In a four-plus-hour game at a cold and damp Citi Field, the Mets dropped an ugly game to the Twins, 14-8. Jacob deGrom entered the game with a 0.00 ERA on the young season and tied with Bob Gibson with 26 consecutive quality starts. All of that went away early on in the game, and deGrom looked uncomfortable and disappointed for most of his time on the mound.
The game started late due to a rain delay, and it was by far the coldest and dampest game the Mets have played thus far in 2019. The game also saw the reigning Cy Young winner throw to his third different catcher of the season, with the returning Travis d’Arnaud making his first start of 2019. Whether those were among the reasons that deGrom was uncomfortable are unknown at this point, but they certainly couldn’t have helped.
deGrom gave up runs in very un-deGrom ways: home runs and a wild pitch accounted for five of the six runs he gave up in his four innings of work. Mitch Garver hit his first and second home runs of the season, and Eddie Rosario hit a two-run shot in the third inning. A triple to Jorge Polanco led to a run scoring on a deGrom wild pitch. The final run of his start came in the form of a Byron Buxton double and a Max Kepler single.
Twins’ starter Kyle Gibson was staked to an early lead, but did not have a very easy time of it, either. Brandon Nimmo and Michael Conforto each hit both a double and a home run off of Gibson, and he also gave up two hits to Amed Rosario and walked three over his four and two-thirds innings.
Once deGrom departed, the next three innings went reasonably well for the Mets, with Seth Lugo and Luis Avilan combining for three runs of one-run ball. In the bottom of the seventh, Pete Alonso hit a solo home run, continuing his hot start.
When Robert Gsellman entered the game in the eighth, it was 7-4 Twins. Another Byron Buxton double, a Pete Alonso error, and a Jorge Polanco home run put another three runs on the board. Jason Vargas, on the shelf until Saturday due to the off-days, gave up four ninth inning runs, to make it 14-4, and the game seemed out of reach.
But the ninth inning was a bizarre rollercoaster for Mets fans. A second Pete Alonso home run, a bases loaded walk to Jeff McNeil, and a fielder’s choice off the bat of d’Arnaud led to four additional runs, but the hole was just too deep. Of course, if Alonso had properly fielded a ball in the eighth, and if Vargas didn’t give up four additional runs, who knows?
There were a few, smaller, bits of enthusiasm as well this evening. d’Arnaud made a pair of nice throws, including one to catch Max Kepler stealing to end the third inning. And, aside from a solo home run given up to Jonathan Schoop, Lugo looked far more like himself over his two innings pitched. His curve ball looked far crisper than it had during his early struggles, though Lugo was still getting hit harder than he’s been accustomed to thus far in his career out of the bullpen.
On Wednesday night, Jake Odorizzi faces off against Noah Syndergaard for the series finale.
SB Nation GameThreads
Win Probability Added
Big winners: Amed Rosario, +17.9% WPA, Michael Conforto, +14.1% WPA, Brandon Nimmo, +10.0% WPA
Big losers: Jacob deGrom, -46.2% WPA, Jeff McNeil, -16.6% WPA, Travis d’Arnaud, -12.8% WPA
Total pitcher WPA: -52.3% WPA
Total batter WPA: +2.3% WPA
Teh aw3s0mest play: Eddie Rosario hits a two-run home run in the third, -18.0% WPA
Teh sux0rest play: Amed Rosario hits an RBI double in the second, +17.5% WPA