Mets-Padres Preview

He has just one more major league win than he’s had major elbow

surgeries, but Jenrry Mejia’s pitching is starting to turn some

heads in New York.

His new batterymate might do the same.

Mejia looks to deliver another impressive outing Saturday night

at Petco Park, when top catching prospect Travis d’Arnaud could

make his major league debut for the Mets against the struggling San

Diego Padres.

Once a promising prospect who made his major league debut at age

20 in 2010, Mejia (1-2, 2.22 ERA) had his career derailed by Tommy

John surgery and had a 7.03 ERA in six career starts coming into

2013.

That included 14 walks in 24 1-3 innings, but since returning to

the majors on July 26, the right-hander has allowed just six earned

runs through four starts, including three walks in 24 1-3

innings.

“I know that they worked very hard with him before he got here

on smoothing out his mechanics and trying to get him into a

consistent release point, and I think they’ve done that,” manager

Terry Collins said. “He’s worked hard at it and it’s paying

off.”

Mejia held the red-hot Dodgers scoreless for five frames Monday

before being charged with three runs – two earned – in the sixth

inning of an eventual 4-2 loss.

“He had everything going,” catcher John Buck said. “He was

electric with his fastball and he really made good pitches when he

had guys in situations where he needed to put them away, especially

in the heart of the lineup.”

While Mejia has been sharp, Edinson Volquez has been anything

but.

Volquez (8-10, 5.80) has walked 4.28 batters per nine innings,

the highest clip in the NL and one that’s largely contributed to

his league-worst ERA.

The right-hander failed to get out of the fifth inning Monday,

allowing eight runs, nine hits and three walks in 4 1-3 innings of

a 14-2 loss at Colorado.

He might not fare much better Saturday. Volquez is 0-5 with a

7.76 ERA in six career starts against New York and was lifted two

batters into the fourth inning on Opening Day in Queens, getting

charged with six runs in an 11-2 loss.

The Mets (56-64) will look to add to their recent power surge.

After hitting just three home runs over their first eight games in

August, they have nine in their last seven – including three in

Friday’s 5-2 victory.

They have homered in all five games they have played against the

Padres, with nine overall.

Travis d’Arnaud certainly has the potential to add to that

total. The Mets’ prized prospect and perhaps the best catcher in

the minor leagues is set to make his major league debut on Saturday

while John Buck is on the paternity list.

D’Arnaud fractured a bone in his left foot in April, missing

three months, but he hasn’t looked rusty in Triple-A Las Vegas. The

24-year-old had a .487 on-base percentage and 1.041 OPS in 19 games

with the 51s, drawing 21 walks in 78 plate appearances.

“He’s done very well there,” general manager Sandy Alderson told

the team’s official website. “His approach offensively has been

terrific. He’s throwing the ball well. So we’ll see what he

offers.”

The Padres (54-68) could definitely use an injection of life

offensively. They’ve scored 25 runs while losing eight of 10.

Jesus Guzman is 2 for his last 17 with six strikeouts, while

Chase Headley is 2 for his last 20 with nine strikeouts.

Will Venable, who has fanned five times in the first two games

of this series, has struck out nine times in 17 at-bats against the

Mets.