MLB: New York Mets at Philadelphia Phillies

Game recap April 10: 24 Amazin’ Hours With Jacob deGrom and Jay Bruce

Last night, the Mets defeated the Philadelphia Phillies by a score of 4-3 at Citizens Bank Park. We’ll take you from Sunday night to Monday night.


10:45 p.m.: In their Sunday Night Baseball matchup on ESPN, the Mets defeated the Marlins by a score of 5 to 2. Noah Syndergaard pitched 7 exceptional innings with 9 strikeouts and only one earned run allowed.

When you’re slumping as a team, it’s up to your ace to pull you out of it. That’s exactly what Thor did that night and with the help of a few dingers, he recorded his first win of 2017.

11:11 p.m.: Syndergaard is wearing the Mets crown while discussing tonight’s game with the media.

David Wright made the executive decision to switch from championship belt to crown. Felt too many teams were copying their post-game ritual. Love the creativity from The Captain. The crown looks good on Thor. I have a feeling he will be donning it many times this season.


12:34 a.m. – 9:13 a.m.: Sleep.

4:46 p.m.: Ty Kelly has been claimed by the Blue Jays.

Enjoyed watching him during Israel’s magical run in the World Baseball Classic, but other than that he doesn’t really have a long-term fit with this team other than being a fringe player.

5:26 p.m.: Wright resumed throwing on Friday.

Great news to hear, as his presence is surely missed in the clubhouse and in the lineup. With Reyes struggling, the team could certainly use a speedy recovery from Wright.

6:48pm: Doug Williams and Nelson Figueroa are discussing Yoenis Cespedes on SNY’s Mets Pregame Show. The point of contention is whether you can call his slow start a slump at this point. Figueroa summed it up perfectly when he said, “when the weather heats up, Cespedes heats up.”

I wouldn’t call a slow start in six games a slump, but at the same time everybody is anxiously awaiting him catching fire like he has done in the previous two seasons.

6:54pm: SNY just flashed a clip of Syndergaard stealing the Philly Phanatic’s ATV.

It was hilarious.

6:56 p.m.: After blasting a solo home run last night, Terry Collins has Michael Conforto on the bench again. His second start of the season eludes him for another night.

I’m a big fan of Conforto and I would love to see him playing regularly, but after his mind-bending slump and Triple-A demotion last season, it seems like he hasn’t been able to win back any favor with the Mets brass. Earth to Terry and Sandy: Conforto is never going to develop into an everyday player if he doesn’t play every day.

7:34 p.m.: Jerad Eickoff opened the game with a clean first inning, despite surrendering a double to Asdrubal Cabrera. Jacob deGrom worked himself into trouble early, giving up two runs on 31 pitches.

It’s always alarming when you see one of your star pitchers come out shaky. It’s even more alarming when a team that has trouble scoring runs digs a 2-0 deficit early. Eickoff spells trouble for the Amazins tonight given his prior success against the team: 2.66 ERA in 7 career starts against the Mets. A small nugget of good news: Jon Heyman announced that Cody Decker was signing a deal with the Mets. Rumor has it he’s bringing the life-size Mensch on a Bench too.

7:58 p.m.: Eickoff worked himself into a sticky situation after two walks, but worked out of it with a timely 6-4-3 double play. When deGrom returned to the mound in the second, he seemed to be back on his game, cutting down Freddy Galvis, Eickoff, and Cesar Hernandez quickly.

Philly is not a particularly strong offensive team, but deGrom turning his outing around was crucial here. Eickoff looked relatively in control early on and kept his pitch count down. That 31-pitch first inning is going to come back to bite Jake.

8:08 p.m.: The top of the third moved quickly. Quick flyout by deGrom and then strikeouts from Jose Reyes (swinging) and Cabrera (foul tip). Eickoff is locked in notching five Ks in the first three innings. For a moment, it looked like deGrom was relapsing to his first inning form, but he bore down and stranded two baserunners.

That could have gotten bad real quick. Runners or second and third coupled with an iffy deGrom could have broken this game open early on. One of deGrom’s best qualities is his ability to work through nights where he does not have his best stuff and it certainly seems that way tonight.

8:15 p.m.: Juan Lagares went 2-3 in his first rehab stint and could return by the weekend.

It’s good see Juan getting ready to return, but it certainly doesn’t do the outfield logjam any justice. Lagares is hands down the best defender in the outfield, but his inconsistent bat limits his use. If the team is facing a lefty, it makes more sense to get him in the game, but even after he returns the most we really expect is to see him primarily as a late-inning defensive replacement.

8:21 p.m.: The Mets finally strike back. Jay Bruce launched his third home run of the season into the right-center seats, cutting the lead in half. In his efforts to clamp down, deGrom surrendered an opposite field single to Freddy Galvis, but it did not come back to bite him. A nice running catch in the gap by Cespedes retired the side and the Mets inched closer to tying this one up.

