How is Chris Bassitt able to keep the quality of his pitches high, even after throwing 114 of them?
Well, he "works his butt off."
On Monday, the Mets, riding high after taking four out of five from the rival Atlanta Braves, faced off against the Cincinnati Reds at Citi Field.
Bassitt toed the rubber for New York and yielded just one run (unearned) over eight innings of work. The Mets had to burn just one reliever in the game, Adam Ottavino, who continued his strong season and shut the door for the team's fourth consecutive victory.
The formula to Bassitt's success is simple, according to Buck Showalter. He has moxie.
"Just moxie, Showalter said after the 5-1 victory on Monday. "He’s such a competitive guy. He doesn’t let something necessarily dictate how he feels. He’s got a good hand and a good feel. That’s something that’s hard to quantify. He’s a guy who likes to compete and do what’s expected of him."
The 33-year-old has a 3.39 ERA in 21 starts this year, and has now thrown at least six innings in nine consecutive starts.
Bassitt's 114 pitches on Monday were a season high. The right-hander has become a reliable pitcher who can go deep into games for the Mets and rack up a high pitch count. In fact, he has the top five highest pitch counts by a Mets pitcher this year.
"I want to go 115-120 pitches every start, but Buck won't let me," Bassitt joked on Monday.
Even with having the top five highest pitch counts this year, Showalter said it's not intentional.
"It’s by the game, it’s not him personally," Showalter said. "The game seems to dictate that, and he can hold his stuff. A lot of factors on his side. I can give you about seven or eight that not everybody has in baseball.
"It’s a good delivery, he’s strong, he’s in good shape. There’s a lot of factors there, but you watch a game and it usually tells you how a guy is doing as opposed to some number all the time."
Bassitt is a free agent after this season, and is making a strong case to stay in New York.
In the mean time, having a durable arm who can wear down hitters to slot in behind Max Scherzer and Jacob deGrom in the rotation is a nightmare for any opposition.