All of 2017 has been a long, slow, painful, ride to Disappointment Street, but the Mets’ 7-1 victory in Atlanta last night was a pleasant reminder of what once was and a preview of what could be.
It was a showdown on the mound between the Mets’ current ace and R.A Dickey, the Mets’ former ace who himself and surprised the league and won the Cy Young for the Mets in 2012. The Mets did not have to wait long until another pitcher’s work was recognized by the league. Two years later, Jacob deGrom made his debut despite being less heralded than their other pitching prospects. He too surprised the league and took home the Rookie of the Year honors. Since then Dickey has been a capable, but not dominant pitcher, whereas deGrom’s name can be mentioned among the best in the league.
The first inning of this game was not at all indicative of how this game would go for both pitchers. Dickey breezed through the top of the Mets lineup, but Jacob deGrom did not fare as well in the bottom half of the inning.
The current ace has not been quite as dominant as the season is drawing to a close, and first innings especially have been troublesome for the righty. Ender Inciarte made an out, but it took deGrom eight pitches to induce the flyout from the leadoff hitter. Ozzie Albies followed with a four-pitch walk and Freddie Freeman singled to put runners on first and third with one out.
Despite his recent struggles, deGrom is still an ace for a reason. He escaped the inning without any runs scoring when he struck out Nick Markakis, and Kurt Suzuki popped up to end the inning. For the rest of the outing, deGrom was the typical deGrom Met fans have gotten to know since his debut in 2014. The Braves had very little to work with for the rest of the night and could never put together a rally.
The one time they did some luck was involved. With two-out in the seventh, Amed Rosario got into position to field a ground ball off the bat of Johan Camargo. The ball, however, had other ideas. It hit the second base bag, and took a sharp left turn to settle in the area Rosario had just vacated. Jace Peterson followed and laced a single into left, and all of a sudden the Braves were in business when Matt Adams came up to the plate as a pinch hitter. Despite nearing 100 pitches, deGrom managed to strike Adams out with a 97 mph fastball to end his night.
He left the game after pitching seven strong innings and striking out seven. He walked two and allowed five hits. His only blemish was a Freddie Freeman solo shot in the sixth.
deGrom had been searching for his 15th win for awhile, and the offense backed him up in this one. Gavin Ceechini was the standout offensively with his 3-for-4 at the plate and two RBIs. It is still a mystery would he can bring to this team offensively, but this certainly was encouraging outing. He and Juan Lagares had RBI singles in the second to give the Mets an early 2-0 lead.
R.A. Dickey was not fooling the Mets’ lineup overall and they started the third with three straight doubles. That brought the score to 4-0 and when Dickey’s night was done he lasted just five innings and gave up five runs on eight hits.
Coming into the game Dominic Smith was batting .300/.375/.620 with a .995 OPS for the month of September. If the Mets want to contend in the near future, he figures to be an important piece of the team and he kept up his hot hitting again in this game. He capped the Mets’ scoring when he blasted a double to right in the seventh and brought home both runners.
Jeurys Familia came in for the eighth and gave up a hit but that was all. AJ Ramos was not as good in the ninth since he had not pitched in over a week. He allowed two runs to score but he finished it off and Jacob deGrom finally had his 15th win after four tries.
Jacob deGrom was a big piece of the recent Met success and with him looking like himself, and being backed up with some hot hitting youngsters, this game was hopefully a preview of some success that is to come.
SB Nation GameThreads
Win Probability Added
Big winners: Jacob deGrom +20.2%, Gavin Ceechini +16.1%
Big losers: None
Teh aw3s0mest play: Gavin Ceechini RBI single in second
Teh sux0rest play: Freddie Freeman single in first
Total pitcher WPA: +21.2%
Total batter WPA: +28.8%
GWRBI!: Dominic Smith