The Mets sent Jacob deGrom to the mound Sunday afternoon as they attempted to sweep their first home series of 2017.
The hard-throwing righty pitched brilliantly, allowing two earned runs on only three hits and three walks in six innings, striking out 10. It was a typical dominant daytime start for deGrom. He also left the game with a 5-2 lead in line for a well-deserved win.
“I thought I had pretty good stuff today,” deGrom said after the game. “Three hits, I don’t think any of them were hit very hard. I was able to locate pretty much when I wanted to.”
He did not get the win. Why not? The bullpen.
The first culprit was Paul Sewald. After walking the leadoff batter – never a good start – he allowed a single to Tucker Barnhart. After a strikeout and a groundout, Zack Cozart hit a three-run home run to tie the game at five and disqualify deGrom from getting the win.
Before moving on to the 8th inning, it is important you know some facts: First, since Jeurys Familia had returned from the disabled list, he had not appeared in a high-leverage situation. Second, since his return, he had not pitched on back-to-back days. Lastly, Familia pitched Saturday night.
Despite those truths, Terry Collins opted to bring in Familia in the 8th inning of a tie game – a day game after he appeared in a night game. What ensued was pretty much what you would expect to happen.
A single and a sacrifice bunt put a runner on second base with one out. Familia then fell behind Scott Schebler 3-0 before the Mets opted to just put him on first base intentionally in front of Tucker Barnhart. The Reds catcher lined a double to left-center field which scored two runs. Granted, with a better tag by Travis d’Arnaud the second run wouldn’t have scored due to a brilliant relay by Juan Lagares and Amed Rosario, but the run scored all the same.
Terry Collins was then ejected for arguing the play which was reviewed by instant replay, which is not allowed. A line-out and two walks later, the bases were loaded. After 26 pitches, Familia was removed from the game by acting manager Dick Scott.
So, the Mets went into the ninth inning down by two runs. Because he hadn’t pitched the day before and the Mets have an off day today, they made the smart move and brought AJ Ramos into the game to keep it close. The top of the order was coming up so they could have gotten two innings out of him if needed.
If only that were the case.
They brought in Hansel Robles who gave up a three-run home run to Tucker Barnhart to put the Reds up 10-5, the final score. Yes, he pointed to the sky as the ball glided into right field’s second deck.
After winning eight straight decisions, deGrom has gone 2-6 in his last eight games despite five of them being quality starts. He has been the victim of either a weak offense or an ineffective bullpen too often in his young career, and yesterday afternoon was no exception.