Jacob deGrom

deGrom Inches Closer To Cy Young

That Cy Young Award is now so close for Jacob deGrom he can almost taste it. While Max Scherzer and Aaron Nola have slipped this month, deGrom continues setting records.

With his win tonight (A WIN!), he broke the record he shared with Bob Gibson and Chris Carpenter for consecutive quality starts in a season.

In his seven innings of work, deGrom allowed just one earned on three hits with a walk and eight strikeouts. He would lower his MLB best ERA to 1.77.

After Wilmer Difo hit a second inning sacrifice fly, deGrom would only yield one base hit. That lone base runner wouldn’t get past first.

Unlike other games where deGrom has taken the loss for a terrific start like this, he would get that rare win.

Amed Rosario hit the first pitch of the game for a double. Victor Robles misplayed it, but Rosario didn’t head to third. For a moment, it looked like Rosario would be stranded there, but Jay Bruce blooped a two out single to give the Mets a 1-0 lead.

After the Nationals tied it in the second, the Mets got the lead again in a big three run third.

That rally was started with Michael Conforto and Bruce hitting consecutive one out doubles off Nationals starter Joe Ross.

Dominic Smith brought home Bruce with a key two out RBI. After an uncharacteristic Anthony Rendon error allowed Todd Frazier to reach, Devin Mesoraco doubled home Rosario.

At that point, it was 4-1 Mets, and deGrom was in the drivers seat. Effectively speaking, both offenses went completely silent. That meant the cushion the Mets have deGrom was more than sufficient.

Seth Lugo pitched a scoreless eighth, and Robert Gsellman had an eventful ninth. He’d get through it allowing just one run with some help as Conforto made a leaping catch to take a hit away from Bryce Harper.

With the 4-2 win, both the Nationals and deGrom now see their records at .500. With how the season has gone,

Game Notes: After not playing in over two weeks, Mesorsco was 3-for-3 with a double, RBI, and

https://twitter.com/mikemayermmo/status/1043316071770537984?s=21

Mets Outlast Nationals

Like two nights ago, the Mets had the opportunity to take out one of the leading Cy Young candidates to help Jacob deGrom‘s Cy Young case. Like with the game against Aaron Nola, the Mets dealt a small blow but could not deliver the knockout punch.

The Mets did try. In the third, Michael Conforto and Jay Bruce went back-to-back to give the Mets a 3-0 lead.

The one weakness in Max Scherzer‘s game this year was the long ball, and the Mets took full advantage. Conversely, the major strength in Scherzer’s game was the strikeout, and he mowed down the Mets.

After the Bruce homer, the Mets had just one hit and one walk, which did allow Scherzer to go seven. In total, Scherzer increased his lead over deGrom in innings and strikeouts, but his ERA rose .04.

For a while, it seemed as if the Mets were going to hit Scherzer with a loss because somehow someway Jason Vargas was out-pitching Scherzer.

The only damage against Vargas was an Anthony Rendon two run homer in the sixth. Seth Lugo, as part of his 1.1 innings, got the final out of the inning to preserve the 3-2 lead.

After Scherzer was pulled, the Mets immediately went to work against left-handed reliever Matt Grace.

Jeff McNeil hit a leadoff triple, and he’d come home on a Bruce single past the drawn-in infield to give the Mets a 4-2 lead. It wasn’t enough for this Mets bullpen.

Anthony Swarzak allowed the first two to reach in the bottom of the eighth, and Daniel Zamora would come on to face Bryce Harper. In the lengthy at-bat. Zamora would get the best of Harper who just missed out as he flew out to deep right field.

Maybe because it was because he opted to take the bullpen cart, but Robert Gsellman would surrender the lead. He first run came on a Rendon groundout, and the second scored on a Juan Soto RBI double.

With that, Scherzer was off the hook. With us living in a world where deGrom may win the Cy Young with a losing record, the loss was probably inconsequential.

