Jacob deGrom the hitter laid down a near-perfect bunt in the third, which was good to see from a Mets pitcher. Jacob deGrom the pitcher also laid down a near-perfect outing on the hill, which was awesome to watch. If you want your young players to lead by example, he did a real nice job of that this afternoon.
A back door slider which caught a bit too much plate against Matt Carpenter in the first inning was deGrom’s only pitch that the Cardinals could handle today. After Carpenter hit that pitch for a poke single to left, deGrom set down the next 23 batters in a row, giving the Mets a boost they desperately needed after two blowout losses and secured a split at home against a team that came in with the best record in baseball.
The first five outs deGrom recorded were via strikeout, but the Cardinals battled him early on, fouling off a number of tough offerings and making him throw 40 pitches through the first two innings. It looked early on like the Mets needed deGrom to go deep in this one, as the offense was unable to capitalize on leadoff walks to start each of the first three innings and hit into three double plays in the first four frames.
So deGrom did what an ace does: he dug in and got stronger and smarter as the game went on. He mixed his pitches well, living on the black, regularly hitting 97 on the gun and generating a lot of swings-and-misses where it looked like the hitter simply had no chance. Even as he pitched to contact more later in his outing, it was to his advantage, as he got his pitch count under control. He finished with 104 pitches over 8 innings, 11 strikeouts, and a 2-0 lead.
There was even good news for the scuffling Mets offense by the end of the day. They whacked nine hits and drew seven walks, and their first baseman—who Keith affectionately refers to as "Little Luke"—had a big day. Lucas Duda looks locked in against lefties right now, and today against two different southpaws he crushed two no-doubt long balls to an almost identical spot in right-center field. On the season, Duda is now hitting .409 against lefties after hitting .180 against them last year, and four of his five home runs have come against lefties.
Duda’s three-run home run in the eighth finally gave the Mets some breathing room on an afternoon where the team squandered baserunners in every inning. They had eked out a run when John Mayberry snuck a ground ball past a diving Carpenter with the bases loaded in the fourth, but they left the bags packed twice in the game. There were other things you could nitpick about—Juan Lagares getting thrown out on the bases and Jeurys Familia being used in the ninth with a five run lead—but really, it’s easier and far more rewarding to lean back and bask in the glory that was Jacob deGrom.
If he keeps pitching like this, it will be deGrom’s world. But for now, deGrom day, followed by Thor’sday, followed by Harvey Day sounds like a darn good way to approach the weekend.
SB Nation GameThreads
Win Probability Added
Big winners: Jacob deGrom, +44.8%; Lucas Duda, +17.9%; Michael Cuddyer +9.5%
Big losers: Wilmer Flores, -10.7%; Eric Campbell, -9.1%; Rich Grichuk, -8.3%
Teh aw3s0mest play: Lucas Duda's solo home run in the sixth, +11.5%
Teh sux0rest play: Eric Campbell grounds into double play with bases loaded in fourth, -12.7%
Total pitcher WPA: +45.2%
Total batter WPA: +4.8%
GWRBI!: John Mayberry