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deGrom’s rebound not enough for the Mets in loss to Reds

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Jacob deGrom was great, but his team let him down.

Cincinnati Reds v New York Mets Photo by Elsa/Getty Images

Jacob deGrom showed up but the rest of the Mets didn’t in a 1-0 loss to the Reds. deGrom bounced back from his recent struggles, demonstratively stating that he’s still one of the best pitchers in baseball. Unfortunately, the Mets’ offense couldn’t break through against Anthony DeSclafani and a handful of Reds relievers, spoiling another great start from their ace.

deGrom came out of the gate firing, throwing 13 straight fastballs for strikes to start the game. The control issues that had plagued his recent starts were nowhere to be found, and he made the Reds look silly for three perfect innings. Things got a bit dicey in the fourth, after Brandon Nimmo had a fly ball clank off his glove for a two base error to start the frame, but deGrom worked around that miscue, a walk, and an HBP to keep the Reds scoreless and hitless through four.

In typical Mets fashion, the offense didn’t show up at all to support their ace. Despite putting runners on in the first, third, and fourth, the Mets never put together a real threat against DeSclafani. A double from Robinson Cano with two outs in the sixth finally chased the Reds’ starter, but Wandy Peralta induced a ground out from Michael Conforto to escape the threat.

Meanwhile, deGrom lost his no-hit bid in the fifth, allowing a one out single to the opposing pitcher. Unphased, the revived ace continued to hold the Reds at bay, working around baserunners in the fifth, sixth, and seventh and preserving the shutout. deGrom finished his outing with six strikeouts in seven innings, allowing only three hits and a pair of walks. It’s never safe to assume, but it looks like deGrom has worked through his little slump.

J.D. Davis and Amed Rosario finally put together a real scoring chance in the bottom of the seventh, with two singles putting runners on first and second with one out. Wilson Ramos was called on to pinch hit for Tomas Nido, but Reds reliever Jared Hughes - who came into the game with a 5.56 ERA and a .286 batting average allowed - struck out Ramos and induced a ground out from Dominic Smith to keep the game scoreless.

Ryan O’Rourke made his Mets debut in the eighth inning and recorded two outs before walking Jesse Winker. It was a fun moment for a pitcher who has struggled to return to the majors since Tommy John in 2016, but it’s also a bit concerning that the Mets are turning to such options in a tie game in the eighth. Seth Lugo replaced O’Rourke and was bailed out by a great play from Jeff McNeil in left field, who made a leaping catch on a line drive off the bat of Yasiel Puig to retire the side.

After the Mets went in order in the bottom of the eighth, Edwin Diaz entered for the top of the ninth. It was the second time in three days that Diaz came into a tie game in the ninth, and the results were unfortunately very similar. After recording the first two outs, Diaz hung a slider to Jose Iglesias, who lined a solo home run over the left field wall for the first run of the game. The Mets once again went in order in the ninth, and the game was over.

The shutout loss is the Mets’ third of the year, and it drops their record back to an even .500 at 15-15 on the season. In a tight National League East race, it’s important for the Mets to get wins against some of the weaker teams they’ll face, and hoping for a split against the Reds really isn’t ideal. Noah Syndergaard will take the mound this afternoon for a matinee in the finale of this four-game set.

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What’s WPA?

Big winners: Jacob deGrom, +41.2% WPA
Big losers: Edwin Diaz, -32.7% WPA; Brandon Nimmo, -13.6% WPA; Michael Conforto, -12.3% WPA
Total pitcher WPA: +18.2% WPA
Total batter WPA: -68.2% WPA
Teh aw3s0mest play: Scott Schebler grounds into a double play in the seventh, +16.2% WPA
Teh sux0rest play: Jose Iglesias’s homers in the ninth, -42.6% WPA