The game would go extras, and the Mets seemed poised to end it early with them loading the bases in the 10th with just one out.

However, even with Greg Holland losing the strike zone having thrown seven straight balls, Jack Reinheimer swung at a 1-0 pitch and hit a soft tapper to Holland, who started the inning ending 1-2-3 double play.

In that 10th inning, McNeil was surprisingly sent up to bunt. In that at-bat, home plate umpire made a few very questionable strike calls, including ruling McNeil bunted at a pitch. This led Mickey Callaway to flip and earn his second career ejection.

In the 11th, Brandon Nimmo hit a leadoff double, and he would be stranded there.

What was surprising was how Jacob Rhame returned serve. After allowing a leadoff double to Ryan Zimmerman, who tagged up and moved to third on a Matt Wieters line out, Rhame would strike out Mark Reynolds and Victor Robles to end the inning.

Finally, in the 12th, the Mets retook the lead.

Amed Rosario led off the inning with a single off Jefry Rodriguez, and this time, McNeil would get the bunt down.

The bases were loaded after Conforto was intentionally walked, and Bruce walked after him. Jose Lobaton pinch hit for Rhame, and he delivered with a go-ahead sacrifice fly to give the Mets a 5-4 lead.

Paul Sewald was given the 12th, and he delivered his second career save with a 1-2-3 inning. Just because it was a 1-2-3 inning, it doesn’t mean it was uneventful.

After Heyward was called out on a pitch outside the strike zone, he argued the call, and he was tossed by Home Plate Umpire D.J. Reyburn. Heyward didn’t even bother going to the clubhouse. Instead, he watched the final out from the bench.

Come next week, Harper will join the Mets in watching games from the bench as the Nationals will soon be eliminated from the postseason.

Game Notes: Wilmer Flores was shut down for the rest of the year after being diagnosed with arthritis in his knees.

Matz Helped His Friend, Mets Didn’t Help Matz

The Mets had won 19 consecutive games in which a Mets pitcher had hit a homer.  That included Steven Matz‘s last start when he had homered.  Well, Matz woud hit a homer again in this game giving you hope it was going to be 20 straight:

That homer came off of Aaron Nola, and it not only gave the Mets the lead, but it put a little dent in Nola’s Cy Young case.  Certainly, Matz was cognizant of that as after Matz trotted around the bases, he walked up to Jacob deGrom and said, “That was for my friend.”

Really, Matz did all he could do to help deGrom win the Cy Young.  In addition to the homer, Matz was good on the mound.  In his five innings, he would allow just two hits while walking five and striking out four.  In addition to the hitting and pitching, Matz would make an incredible behind the back catch to start a double play:

With the four walks, Matz’s pitch count was up.  At 91 pitches, it made the decision to pinch hit for him in the top of the sixth an easier one than it normally would be.

At the time the Mets had a 2-0 lead because Dominic Smith would double home Brandon Nimmo in the fourth inning.  Smith and Nimmo would take part in another two out rally in the fifth.  After Nimmo walked because, well that’s what he does, and Dom singled, Gabe Kapler would pull Nola and put it Pat Neshek.  Neshek walked Kevin Plawecki to load the bases, and Mickey Callaway sent up Wilmer Flores to pinch hit.

Flores would strike out on three pitches.

That Flores strikeout was a missed opportunity.  With the inherited runners on base, it was a chance to put a further dent in Nola’s Cy Young wishes.  It was also a chance to tack on some needed runs.

The Mets would add .02 to Nola’s ERA which probably won’t have much impact on his Cy Young chances.  Because the Mets failed to take advantage of the opportunity, they would also miss a chance to saddle Nola with the loss. Well, it was the missed chance and the bullpen implosion.

Jerry Blevins started the fire by walking Carlos Santana and hitting Aaron Altherr with a pitch.  Callaway then brought on Drew Smith, who just could not get anyone out.  First, it was a Wilson Ramos single.  Then a Justin Bour double.  Finally, Jorge Alfaro homered.  Anthony Swarzak would come on and get the Mets out of the inning without allowing another run.

