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deGrom tried to do it all himself, but it was not enough

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Even Jacob deGrom throwing bullets and hitting them could not rescue the 2018 Mets from yet another defeat.

MLB: Atlanta Braves at New York Mets Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports

The Mets lost 2-1 to the Atlanta Braves, meaning that the Braves are now 5-0 against Jacob deGrom this year, despite deGrom having a 1.09 ERA in those starts. The Mets continue to reach new peaks of mediocrity with every deGrom start. deGrom is now the first pitcher in 102 years with an ERA under 2.00 and a losing record in the first 22 starts of a season. If the Mets were even a halfway decent baseball team, deGrom would be the clear favorite for the NL Cy Young Award.

As it stands, these are the 2018 Mets so instead I have the unfortunate distinction of writing yet another chapter in the book of Jacob deGrom’s lamentable season. The Braves got off to a quick lead in the second inning when Johan Camargo launched a solo home run with two outs. As he did all night, deGrom recovered and struck out Charlie Culberson swinging. He would go on to strike out Culberson three times en route to nine strikeouts on the night. Shockingly enough, he was assisted by his defense in the top of the third when Ronald Acuna Jr. slapped a one-out single up the middle. Ozzie Albies followed with a grounder in the hole between first and second, but Jose Reyes made a nice sliding stop to throw Albies out at first. Jose Bautista in his first game at first base as a Met then had the presence of mind to fling the ball across the diamond to get Acuna trying to advance to third base to complete the 4-3-5 double play and end the inning.

The Mets then came back to tie the game in the bottom of the inning. Amed Rosario led off with a double. Devin Mesoraco then grounded out to third, but Jacob deGrom helped himself with a single to drive in Rosario and knot the game up at one run apiece. Brandon Nimmo then walked to give the Mets first and second with just one out. But Bautista and Conforto both struck out swinging to put an end to what would end up being the Mets’ best scoring opportunity of the night. Anibal Sanches would go on to strike out nine Mets—a season high—and Rosario’s double and deGrom’s single turned out to be the Mets’ only hits on the night.

In the top of the fifth, deGrom recorded two quick outs and seemed on his way to an easy inning, but Acuna and Albies hit back-to-back doubles to plate the go-ahead run that would be the difference in the game. deGrom finished his night strong, retiring ten straight Braves after they took the lead, giving the Mets ample time to come back.

But Sanchez held them to just the one run through his six innings of work and the Braves bullpen made relatively easy work of the Mets. Dan Winkler pitched the bottom of the seventh and gave up a leadoff walk to Austin Jackson, but Reyes flied out and Rosario grounded into a double play to end the inning. Jesse Biddle pitched a 1-2-3 eighth, with the assistance of a nice diving grab by Nick Markakis to rob Mesoraco of a base hit. Wilmer Flores pinch hit for deGrom and flew out to right, closing the book on deGrom. deGrom went eight innings for the fourth time in his last five starts, during which he is 0-3. He struck out nine batters.

Anthony Swarzak continued his recent string of success by pitching a 1-2-3 ninth inning to give the Mets one last shot to pick up deGrom. The Mets had a glimmer of hope in the ninth when Todd Frazier reached on an error by Camargo to put the tying run on base with two outs. But Jackson promptly grounded out to first to end the game and put another undeserved loss on deGrom’s ledger.

Zack Wheeler takes the mound for the Mets in the third game of this four-game series at Citi Field against Kevin Gausman in his first start as a Brave.

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What’s WPA?

Big winners: Jacob deGrom, +14% WPA
Big losers: Michael Conforto, -16.9% WPA, Devin Mesoraco -13.7% WPA
Teh aw3s0mest play: Jacob deGrom’s RBI single, +12.5% WPA
Teh sux0rest play: Ozzie Albies’ go-ahead double, -15.2% WPA
Total pitcher WPA: 17.4% WPA
Total batter WPA: -67.4% WPA
GWRBI!: Ozzie Albies