Maybe the Mets’ season isn’t quite over yet. At least that’s the way it felt last night when the team completed its series-opening win over the lowly Phillies, as Jacob deGrom was fantastic for seven innings and the offense scored just enough runs—two, to be exact—to win the game. And while all of that was going on, the Nationals were in the process of getting walloped by the Cardinals.
There’s clearly risk in getting your hopes up too much right now, but what looked impossible just a week ago only seems incredibly unlikely now. And given the way things have gone for the Mets this year, that’s a pretty significant upgrade. The playoff odds at Baseball Prospectus give the Mets a 7.6 percent chance, while FanGraphs paints a more optimistic picture at 13.1 percent. It’s good to keep all of that in perspective, but at least in the short term, the Mets have had a good enough week to float the concept of relevance as the season plays through its final three months.
With the way deGrom pitched last night, you’ll be forgiven if your optimism is through the roof, or if you put it out of your mind that a recently-shaky Zack Wheeler starts today while a maybe-finally-improved Rafael Montero takes the mound in the series finale on Sunday. The only thing you were probably wondering while deGrom pitched was whether or not he might throw a no-hitter—and whether or not his pitch count would be unlimited in his attempt to do so.
That question was put to rest in the top of the fifth, with deGrom already at 80 pitches, when Curtis Granderson lost a routine fly ball in the twilight and had it drop behind him for a no-hitter-ending triple. The Mets were already up 2-0 at that time, thanks to RBI singles from Granderson in the second and Travis d’Arnaud in the fourth, and so the immediate focus was on the loss of the no-no. But given the pitch count reality—and even given Terry Collins’s line after the game that he was going to let deGrom go deep—it would have taken some serious pitch-count efficiency for him to go the distance.
But the loss of the no-hitter really shouldn’t be dwelled upon too much, and the play that followed the Granderson misplay was a good reminder of that. Ty Kelly, the utility man who has bounced around since the Mets designated him for assignment early in the year, singled to drive in a run. It turned out to be the Phillies’ only run of the night, but it made the game more interesting than it had to be.
And in the end, deGrom still pitched seven innings, allowed just that one run, struck out twelve, issued one walk, and gave up only three hits. He’s now sitting on a 3.55 ERA for the season, which isn’t quite deGromian yet, but it’s down from its 4.75 high point, which he hit on June 6 in the second of his ugly back-to-back starts that now seem like a distant memory.
After deGrom departed, the Mets’ bullpen wasn’t perfect, but the combination of Jerry Blevins, Paul Sewald, and Addison Reed kept the Phillies from scoring another run. And with that, at least for another day, it felt like this Mets’ season, 37-42 record and all, is still alive.
SB Nation GameThreads
Win Probability Added
Big winners: Jacob deGrom, +32.9% WPA, Addison Reed, +15.2% WPA, Curtis Granderson, +11.2% WPA
Big losers: Wilmer Flores, -18.7% WPA
Teh aw3s0mest play: Curtis Granderson singles in a run in the second, +10.9% WPA
Teh sux0rest play: Wilmer Flores hits into an inning-ending double play with the bases loaded in the first, -14.6% WPA
Total pitcher WPA: +59.5% WPA
Total batter WPA: -9.5% WPA
GWRBI!: Travis d’Arnaud