MLB: Pittsburgh Pirates at New York Mets

Game recap June 14: Well, at least it wasn’t a no-hitter

What Happened, In A Sentence:

The Mets barely got the ball out of the infield against rookie Jameson Taillon, losing 4-0.

Taillon Chews Up Mets Lineup

The Pirates had to scramble their rotation after Gerrit Cole went down with a triceps injury. Taillon played the part of an ace today in his second big league start. He stuck almost exclusively with his 95 mph fastball, sinker and a change-of-pace curveball. Terry Collins had to use five players who did not start Opening Day due to all the injuries. The replace-Mets lineup seemed to have a very simple game plan: Take the curveball – even when Taillon started throwing it for strikes early in the count – and attack the fastball.

When Taillon only needed six pitches to get through the first inning, it was an omen of things to come. Taillon retired the first seven batters before hitting Kevin Plawecki with a pitch. He kept plowing through the Mets lineup getting ground ball after ground ball, like Jon Niese did last week. A frustrated home crowd started booing Alejandro De Aza and Asdrubal Cabrera after weak ground ball outs in the sixth. They wanted to see Mets hits and had yet to see any. Curtis Granderson got the first hit to lead off the seventh. Yoenis Cespedes followed up with two quick strikes and a double play to end the threat. Taillon was pulled for a pinch hitter after the eighth, allowing two hits and no runs while striking out five in only 91 pitches. Tony Watson entered the ninth and surrendered a leadoff double to pinch hitter Matt Reynolds, but the Mets couldn’t get him home.

deGrom Makes One Mistake

Because of the double-header last week and Monday’s off day, Jacob deGrom was able to get a full week of rest before last night’s start. He came out with good command of the low fastball – his bread and butter pitch from the last two seasons. deGrom approached the game like a power pitcher trying to strike everyone out. He got nine strikeouts, but he was also over 90 pitches and starting to tire with two outs in the sixth inning. Starling Marte singled through the 5.5 hole and Jung Ho Kang crushed a mistake fastball over the original Citi Field wall in left center. Josh Harrison bunted for a single on the next pitch, stole second and advanced to third on Kevin Plawecki’s wild throw, but deGrom struck out Jordy Mercer to end the threat.

Henderson Proves He’s a One-Inning Reliever

Jim Henderson came in and only needed five pitches to get through the seventh. The only way to know whether he’s a one-inning pitcher regardless of the pitch count is to test him out. Henderson immediately failed the test, walking Polanco to lead off the eighth and giving up a two-run homer to Marte on the next pitch. He got through the rest of the inning with some good defense by Cespedes and Erik Goeddel mopped up with a clean ninth inning.

Injury Updates:

Granderson, Cabrera and Cespedes were the only regulars in the Mets starting lineup last night. Neil Walker is continuing to recover from back tightness in Saturday’s game. Michael Conforto got a cortisone shot for a cartilage problem in his wrist and was limited to pinch hitting. Juan Lagares was initially going to start in his place, but was scratched due to a sore tooth. Terry Collins was given a clean bill of health and managed today. After the game he told beat reporters “If you think I’m going to criticize my lineup, you’re talking to the wrong guy.”

In longer-term injury news, the Mets announced they plan to bring Travis d’Arnaud back from the disabled list next Tuesday. d’Arnaud is beginning to catch in rehab assignments. Early reports are that the Mets plan to keep Rene Rivera and demote Plawecki, who had two errors today. David Wright is considering surgery for the herniated disk in his neck. Zack Wheeler will start pitching off the mound next week.

Other News & Notes

  • The Mets played a video tribute for Niese on his return to Citi Field, despite his acrimonious exit.
  • Both the Mets and Pirates wore silver ribbons on their chest in memory of the mass shooting at an Orlando gay nightclub over the weekend.
  • Citi Field has a noticeable seam in the outfield where the groundscrew had to re-sod the grass after Beyonce’s concert last week. It didn’t affect play today.

What’s Next?

Noah Syndergaard looks to snap the Mets three-game losing streak.

Photo credit: Adam Hunger – USA Today Sports

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