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deGrom struggles, but the Mets still find a way to win

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The Mets exploited the Phillies win to walk off another game.

MLB: Philadelphia Phillies at New York Mets Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports

The Mets split the doubleheader with the Phillies Friday in two very similar and close games, both walk-offs. So in order to secure even just a series split, they had to win today. Now, that seemed like easy work seeing as Jacob deGrom was taking the mound again in the midst of a historic season. All the Mets had to do was put one or two runs up on the board and the rest would be smooth sailing. Well, the Mets have never known smooth sailing or easy victories, so of course they couldn’t have foreseen Jacob deGrom having a rough outing (comparatively speaking) giving up two runs or Zach Eflin pitching superbly against them. But they still found a way to get it done in the end, mostly thanks to the Phillies dismal defense and terrible bullpen.

In the top of the first inning, deGrom got a very quick first out when Odubel Herrera popped out in foul ground to Pete Alonso. Rhys Hoskins caused a second of concern when he hit a laser to left, but Dom Smith was there to catch it for the second out. deGrom then made noted New York villain Bryce Harper look silly swinging at a strike at his ankles to strike out and mark yet another perfect first inning for deGrom. In the bottom of the first, Luis Guillorme led off for the Mets against Zach Eflin, and he got things off with a fly out to Odúbel Herrera in center field. Francisco Lindor then struck out swinging for the second out. Michael Conforto, who has good career numbers against Eflin, got hit by a pitch, putting a runner on base with two outs for Alonso. Alonso wasn’t able to make anything happen, grounding out to Alec Bohm for the force out to end the inning.

In the top of the second, deGrom got J.T. Realmuto to groundout to José Peraza at second base for the first out. Andrew McCutchen hit a ball that came back and hit deGrom on the caboose, then rebounded into center field for the first hit of the game. McCutchen then stole second, which was followed by a Luke Williams strikeout. Nick Maton then hit a single to right field, driving in McCutchen and ending deGrom’s scoreless inning streak. Ronald Torreyes then grounded out to Lindor, ending the inning. In the bottom half of the inning, Dom Smith led things off with a leadoff single to center field. James McCann hit a bloop single (that was initially called an out by the first base umpire but was quickly ruled a hit) and then José Peraza hit an RBI double, driving in Smith and moving McCann to third. Almora struck out, then deGrom came up to the plate in an RBI situation. He hit the ball to first, and Hoskins threw home with a lollipop throw, allowing McCann to almost score. But a combination of good defense by Realmuto and a poor slide by McCann had McCann ruled out at the plate. Luis Guillorme flew out to left field, leaving the game in a tie score once again.

Eflin led off against deGrom in the top of the third inning, and grounded out to deGrom to start the inning off with an out. Herrera then flew out to Almora in center field for the second out. Hoskins then struck out swinging on a slider to retire the Phillies in order. Lindor started off the bottom of the third by hitting a ball hard but flying out to Harper in right field. Conforto then grounded out to Torreyes at shortstop for the second out. Alonso then hit a ball to Maton at second that was nearly a hit but Hoskins scooped out the throw and kept his foot on the bag for the third out.

deGrom took his spot on the mound for the top of the fourth, and . deGrom got Harper to hit a ground ball to Lindor, but just before it got to him it hit the second base bag and took a nasty hop, causing Lindor to be unable to make the play and allowing Harper to get to first safely. After Harper stole second, Realmuto grounded out to Lindor, and with no nasty hop this time, Lindor made the play easily and held Harper at second. McCutchen then flew out to Conforto, and despite Harper stealing third during Williams’ at-bat, Williams struck out and put the risk of another run scoring to bed. In the bottom of the fourth, Dom Smith led things off with a strikeout looking. James McCann followed that with a ground out to second base, and Peraza finished things up with a pop out to Rhys Hoskins.

The top of the fifth was more of the same for deGrom. He struck Maton out swinging, got Torreyes to pop out to Lindor, then induced an inning-ending groundout from Eflin to Lindor, another perfect inning of the night. In the bottom of the fifth, Almora decided to do an encore of his at-bat earlier in the game and strike out swinging. deGrom then stepped up to the plate and got yet another hit, allowing the batting order to turn over with a man on first and only one out. Guillorme then flew out to Harper, leaving it to Lindor to get something done. Lindor couldn’t get a hit though, popping out to Torreyes at shortstop to end the inning and stranding deGrom at first.

deGrom went back to the mound for the top of the sixth, and immediately gave up a double to Herrera to lead off the inning. He then walked Hoskins and hit Harper, loading the bases with no outs for Realmuto. Realmuto flew out to Almora and it wasn’t deep enough to score a run, so the bases remained loaded with one out for McCutchen. McCutchen flew out to Almora, and that one was good enough to score Herrera, putting the Phillies in the lead again with two outs. Luke Williams, after running a full count, hit the ball back to deGrom who was able to make the easy play to Alonso to wiggle out of the inning without any further damage. In the bottom of the sixth, Harper was removed after being hit by the pitch in the top of the inning, and replaced in right by Travis Jankowski. The heart of the Mets lineup was up to bat, starting with Conforto, who drew a walk to immediately put a man on base with no outs. Alonso hit a ball all the way to the warning track in right-center field but it died there, marking the first out with Conforto still standing at first. Dom Smith had a similar at-bat but to dead center, putting another out on the board with a runner on base. James McCann hit a slow roller to third base, but after Luke Williams threw the ball away a routine close play at first became runners at second and third with Peraza at the plate. But Peraza hit into a groundout to third base, ending the potential rally before it even began.

