Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Beaten Path

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Beaten Path

Article excerpt

NEW YORK - Three innings before Hansel Robles surrendered the go- ahead runs Saturday, there were boos for Mets starter Jon Niese.

The lefty struggled for the fourth straight outing, putting the team in an early hole and causing the Citi Field crowd of 39,095 to let out its frustration.

While the Mets rallied to tie, they eventually fell to the Marlins, 9-5, on Saturday. Niese allowed five runs in four innings and Robles yielded a two-run single to Christian Yelich in the seventh that gave Miami the lead for good.

"I'm concerned because I have yet to see him in my time here ever pitch where he makes the number of mistakes he's made," manager Terry Collins said. "Dan [Warthen] has been trying to get his two- seam working; it hasn't been. We've got some work ahead."

After a sensational start to his season that had him with a 1.95 ERA on May 9, Niese has endured a rough stretch.

Niese has allowed 23 runs (20 earned) spanning 20 innings in those starts, and has surrendered at least four earned runs in each of them, which is a career-worst stretch. Niese has battled arm and elbow issues in the past, but insisted he's healthy.

Niese didn't have much working for him during his brief outing, allowing seven hits on 82 pitches while failing to last five innings for the second straight outing. He said he's experiencing difficulties with his two-seam fastball, a pitch he relies on.

With the Mets leading 1-0 in the second, Niese allowed a two-run double to Donovan Solano. Giancarlo Stanton hit a deep home run to center on a fastball to push the advantage to 3-1 in the third.

Niese surrendered a two-run homer to left to light-hitting catcher J.T. Realmuto in the fourth that gave the Marlins a 5-1 lead, eliciting the boos.

"It's frustrating more than anything because my arm feels great and my body feels great, and it seems I've been trying to execute my pitches instead of actually executing them," Niese said. …

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