I’ve been historically tough on Bruce. I disagreed with his acquisition last summer and I scoffed at the front office’s inability to swap him for another asset this offseason. This is a scenario where it feels pretty good to be wrong as Bruce is one of the two batters (along with Cabrera) that is buoying this offense early on in the year.

8:36 p.m.: Eickoff is a model of efficiency. Sitting at only 65 pitches, he may have the opportunity to go deep into this game. deGrom is certainly getting bitten by his 31-pitch first inning. At 82 pitches through the end of the fifth, it’s hard to envision deGrom going past the sixth. Protecting this lead is going to have to fall into the hands of the overtaxed New York bullpen.

In the bottom half, Cabrera made a beautiful barehanded play on a slow chopper to short off the bat of Howie Kendrick that Lucas Duda dug out of the dirt nicely. Plays like these are keeping deGrom afloat. Watching Cabrera play shortstop is a true privilege; the man is a smooth operator.

8:48 p.m.: Reyes popped out to short to begin the inning, and the lack of production in the leadoff spot is becoming a real issue for the Mets. Eickoff is cruising, and, after retiring Cabrera and Cespedes, has set down eight in a row. A fully settled in deGrom matched Eickoff in the sixth, also boasting a streak of eight in a row retired.

In the top half, Phillies first baseman Brock Stassi almost got away with one on a hanging changeup that just hooked foul, but deGrom was able to set him down with a strikeout. Reyes’ performance is growing very alarming. He would finish this game 0-4 and currently has a batting average of .037. You have to figure that at some point Terry Collins will have to bench him in favor of Wilmer Flores to shake up this offense.

9:16 p.m.: The Mets drew even in the 7th, courtesy of a walk, an infield single, and a couple errors. Eickoff retired Flores off the bench to prevent further damage. Josh Smoker replaced deGrom and recorded two outs before working himself into trouble. Jerry Blevins finished the inning after Howie Kendrick was caught trying to get back to first after a wild pitch.

Conforto was originally tapped to pinch hit, but would presumably never get to the plate. Collins expected Philly to counter with a lefty, to which he would counter again with Flores, but opted to send Flores up against the righty to keep Conforto available given the team’s short bench. I’m starting to feel bad for Conforto at this point; it just seems like he’s the odd man out despite being a young player with upside. Travis d’Arnaud made an excellent defensive play to block the wild breaking ball Blevins threw at the end of the bottom of the seventh. The catcher has been continually criticized for his inability to throw out runners, but I’m glad he got to put his best skill on display here in blocking pitches.

9:20 p.m.: Tempers flaring in Philly! Edubray Ramos relieved Eickoff to start the eighth and got Reyes to groundout to begin the inning. Cabrera then stepped to the plate and Ramos threw at his head on the first pitch. Ramos immediately acknowledged that it was intentional and Cameron Rupp had to talk down a visibly upset Cabrera. Warnings were issued to both dugouts and Pete Mackanin came out to discuss the call with the umpire when he was promptly ejected.

Gary Cohen first speculated that Ramos was retaliating against Cabrera because of the latter snubbing the Venezuelan National Team in the WBC, but, later in the inning, it was noted that Ramos was the pitcher who surrendered the iconic walk off home run to Cabrera last September. Putting two and two together, Ramos seemed to be targeting Cabrera because of his over the top bat flip from that game. Turns out the Mets are giving away a bobblehead of Cabrera with his arms raised just like after he hit the homer, against none other than the Phillies. I’d love to see one of his teammates place the bobblehead in Ramos’ locker before that game.

9:47 p.m.: Following the drama to start the eighth, Ramos was replaced by Joely Rodriguez with a runner aboard to face Bruce. Bruce then smacked a moonshot into the right field stands to take the lead. Blevins returned in the bottom half, recorded an out, but worked himself into trouble only to be replaced by Hansel Robles. Robles induced a double play to end the frame.

Kudos to Bruce. The guy has the entire New York media on his back and is playing like an All-Star – albeit through seven games. His hot 2017 star has so far validated the idea that he belongs on this team and is making Sandy Alderson look smart for picking up his option after all. Bruce is carrying this offense and leads the team with four home runs.

10:21 p.m.: Joely Rodriguez worked a 1-2-3 ninth leading to Addison Reed coming on for the save. Brock Stassi tagged Reed for a home run to right center field that cut the lead to 4-3. Reed bore down, struck out Galvis, surrendered a single to Daniel Nava, but shut the door after getting a fly out from Cesar Hernandez and another strikeout from Maikel Franco.

Stassi notched not only his first Major League home run, but his first Major League hit on the big fly. After being drafted seven years ago, this was a long time coming for the 27-year-old from Sacramento, California.

Reed handled the ninth like a true closer, working out of a tough jam after getting tagged a few times.

10:35 p.m.: The crown belongs to Bruce tonight.

No brainer here. Carried the offense with his two home runs.

Photo credit: Eric Hartline – USA Today Sports

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