ST. LOUIS -- The worst two-start stretch of Jon Niese's career forced the Mets' left-hander to look in the mirror. Literally.
Niese spent this week refining his mechanics in front of a weight room mirror, trying to keep his body tall and on a straight line. Those were the issues that he considered crucial to his recent struggles, resulting in 15 runs over his last two starts.
"Whenever I had free time, I just stepped in front of a mirror and went through my mechanics, and made sure everything's on line," Niese said. "I can feel when it's right."
Though Niese will not know for certain whether the problem is fixed until he takes the mound Thursday at Busch Stadium, he considered his between-starts bullpen session his best of the year. In an attempt to change his recent fortunes, Niese threw more max-effort pitches in the session than usual.
He insisted that he felt completely healthy doing it, no longer experiencing the back soreness that plagued him earlier this month.
"It was just good to get a good workout in, being able to cut loose in the bullpen," he said. "I've been cutting pitches off, short-arming it. It felt good just to kind of let the arm go."