Aaron Loup was the pitcher for the Mets to start the seventh, and started things out with a strikeout of Maton. Torreyes then hit a ball through the hole to put a man on first with Eflin coming up to the plate. Eflin hit a sacrifice bunt, moving Torreyes to second with the top of the Phillies lineup up to bat. Herrera grounded out to Guillorme at third to end the inning with the Phillies not scoring but still ahead by one run. In the bottom of the seventh Eflin was removed from the game for Ranger Suárez, and Jeff McNeil came in to pinch hit for Almora, and decided to pay tribute to Almora by striking out. Kevin Pillar then pinch hit for the pitcher, and Pillar immediately teed off on Suárez, hitting a home run into the bullpen to tie the game. Guillorme then hit a bloop single into left field, putting the go-ahead run on the basepath with Lindor stepping up to the plate. Lindor grounded to Suárez, but Suárez’s inability to cleanly field the ball cost him the chance at Guillorme at second and forcing him to settle for the out at first, putting the go-ahead runner in scoring position. Conforto struck out swinging to end the inning, stranding Guillorme at second.

For the top of the eighth Seth Lugo stepped up to the rubber for the Mets. Lugo started things out by getting Hoskins to fly out to right for the first out. Jankowski then grounded out to Peraza for the second out. Realmuto flew out to Conforto in right to end the inning, a clean inning for Lugo that maintained the tie score. Suarez came back out in the bottom of the eighth for the Phillies to face the middle of the Mets’ lineup. Alonso started the inning off with a groundout. Dom Smith kept the ball rolling (in the non-rolling sense) by striking out looking, bringing up McCann with two outs and no one on. The Phillies brought in Connor Brogdon to face McCann, and it ended in a totally predictable way, McCann striking out to end the inning.

In the top of the ninth the Mets brought in Edwin Díaz to keep the game tied. He started things off by hitting McCutchen and immediately putting a runner on with no outs. McCutchen then stole second base, his second steal of the day, putting the go-ahead run in scoring position. Díaz then walked Williams with ball four being an extremely wild pitch, allowing McCutchen to advance to third and putting runners at the corners with no one out. Díaz’s first pitch to Maton was outside and Williams took second with even an attempt to throw him out. Maton flew out to left but deep enough for McCutchen to tag up and score, putting the Phillies up 3-2. During Torreyes’ at-bat Williams attempted to steal third but McCann threw him out with Guillorme’s foot blocking the bag proving crucial to the Mets being able to stop the steal. Díaz struck Torreyes out to end the inning and bring the Mets up to bat with their backs against the wall.

In the bottom of the ninth the Phillies brought in Hector Neris to close the game. It started with Travis Blakenhorn pinch hitting for Peraza and hitting a ball right to Hoskins, who had difficulty fielding the hop and subsequently lost the ball at his feet, allowing Blankenhorn to reach first. Billy McKinney, batting for the pitcher, subsequently drew a walk, putting two on base with no outs and Pillar stepping up to the plate. Kevin Pillar then hit a ball past Williams that Torreyes dove and kept from going into the outfield, but it loaded the bases with no outs and the top of the order coming up. Guillorme was the next to bat, and after a prolonged at bat with a full count, Guillorme drew an RBI walk, keeping the bases loaded, still no outs, and the game tied. Lindor struck out swinging, bringing Conforto to the plate with one out. Conforto did all that needed to be done, flying out to center, allowing McKinney to tag up and score the winning run and walk off the Phillies.

In the end, deGrom’s ERA shot up to 0.69 (nice), and the Mets pulled out a win which allowed him to take a no-decision, something he’s done so often it should be called the Jacob deGrom special. They’ll head back out looking for a series win tomorrow with Marcus Stroman probably taking the mound after only pitching one inning in his last start. The Mets need to start hitting better, but there’s something to be said about the fact that when push comes to shove, they’re consistently able to find ways to win ball games. When the hitting comes, watch out.

Box scores

MLB.com
ESPN

Win Probability Added

Fangraphs

What’s WPA?

Big Mets winner: Kevin Pillar, + 48.8% WPA
Big Mets loser: Edwin Díaz, -32.2% WPA
Mets pitchers: -16.1% WPA
Mets hitters: +66.1% WPA
Teh aw3s0mest play: Kevin Pillar’s home run in the seventh inning, +25.7% WPA
Teh sux0rest play: Andrew McCutchen advancing to third on a wild pitch in the ninth, -12.1% WPA

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