But by then, it was too late.  The Mets fell behind 5-2, and they did not have another run in them.  It didn’t matter much as the chance to really dent Nola’s Cy Young case went by the wayside.

Game Notes: In a recent BBWAA poll, deGrom was overwhelming voted as the Cy Young winner.

deGrom Having An All-Time Great Mets Season

In addition to Jacob deGrom making a case for him to win the Cy Young, he has also been making an impact on the Mets record books.  At the moment, he is the Mets all time leader in K/9 and ERA+.  He has also moved to second place all-time in ERA, third place in FIP, and he’s cracked the top 10 in strikeouts.  In essence, deGrom has moved into Jerry Koosman territory, and really, he is knocking at the door of being considered along with Tom Seaver and Dwight Gooden as being in the upper echelon of Mets pitchers.

With respect to Gooden, we all know his best year was 1985.  That year was not just the best year any Mets pitcher has ever had, it is among the best seasons any pitcher has ever had.  That year, Gooden was the unanimous Cy Young going 24-4 with a 1.53 ERA, 0.965 WHIP, 229 ERA+, 2.13 FIP, 268 strikeouts, 8.7 K/9, and a 12.2 WAR.  After a record setting rookie season, you could see him at least threatening to challenge Seaver for the best ever in Mets history.  Alas, it wasn’t to be.

Perhaps, that was the mark of just how great Seaver was.  Looking at his Mets career, it is hard to pick just one season which defined his greatness.  After all, he does have three Cy Youngs, which remains the most in Mets history. Looking over his Cy Young seasons, his 1971 and 1973 seasons really stand out.

In 1971, Seaver was 20-10 with a 1.76 ERA, 0.946 WHIP, 194 ERA+, 1.93 FIP, 289 strikeouts, 9.1 K/9, and a 10.2 WAR.  In 1973, Seaver was 19-10 with a 2.08 ERA, 0.976 WHIP, 175 ERA+, 2.57 FIP, 251 strikeouts, 7.8 K/9, and a 10.6 WAR.

As an aside, it is astounding to see Seaver have two seasons that great.  Really, he was unparalleled in his greatness.  To put it in perspective, when R.A. Dickey won the Cy Young in 2012, he had a 139 ERA+ and a 5.7 WAR.  Seaver had eight seasons with at least a 139 ERA+ and eight seasons with at least a 5.7 WAR.

Looking back to Dickey’s 2012 season, he had a season good enough to beat out Clayton Kershaw to make him the third Met to win the Cy Young award.  While it was good enough to beat Kershaw, the best pitcher of this generation, it is nowhere as good as the season deGrom is having right now.

So far through 30 starts, deGrom is 8-9 with a 1.78 ERA, 0.950 WHIP, 207 ERA+, 2.05 FIP, 251 strikeouts, 11.0 K/9, and an 8.6 WAR.

Now, that is a season on par with what we have seen with Seaver and Gooden.  That FIP is better than what Gooden had in his all-time great 1985 season.  His ERA plus is better than what Seaver had in his aforementioned Cy Young seasons.  In fact, deGrom’s current ERA+ is even better than any season Seaver has posted in any season.

In essence, once you are mentally able to move past the win-loss record, deGrom is having one of the best seasons a Mets pitcher has ever had.  Depending on your gauge, it can be fairly ranked anywhere in the top five of Mets single season pitching performances.

Remember, the list goes beyond just Seaver and Gooden.  There were also great seasons from Pedro Martinez, Johan Santana, Koosman, and Matt Harvey.  However you look at it, deGrom belongs near or atop the list of single season performances.  More than that, deGrom is becoming one of the best pitchers in Mets history . . . if he wasn’t one already.

deGrom Improved Cy Young Case

Heading into the Month of September, Jacob deGrom was probably the favorite to win the Cy Young, but it was still anyone’s game with Aaron Nola and Max Scherzer having great seasons of their own.  So far this month, deGrom has separated himself ever further from the pack.

