Game 1. Alcantara beat the Mets on June 29 in his season-debut. Steven Matz goes for the Mets. In the second game, Jeff Brigham will make his second big league start, and he will be matched with Jason Vargas.
Joe Frisaro has covered the Marlins for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @JoeFrisaro and listen to his podcast.