In a match-up of 2018 Cy Young award winners, Jacob deGrom bettered Blake Snell with another shortened but near-perfect start.
Leaving after just 80 pitches through six innings, deGrom did just about everything needed himself to secure a victory, as the Mets took the series opener 3-2 against the Padres Friday night at Citi Field. After a masterful performance against the Padres the previous Saturday, deGrom resumed his MVP-level form, and even added two RBI to support his own pitching efforts.
After giving up an infield hit to Jonathan Villar in the top of the first, Snell matched deGrom batter-for-batter, forcing Francisco Lindor to ground into a double play and setting down the next seven batters without much issue. But deGrom bettered his counterpart through the first four innings, striking out eight of twelve Padres batters without allowing a single baserunner.
Snell ran into his first bit of trouble in the bottom of the fourth, allowing his second hit to Villar to start the inning. Walks to James McCann and Pete Alonso loaded the bases with one out, but Snell got out of his jam cleanly by inducing a check-swing double play on a first-pitch curveball to Dom Smith.
Wil Myers spoiled deGrom’s perfect game with a one-out single in the top of the fifth. McCann immediately threw out Myers on the base paths soon after, and Villar ended the inning catching a pop-fly in foul territory. The pop fly proved to be an adventure, with Villar avoiding a tipped-over bucket of rolling baseballs while securing the third out, prompting shrieks from the crowd and embarrassment from a Padres dugout attendant.
Kevin Pillar led off the bottom of the fifth with a looping hit to left field, leveraging a weak throw from Tommy Pham to stretch a single to a double. Billy McKinney then struck the next pitch down the right field line for a double, scoring Pillar and giving the Mets a 1-0 lead. After a José Peraza walk and a Snell balk to advance both runners to scoring position, deGrom flexed his clutch batting with single to left field. This hit drove in both runners, gave deGrom a 3-0 lead, and knocked Snell out of the game.
deGrom left the game after just 80 pitches, and finished his outing facing the minimum number of Padres batters through six innings and striking out ten of them. His velocity in the last two innings dipped to the high 90s, which likely prompted a discussion with the training staff and the decision to pull him from the game. In his post-game press conference, deGrom stated that he had been feeling inflammation in his elbow throughout the week and does not think he will miss his next start.
With deGrom out of the game, the Padres broke through in the top of the seventh against Miguel Castro with a double from Fernando Tatís Jr. and a two-run home run by Jake Cronenworth to cut the lead to one. A walk to Manny Machado bumped Castro out of the game, triggering a Seth Lugo appearance that ended the inning without any further damage.
After giving up a leadoff single to Ha-Seong Kim in the top of the eighth, Aaron Loup struck out Victor Caratini and got pinch hitter Jorge Mateo to ground out. Aiming to secure the victory, manager Luis Rojas called on Edwin Díaz for the four-out save, which started with a Pham flyout to end the inning.
Díaz struck out both Tatís and Cronenworth to begin the ninth inning, but kept the Padres hopeful after allowing a bloop single to Manny Machado. Eric Hosmer entered the game to pinch hit for Myers, and after a contentious plate appearance that included a sharp line drive down the right field line that might’ve tied the game if it had not landed foul, Díaz secured the save by forcing Hosmer to pop out to McCann in foul territory.
With the Phillies enjoying the day off, the Mets lead in the division now stretches to four games, tying the White Sox for the biggest division lead in baseball. The Mets and Padres will play again tomorrow afternoon with a 4:10 PM scheduled start time. All-Star hopefuls Marcus Stroman and Joe Musgrove are scheduled to pitch for the Mets and Padres, respectively.
*illar of the game
Tie. Villar went 2-4 and added a stolen base, while Pillar kickstarted the offense with a double and a run in the fifth inning. It doesn’t really feel fair to choose today.
Win Probability Added
Big Mets winner: Jacob deGrom, +30.8% WPA
Big Mets loser: Dom Smith, -22.5% WPA
Mets pitchers: 46.1% WPA
Mets hitters: 3.9% WPA
Teh aw3s0mest play: Billy McKinney RBI double
Teh sux0rest play: Jake Cronenworth home run