Mets' Tapia untouchable for five frames

Right-hander strikes out two, lowers ERA to 0.90 through two starts

Domingo Tapia has struck out five and walked four over 10 innings in two starts. (Tom Hagerty/

By Sam Dykstra / | April 13, 2014 5:43 PM ET

Domingo Tapia is back in the Florida State League for the second straight season following some control issues in 2013. So far, the return trip has been filled with much more sunshine.

The Mets' No. 15 prospect struck out two over five no-hit innings Sunday afternoon to pitch Class A Advanced St. Lucie to a 6-2 win over Fort Myers.

Tapia (1-1) retired his first five batters before walking Stuart Turner in the second. He didn't allow another batter to reach until the fifth, when Turner took advantage of a throwing error by second baseman Dilson Herrera. He also walked Travis Harrison before retiring Tyler Grimes to end the inning.

"I thought right out of the gate he had it going," St. Lucie manager Ryan Ellis said. "Right from the start, he was getting ahead of guys, and this is a good hitting club, a good-managed club, so it's not easy. I thought right away he had the control and was able to repeat his delivery, which especially for Domingo is such a big thing right now."

Ellis's comments were a reference to Tapia's 2013 struggles.

The native of the Dominican Republic made his first trip to the FSL last season but never quite handled the Class A Advanced level. He struggled with command, issuing 63 walks in 101 1/3 innings (5.6 BB/9). As a result, he went 3-9 with a 4.62 ERA and was sent back to St. Lucie to start this season.

The early results have been much better. He allowed one run on three hits over five frames against Palm Beach in his season debut on April 6, suffering a tough-luck loss along the way. After Sunday's string of zeros, he owns a 0.90 ERA and 0.70 WHIP in two starts.

"It's all about repeating a good, solid delivery," Ellis said. "He's trying to be more compact and his arm slot is being a lot more consistent. He's getting behind the ball much better than before and that makes everything so much easier. He was just trying to be too fine, and at least to this point, we haven't seen that."

Given his struggles last time around in the FSL, this impressive start might be even more important for the right-hander than the average hurler. Ellis believes that while that might be true, the team and the organization are paying more attention to his presence on the mound than his results. So far, Tapia is ticking all the right boxes.

"Obviously, it's important for anyone, but he's here for a reason, regardless of how's he doing up to this point," Ellis said. "He still has a job to do, and to this point, he's been up to the task. It's a really good start, so we're happy with that."

Reliever Seth Lugo gave up a one-out single to Jorge Polanco in the sixth to break up the Mets' no-hitter.

Herrera -- New York's 11th-ranked prospect -- went 4-for-5 with a double and a run scored from the top of the lineup. Gilbert Gomez was 2-for-2 with a homer, two RBIs and a pair of walks.

Sam Dykstra is a contributor to This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.

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