The Mets got back into the win column on Tuesday night at Citi Field in a game that became way closer than it ever should have been. Taking the mound for the first time in a week after the Mets COVID-19 induced stoppage of play, Jacob deGrom had his best start of the season, and proved once again why he’s the best pitcher in the game.
deGrom came out of the gates firing, throwing his fastball at a much higher rate than he has all season. After working around a walk in both the first and second innings, deGrom was nearly unhittable for the rest of the game. The only damage the Marlins were able to muster up against him came in the fourth inning when Matt Joyce blooped a leadoff double into the outfield as no Mets were able to get to the ball. Joyce was then able to reach home and score for the Marlins as the next two Miami batters grounded out on weak contact advancing Joyce.
The Mets’ bats came out swinging to start the game as they were able to give deGrom early run support. After Michael Conforto and J.D. Davis reached base on back-to-back singles in the first inning, Robinson Cano drove in Conforto on a ground rule double in the right centerfield gap. Had it not gone over the fence, Davis would have scored as well.
Michael Conforto then continued his strong night in the bottom of the third, leading off the inning with a towering solo shot deep into the Coca-Cola Corner. Brandon Nimmo got in on the solo home run fun as well, hitting one in the fifth, before Conforto scored his third run of the game later than inning, getting driven in on a Dominic Smith groundout which made it 4-1 Mets.
Given ample run support on the night, Jacob deGrom was able to finish his night strong. deGrom pitched seven innings for the first time all season, and retired the last nine batters he faced. Of those last nine batters, he struck out seven of them, giving him 14 K’s on the night. Those fourteen strikeouts tied his career high, which came in a start against the Marlins last season. He finished the night with 104 pitches, one run allowed on two hits, with fourteen strikeouts and two walks.
With Seth Lugo out of the bullpen, the Mets were left with less options to finish the game and secure the win. Justin Wilson, pitching for the first time in eight days, came on to start the top of the eighth and immediately found himself in trouble. After allowing three of the first four batters he faced to reach base, Edwin Diaz came on in relief of Wilson with one out to try to escape out of a bases loaded jam. Diaz was able to strike out Jesus Sanchez, the first batter he faced, to have two men away in the inning. Then, Jesus Aguilar lined a line drive to J.D. Davis at third base. Davis was unable to field the ball cleanly, though he did stop the ball from going into the outfield, and allowed one Marlin to score and to put the Mets’ lead at 2.
Diaz then found himself in more trouble as he walked Corey Dickerson and the Mets’ lead was down to just one run. Then, with Diaz behind 2-1 to Brian Anderson, it appeared Diaz was injured and left the game in the middle of the at bat with what appeared to be a limp. Brad Brach then came in and threw two straight balls to walk Anderson and allow the Marlins to tie the game.
Robinson Cano led off the bottom of the eighth in what was now a tie ball game. Cano blooped an opposite field single over the shift to get the Mets started in the inning while Billy Hamilton came on to pinch run for him. After Pete Alonso flew out to right, Jeff McNeil hit a ground ball to the pitcher in what appeared would result in an inning ending double play. Marlins pitcher Nick Vincent apparently had other plans as he could not field the ball cleanly and was only able to throw out McNeil at first as Hamilton advanced to second. This gave way to the struggling Wilson Ramos to deliver in a big spot, and that’s exactly what he did. With two men away, Ramos singled to right field and Hamilton flew around the bases to score the go ahead run for the Mets. Brad Brach then came back out in the top of the ninth and worked around a one out walk to win the game for the Mets.
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Win Probability Added
Big Mets winner: Brad Brach, +29,3% WPA
Big Mets loser: Edwin Diaz, -34.4% WPA
Mets pitchers: 7.7% WPA
Mets hitters: 42.3% WPA
Teh aw3s0mest play: Wilson Ramos singles to right, Billy Hamilton scores, +28.1% WPA
Teh sux0rest play: Brian Anderson walks, Jon Berti scores, -23.6% WPA