Jeremy Hefner threw strikes & emphasized his change-up

In last night’s 6-2 win over the Padres, Jeremy Hefner allowed a run on five hits with two strikeouts in six innings.

“I think I held my own, especially being a rookie and learning kind of on the fly,” Hefner said after the game.

Hefner improved to 2-4 and lowered his ERA to 5.04 for the season.

“[Hefner] has done a great job,” Terry Collins said afterwards. “We’ve got a full week to find out what happens. “If we need a [spot start], [Hefner’s] got it.”

In 50 innings this season, Hefner has walked ten batters, one of which was intentional.

Michael Baron, Contributor

Hefner was great last night. The thing is, it wasn’t much different than most of his other starts this season – he threw strikes, pitched to a ton of contact, and gave the team quality innings and a chance to win. When he’s pitched well this year, he hasn’t been particularly lucky – he has an xFIP of 3.91 which is indicative of that. But for a guy who doesn’t get many swings and misses, he needs to completely command the strike zone in order to be successful, and he did an outstanding job of commanding both sides of the plate with all four of his pitches last night. He threw more than 15 pitches once in an inning last night, and that was in his sixth and final inning of the night.

One of the adjustments Hefner’s made recently has been the emphasis of his change-up. Last week, he didn’t throw quality strikes with it in San Francisco but he did a great job in doing so last night. Again, he didn’t get many swings and misses with it, but he didn’t miss much with it either and was able to induce insignificant contact by keeping the Padre hitters very off-balanced.

When Johan Santana gets back, Hefner will go to the bullpen. He has earned an opportunity to start, but there is no other obvious candidate who has the ability to pitch in long relief. Hefner has shown he has that ability, more so than any other pitcher this season Why? Because he throws strikes consistently and doesn’t walk many batters. That gives him the ability to provide length in  long relief and can give the Mets chances to win in that capacity.