Since May 26, the Mets are third in the majors with a 3.18 (151 earned runs/427.0 innings) team ERA and there’s a good reason for that positive development, his name, Jeremy Hefner.
Since June 4, Jeremy Hefner leads the majors with a 1.76 ERA (10 earned runs/51.0 innings) over eight starts. Pittsburgh’s Francisco Liriano is second with a 1.89 ERA.
Hefner has allowed two earned runs or fewer in those eight starts, the longest such stretch since Johan Santana had 13 straight such starts from 2008-2009. Hefner’s streak of allowing two or fewer earned runs over eight starts is tied for the third-longest by a Mets pitcher since 1990.
The 26-year old righthander is second on the team to Matt Harvey with 13 quality starts this season, and he has hurled a quality start in nine of his last 10 starts.
Terry Collins chose Hefner to open the second half of the season tonight against the Philadelphia Phillies, who have been one of the few teams he has struggled against. But as I’ve said all year long, one of Hefner’s most admirable qualities is how quickly he adapts and makes adjustments. I’m certain that tonight he will be ready for them and the biggest concern will amount to run support.
Although tonight’s lineup has yet to be posted, Collins seems to have anointed Anthony Recker as Hefner’s personal catcher based on comments he made before the All Star break.
In Hefner’s seven appearances with Recker, he’s posted a 1.88 ERA and opponents are hitting .185 against him. His numbers with Buck behind the plate are not very appealing at all. Sometimes pitchers and catchers can form a special bond that brings out the best in both of them. That seems to be the case here as offensively, the poor hitting Recker seems to find at least one big hit whenever Hefner is on the mound.
Getting back to Hefner, he’s had a remarkable first half and I expect that success to continue. In case you missed it during the break, I also wrote this post about Hefner when I heard he’d be going home to Moore, OK for the first time since his hometown was devastated by a killer tornado. I hope you enjoy it.