In Nola’s three September starts, he is 1-2 with a 5.60 ERA.  Scherzer had a decent start to the month until his loss to the Braves on Friday.  In that start, Scherzer allowed six earned in four innings.  Now, he’s 1-1 with a 5.40 ERA in the month.

Like Nola and Scherzer, deGrom has seen his ERA rise this month.  Still, deGrom’s 2.70 ERA this month is half of Scherzer’s.  That is also because deGrom had a “bad start” in Boston.

For deGrom, it was the bottom of the third in Boston which derailed what had looked to be a truly special start.

After striking out six of the first seven Red Sox batters he faced, Rafael Devers and Christian Vazquez hit back-to-back singles to put runners at the corners with one out.  Mookie Betts brought home Devers with a sacrifice fly.  This is normally where deGrom would get out of the inning, but he would leave one up to Brock Holt, who hit a two run homer to give the Red Sox a 3-0 lead.

Right then and there, deGrom’s streak of 26 starts not allowing more than three earned and his 21 consecutive quality starts streak was on the line.  From there, there were points where you thought deGrom wasn’t going to reatch the sixth.  In fact, Mickey Callaway had Jerry Blevins warming at one point.  There may have also been points where you thought he would allow another run.

He didn’t.

Instead, deGrom would go seven innings allowing the three earned on five hits with one walk and 12 strikeouts.  The 12 strikeouts were really impressive.  Entering the game, the Red Sox were the second hardest team to strike out (19.7%).  In the game, deGrom would strike out 12 of the 27 batters (44.4%) he faced.

Importantly, the Mets would rally to tie the score and get deGrom off the hook.  In the sixth, Amed Rosario would follow an Austin Jackson single to put runners on second and third with no outs.  Jeff McNeil would not hit a liner deep enough to score a run, but Wilmer Flores would  . . . barely:

 

Unfortunately, Betts would get hurt on the play.  It should shift Jackie Bradley, Jr. to right with Tzu-Wei Lin in center.  Michael Conforto would then hit a double to deep center to tie the game.  It’s debatable if Bradley would’ve gotten to it.  Regardless, the Mets were down a run.

They would tie it in the seventh on a two out RBI single by Rosario.  Brandon Nimmo was 90 feet away from scoring the go-ahead run and giving deGrom the lead, but McNeil couldn’t bring him home.

WIth that, deGrom notced another no decision, and he still remains a game under .500, and yet, he he having an all-time great season.  In fact, with this start, deGrom tied Bob Gibson and Chris Carpenter single season mark for consecutive quality starts.  In the seasons Gibson and Carpenter set their marks, they won the Cy Young.

So should deGrom.

Game Notes: Seth Lugo took the loss after allowing a run in the eighth.

Mets Fail deGrom Again

Tonight was one of the few important games remaining on the Mets schedule because Jacob deGrom was starting.

Early on, it looked like deGrom had it all going. After issuing a leadoff walk to Rafael Ortega, deGrom struck out the side. In fact, he’d go the first 3.2 innings without allowing a hit.

Brian Anderson then hit a slow roller up that middle Amed Rosario couldn’t get to and Jeff McNeil could not field cleanly. Derek Dietrich singled cleanly to put two on with two out.

deGrom went 0-2 against Lewis Brinson, and he tried to go up in the zone to get out of the inning. He didn’t get it up enough, and Brinson drove it to deep center. Austin Jackson, who is in there for defense despite a -13 DRS, took a bad route and wasn’t nearly quick enough. Instead of being out of the inning, deGrom was down 2-0.

We knew the Mets weren’t getting him off the hook as they were providing deGrom with his typical run support. Really, Michael Conforto was the only one who showed up with his bats.

After being stranded at fourth with a leadoff double, Conforto would make sure he scored in his next at-bat as he homered off Jose Urena.

