Jacob deGrom took the loss after this one was over to end his eight-game win streak, but really it was both the defense and the offense that were the main culprits behind the 3-2 defeat in Seattle.
By now Mets fans are well acquainted with the two versions of Jacob deGrom that could take to the mound on any given day. Both versions were on full display in the 2015 NLDS against the Dodgers. There is the dominant deGrom of Game 1 who could go toe-to-toe with the most accomplished pitcher in the league, and there is the defiant deGrom of Game 5 who bends but doesn’t break and gives his team a chance to win. The latter deGrom showed up against the Mariners and he really only had one bad inning.
The way the second inning started was not ideal for the Mets’ ace. Nelson Cruz hit a ball off deGrom’s leg for a single and the inning unraveled from there. Kyle Seager blasted a double to put runners on second and third with nobody out. deGrom got Danny Valencia to strike out, but a scary incident occurred when the next batter, Mitch Haniger, was struck on the mouth with a deGrom fastball. Haniger was forced to leave the game and Guillermo Heredia took his place.
Jarrod Dyson was up next and deGrom got ahead of him but was unable to put him away. Dyson singled and two runs came home to give the Mariners an early lead. Dyson stole second but deGrom righted himself and struck out the next two batters to limit the damage.
In Neil Walker’s first game off the disabled list on Friday against the Mariners he got what would be the game-winning hit in the eighth inning. His fortunes reversed in his second game back. In the third inning, Robinson Cano hit a grounder for a potential double play, but Walker threw the ball wide at second base and no outs were recorded. Nelson Cruz hit a sacrifice fly to bring home the Mariners’ third run, which proved to be the deciding one.
After being unable to put batters away and racking up a high pitch count in the first few innings, deGrom settled in and did not allow another batter to reach base until the sixth. Seager drew a walk but left first base too early and deGrom fired to second to nail him and end the inning. That also ended the night for deGrom’s, who picked up another 10 strikeouts and allowed just the three runs, only two of which were earned.
deGrom’s win streak was on the line and it was up to the offense to help him out, but unfortunately they were unequal to the task against starter Yovani Gallardo. They had a shot in the fifth when they had two on and nobody out. Jose Reyes seemingly drew a walk to load the bases but the pitch was called a strike. Reyes eventually popped up and no runs would score that inning. Reyes had a tough day at the plate and left six men on base. With Amed Rosario so close to the majors, Reyes’s chances to contribute might be significantly reduced in the near future.
The Mets did eventually cut into the Mariners’ lead once Gallardo was pulled in the sixth inning. Tony Zych walked Wilmer Flores with the bases loaded to bring home the first run. Flores got a rally started in the ninth as well when he doubled to start the inning. Michael Conforto squeezed a single through the shift to cut the lead to 3-2, but that would be the final score when Asdrubal Cabrera struck out to end the game.
Yes, Neil Walker’s error was the difference in the game, but it wasn’t all bad on defense for the Mets. Michael Conforto went airborne and made a spectacular catch to help limit the damage in the third inning, and he saved a run in the eighth when he threw out Seager at home plate to keep the game close.
In the end it was the offense that came up empty nearly every time they had a chance to help themselves. In total they left 9 runners on base, and with the trade deadline looming, some of the offenders might not get a chance at redemption.
SB Nation GameThreads
Win Probability Added
Big winners: Wilmer Flores +21.7%
Big losers: Asdrubal Cabrera -31.2%, Jose Reyes -25.4%, Jacob deGrom -11.6%
Teh aw3s0mest play: Wilmer Flores walk in sixth
Teh sux0rest play: Jarrod Dyson RBI single in second
Total pitcher WPA: -8.3%
Total batter WPA: -41.7%
GWRBI!: Nelson Cruz