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Another deGrominant start tops the Marlins

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Jacob deGrom and the offense were great. The bullpen, not so much.

New York Mets v Miami Marlins Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images

In an unnecessarily stressful game, the Mets completed the sweep with a 6-4 over the Marlins. Jacob deGrom was masterful on the mound, and the early season runs kept coming for the revamped Met offense. Unfortunately, the early season bullpen woes—both managerial and performance-based—continued, and a 6-0 lead in the ninth quickly turned into a dicey situation that required an appearance from Edwin Diaz.

Let’s talk about Jacob deGrom’s performance, because his excellence is so consistent at this point, it’s underappreciated how truly incredible he is. For the first five innings, deGrom allowed only two single and a pop-fly ‘double’ (should have been an error on Amed Rosario) while striking out nine. He routinely ripped off 94 or 95 mile per hour sliders, which, for context, looks something like this:

Yeah, that’s pretty good. Then, in the sixth and seventh, deGrom seemed to notice that Marlins starter Trevor Richards had a pretty good changeup and said to himself ‘that looks fun.’ deGrom proceeded to roll out his own devastating changeup over his last two innings of work, striking out five of seven batters and striking out the side in the seventh, all on changeups. He effectively transitioned from dominating with an absolutely ridiculous fastball-slider combo to clowning people with what is probably his third or fourth best pitch. It’s really impossible to overstate how ridiculous that is.

On the offensive side, the Mets had another great night at the plate. Amed Rosario got things going with an RBI triple in the second that scored Keon Broxton, and Jacob deGrom gave himself some insurance in the third with a solo home run. It was the second home run of deGrom’s career and, oddly, only the fourth home run the Mets have hit through the first six games of the season. A booming double off the bat of Peter Alonso that narrowly missed leaving the yard stretched the lead to three runs two batters after deGrom’s bomb.

After a drought in the middle innings, the offense got cranking again in the seventh. Alonso ripped a 100+ MPH single to left, then scored on an opposite field double from Robinson Cano. In the eighth, J.D. Davis reached on an error, moved to second on a ground out, then scored on one of the weirdest bounces you’ll ever see when a Dominic Smith ground ball bounced off the lip of the grass over the head of Starlin Castro. A single from Wilson Ramos brought in Smith shortly thereafter, and the Mets had a 6-0 lead.

Those insurance runs wound up being very important, as the Met bullpen stumbled again. After Luis Avilan recorded a clean eighth inning, Mickey Callaway made the extremely questionable decision to send Avilan back out for a second inning, rather than using Tim Peterson or Robert Gsellman to start off the ninth. That predictably backfired, and Avilan didn’t record an out before allowing a run and leaving two men on base for Gsellman.

Gsellman fared only slightly better, inducing a weak, run-scoring ground out and striking out Jorge Alfaro before allowing two more hits that brought Curtis Granderson to the plate as the tying run in a 6-4 game. That forced Mickey Callaway to bring in Edwin Diaz - who has already been overworked this season - to record a one out save and secure the win.

The ends of the games weren’t pretty, but the Mets pulled off the sweep in Miami as they jump out to a 5-1 start. Jacob deGrom’s performance also tied Bob Gibson’s record for consecutive quality starts, at 26, and was the first 14 strikeout game by a Met pitcher since John Maine’s herculean effort at the end of the 2007 season. The Mets will now head back to New York for their home opener against the Nationals on Thursday night, when Noah Syndergaard squares off against Stephen Strasburg for the second time this season.

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What’s WPA?

Big winners: Jacob deGrom, +49.2% WPA; Amed Rosario, +12.1% WPA
Big losers: None
Total pitcher WPA: 31.3% WPA
Total batter WPA: 18.7% WPA
Teh aw3s0mest play: Amed Rosario’s RBI triple in the second, +13.3% WPA
Teh sux0rest play: Curtis Granderson walks in the sixth, -4.5% WPA