Overall, the Mets had four hits in the game. Two were by Conforto. The other two were by Dominic Smith and deGrom.

Even if the bats did get going, the bullpen would’ve made it a moot point.

JT Riddle, he of a career .371 SLG, hit a no doubt homer off Anthony Swarzak in the eighth. Robert Gsellman was tasked with keeping at 3-1 in the ninth. He didn’t.

He wasn’t helped out by Brandon Nimmo making an ill advised dive for an Anderson sinking liner. Instead of two on, it was an RBI triple. A Dietrich RBI double made it 5-1.

Overall, deGrom’s final line in the loss was 7.0 IP, 3 H, 2 ER, 2 BB, 9 K. This was his record 25th start in a row allowing three earned or fewer.

As noted by the eminent Jerry Beach, this was the 10th time deGrom allowing two earned or fewer over seven innings and did not get the win. There are only six pitchers to do this in 2018, and it’s only happened 10 times total.

In the end, deGrom is now 8-9 because the Mets two out rally in the ninth, highlighted by a Kevin Plawecki two run homer, sputtered out with a Rosario broken bat ground out.

Mets lost 5-3 in a game they could’ve helped deGrom.

Game Notes: Todd Frazier was ejected for arguing balls and strikes. McNeil moved to third, and Wilmer Flores played second. The Mets had 9/11 patches on their caps. Again, there were no First Responder caps.

Dominic Smith Re-Emerges

In some ways, today’s game was not about standing in the Phillies way of making the postseason. Rather, it was more about putting a dent in the Cy Young candidacy of Aaron Nola to help Jacob deGrom.

That would start with Jay Bruce hitting a first inning homer, and it would continue thanks to the younger players on the Mets roster.

In the third, Brandon Nimmo did what he does best – walk on a 3-2 count. Mickey Callaway then swung into action ordering a hit-and-run with Jeff McNeil at the plate.

Nola would make a tough pitch, but with McNeil being excellent with his bat control, he was able to put a cricket swing on the pitch and hit it into right field for an RBI double.

For a moment, it looked like Bruce was going to drive home McNeil, but he was robbed by Carlos Santana.

At that point, it was tied at 2-2 with Steven Matz matching Nola pitch for pitch. Over his five innings, he allowed two earned on three hits while walking two and striking out eight.

Those two runs were the result of a Santana homer. As it would turn out, Santana would not be the only first baseman flashing leather and hitting homers.

In a surprise decision, Dominic Smith got the start at first against one of the best pitchers in the National League despite not having started a game in over a week. Despite the difficult circumstances, Smith would deliver:

That homer would tie the game at 3-3, but the Mets would not be able to pull this one out as the young bullpen was not up for the task.

Eric Hanhold made his second MLB appearance in the sixth, and Odubel Herrera hit a leadoff double. He’d come home to score on an Asdrubal Cabrera RBI single.

Tyler Bashlor entered in the seventh, and he dominated the Phillies with two strikeouts and a pop out. The problem would be Callaway left him in for the eighth.

In the eighth, Rhys Hoskins hit a leadoff homer to put the Phillies up 4-3. The Phillies couldn’t muster a rally past that as McNeil and Smith combined to make a phenomenal defensive play:

Overall, the Mets would increase Nola’s ERA from 2.23 to 2.29, but they would also give him his 16th win of the season. Time will tell if this will be sufficient to help deGrom.

Game Notes: While downplaying the possibility David Wright will return this season, John Ricco admitted he has not spoken to Wright.

Trivia Friday: Multiple Mets In Cy Young Voting

With the way Zack Wheeler has pitched in the second half of the season, you can certainly see him getting some Cy Young votes.  With Jacob deGrom being a favorite for the award (or at least among the leaders), we should see two Mets in the Top 10 in Cy Young voting.  If this were to happen, it would mark just the fourth time in Mets history this has happened.  Can you name the pitchers who received votes the other times this happened?  Good luck!


