For the Mets to have any shot at making an improbable run at the postseason at this point in the season, all hope lies in them winning every Jacob deGrom start. They got what they needed last night, although it wasn’t exactly how they drew it up. Their ace, who has been superhuman throughout much of his career, was merely ordinary last night, an unsettling sight to say the least, but his teammates were able to bail him out.
deGrom turned in easily his worst outing of the 2020 season, and perhaps one of the most disappointing of his brilliant career. The numbers aren’t quite as bad as some outings of the past, including his clunker against the Twins at Citi Field or his implosion in Miami against the Marlins, both of which happened just last year.
But it was the timing and the stunning nature of last night’s second inning debacle that really came as a shock. When all was said and done, he lasted just 40 pitches and was charged with three earned runs on two innings, the first time he’s allowed more than two earned runs in 14 starts dating back to last year. With that, his ERA rose to a still-impressive 2.09, but one which places him fifth in the NL and put a serious dent in his chances to win a third straight Cy Young.
After the Mets went quietly in the first two frames, save for a Michael Conforto first inning single, and after deGrom danced around an Andrew McCutchen single on the first pitch of the game to pitch a scoreless first, Philadelphia’s got to work in the second. Jean Segura, who is quickly becoming a certified Mets Killer™️, led off the inning with a double. Andrew Knapp, who registered a solo homer against deGrom in his last outing against the Phillies, scorched a double that ricocheted off Dominic Smith’s glove and went into right. Michael Conforto’s throw bounced off Andres Gimenez for an error, which advanced Knapp to third.
It was apparent early on that deGrom was not fooling anyone with his fastball. While the velocity was where we’re accustomed to seeing it, he wasn’t locating as effectively as he typically does, and Philadelphia was jumping all over it. At one point in the inning, Jake looked over to the Mets dugout, at which point Gary Cohen wondered if something might be up with the ace. After Scott Kingery walked, Adam Haseley brought home the second Phillies run with a sacrifice fly, and Roman Quinn followed with a rope to right that put runners on the corners with one out.
After Quinn swiped second, McCutchen hit a grounder to short that Gimenez threw home. Wilson Ramos dropped the ball, although it looked like Kingery would have scored regardless of Ramos mishandling it. The inning mercifully ended when Bryce Harper struck out and the aforementioned Ramos alertly picked McCutchen off of first base. That was the final pitch deGrom would throw in his upsetting outing, and he was later spotted in the dugout speaking to a trainer and Jeremy Hefner. He was pulled and diagnosed with right hamstring spasms, which is something that he mentioned he felt in his last start.
From there, Michael Wacha replaced deGrom and retired the first two batters he faced before surrendering a solo shot to Segura—who else? However, Wacha ended up turning in arguably his best outing as a Met while in relief, with four solid innings of one-run ball. He gave up five hits, but he struck out three and didn’t walk a batter while keeping the Mets within striking distance while they mounted their comeback.
The Mets started chipping away at the deficit starting in the fourth. J.D. Davis, who was easily the team’s best player tonight, doubled into the right-center field gap to kick things off. It would be one of three extra base hits for Davis on the evening, each one playing a pivotal part in the team’s scoring. Smith grounded out to the right side of the infield to advance Davis, and Robinson Cano hit a grounder that brought Davis home for the first run.
Just Dingers Davis lived up to his name in the sixth as he brought the Mets to within a run against Zack Wheeler. Brandon Nimmo led off the frame with a double and, after Conforto grounded out, Davis connected on a 2-1 pitch and drove it over the right field wall to make it a one-run ballgame, which is where it stayed until the eighth inning when New York knotted things up, again thanks to Davis’ heroics. Wheeler retired pinch hitter Luis Guillorme to start the inning, and was removed by Joe Girardi in favor of Adam Morgan.
After Morgan induced a ground out from pinch hitter Pete Alonso, he walked Conforto to bring up Davis. The third baseman hit a deep fly ball that evaded the glove of the center fielder Quinn. Upon replay, it appeared that Conforto was unaware of how many outs there were, and he hesitantly inched his way towards second before breaking into a full sprint for the plate. He was able to get around the slide and score for the team’s fourth run.
With their season on the line, the Mets turned to Miguel Castro in the eighth after Justin Wilson turned in a 1-2-3 seventh. Segura, yet again, started the inning with a single, but Castro recovered to punch out Knapp. Kingery followed with a walk, but Castro came back to strike out Haseley. With the season hanging on his right hand, Castro K’d Quinn to end the inning.
Girardi turned to Hector Neris for the ninth, and Cano reached first on a rocket up the middle on a quick pitch from the Phillies hurler. Todd Frazier, who was inexplicably starting this game with a right-hander on the mound, struck out, but with Jeff McNeil at the plate, Neris balked to put the pinch runner Amed Rosario at second. The Phillies responded by intentionally walking McNeil to bring up the rookie Gimenez, who floated a single into center to give the Mets their first lead of the game. With a chance to add to the damage, the club ran itself out of an inning when Jake Marisnick struck out and a comical baserunning display led to Rosario being tagged out while breaking for home.
The Mets turned to Edwin Diaz in the ninth after he had struck out the side in Tuesday night’s game. He was able to repeat that feat in this contest while working around a two-out single to give New York a huge win. With 11 games to go, the Mets still find themselves on the outside looking in of the National League playoff picture, but they’re still alive. They are 2.5 back of the Phillies and four back of the Marlins for second in the East. They also need to leapfrog the Giants, who own the final playoff spot, as well as the Brewers, Cardinals, and Rockies. New York will turn to Seth Lugo to try and secure a series victory later tonight.
SB Nation GameThreads
Win Probability Added
Big Mets winner: J.D. Davis, 44.0% WPA
Big Mets loser: Jacob deGrom, -18.9% WPA
Mets pitchers: 23.8% WPA
Mets hitters: 26.2% WPA
Teh aw3s0mest play: Andres Gimenez go-ahead single in the ninth, 27.6% WPA
Teh sux0rest play: Andrew Knapp run-scoring double in the second, -12.2% WPA