Jerry Koosman Jon Matlack Tom Seaver Bob Ojeda Ron Darling Dwight Gooden Sid Fernandez Frank Viola Bret Saberhagen John Franco

Mets Teetering On Irrelevance

Tonight, the new NFL season officially begins with the Atlanta Falcons taking on the defending Super Bowl champion Philadelphia Eagles.  With that, for the first time since Alexander Ovechkin and the Washington Capitals claimed their first Stanley Cup, Major League Baseball no longer has the stage all to themselves.

That’s a big problem for the New York Mets.

On Sunday, the Mets are going to take on the Philadelphia Phillies at the same time the New York Giants will begin their season at home against the Jacksonville Jaguars.  With respect to the Giants, they are a team featuring a new head coach, the second overall pick from the draft, and of course, future Hall of Famer Eli Manning.

On Monday, the Sam Darnold Era begins as the Jets travel to Detroit to play the Lions on Monday Night Football.  At the same time, the Mets will be hosting the Miami Marlins on Bark at the Park Night.

Certainly, the early NFL season offers optimism for both Jets and Giants fans.  It also features young and exciting players who fans hope will serve as the cornerstones of their respective franchises for the next decade.

By the same token, the Mets have decided it was not time to call-up Peter Alonso, and have instead opted to play Jay Bruce at first base.  For that matter, the team is not playing Dominic Smith at either first base or left field.  Apparently, the team believes fans want to see Austin Jackson play center field over Brandon Nimmo.

That’s the problem with the New York Mets right now.  Short of a Jacob deGrom start and possibly a Zack Wheeler start, the Mets are not offering you a real reason to tune into their games.  That was one thing during the summer when baseball was the only show in town.  However, with the NFL season staring along with your favorite TV shows beginning to roll out their season premieres, the Mets are going to fade further and further away.

Really, short of David Wright making a miraculous comeback, a proposition which seems less and less likely by the day, the Mets are not offering their fans much of a reason to watch.

Clearly, this is something which has been lost on the Mets franchise.  It’s not just that they are a bad team who is 13 games under .500.  Now, they’re a team overshadowed by the world around them.  For the moment, it is something that will affect just September viewership and attendance.  However, until the Mets fix something with their team, it is something that is going to plauge their 2019 season and beyond.

Certainly, this is something the Mets should be considering before they deem Manny Machado, Bryce Harper, or even A.J. Pollock too expensive this offseason.

Frazier’s Gil Hodges Moment

Part of Mets lore is Game 5 of the 1969 World Series when Gil Hodges brought a ball from the dugout to show that a Dave McNally pitch had actually hit Cleon Jones on the foot.

The very next batter, Don Clendenon, would take McNally deep to cut the Orioles lead to 3-2 en route to the Mets winning that game 5-3 securing the first World Series In Mets history.

The funny thing is the shoe polish wasn’t Jones’. Rather, it belonged to Jerry Koosman, who was instructed by Hodges to swipe the ball on his cleat so he could present it to the umpires.

To this day, we never quite found out if the ball really hit Jones’ foot. What we do know is that proved to be a pivotal moment in a shocking upset.

While it certainly was not of the same magnitude or lasting impact, we can now say Todd Frazier is up to the same level of trickanery as Hodges.

While everyone initially believed this to be a play reminiscent of the one Derek Jeter made against the Red Sox (which is absurd as Jeter caught that ball in fair territory and continued to run into the stands), it was much more like Hodges and Koosman.

As Frazier explained, he didn’t make, or rather, complete the catch. Instead, as luck would have it, there was a rubber ball laying on the ground. Frazier picked up the ball, showed it to the umpire who then ruled Alex Verdugo out, and he tossed the ball back into the stands.

Eventually, the Mets would tie the game and win it with a Brandon Nimmo pinch hit three run homer. The homer came too late to give Jacob deGrom the win.

However, in a season where deGrom has received criminally low run support, at least players like Frazier are looking for any which way to help deGrom win the Cy Young.