Good news, everyone. If you were one of those delusional fans who were counting on the Mets to make a miracle run and power their way back into the NL East race, you can finally put those aspirations to rest. The Mets were officially eliminated in their divisional race after being shellacked by the last-place Philadelphia Phillies by a score of 9-1.
Tuesday was a night to forget for the Amazins’, especially coming off their Monday night offensive explosion. After losing last night, the Mets have lost eight of their last 11 and 12 of their last 16 games at Citi Field. Overall, the game was just a disappointing mess. Here’s how it all shook out:
Not So deGrominant
Following the win last night, I think we all felt a series victory was imminent with Jacob deGrom on the hill. Prior to tonight’s effort, deGrom was 6-0 with a 2.10 ERA in his 10 career starts against the Phillies. Not to mention, the Mets won all 10 of those games. Well, with expectations high, the team received one of the worst outings of deGrom’s career. The de facto ace of this depleted Mets pitching staff surrendered a career high nine runs, six of which were earned, and 10 hits. deGrom got the hook after only 3.2 innings, making this the second shortest outing of the year. Putting aside deGrom’s prior success against Philadelphia, this all came as a surprise after the right-hander cruised through the first inning, striking out the side. However, the real knife twisting moment was when deGrom surrendered a two-run blast to Philly’s starting pitcher Ben Lively. Simply put, deGrom did not have his best stuff last night.
Ben Lively: The Latest in a Long Line of Met Killers
Imagine that I didn’t watch an inning of this game. If you asked me who the catalyst was behind last night’s impressive offensive performance, I probably would have guessed Odubel Herrera, Cesar Hernandez, Freddy Galvis, or maybe even top prospect J.P. Crawford, who debuted Tuesday. Never in a million years would I have predicted what came off the bat of Ben Lively. Lively broke a 1-1 tie in the second after singling home Hyun Soo Kim and J.P. Crawford on a single to center and then cemented himself as the next great Met killer after slugging a two-run bomb off of deGrom in the fourth. If that’s not enough for you, Lively also went out and tossed seven innings of one-run ball. Talk about a complete player. Last night, Ben Lively joined a prestigious fraternity of players who perform at superhuman levels against the Mets. I wish him nothing but injury-free bad luck and struggles on the mound.
Another Day Another Dom Struggle
With a playoff run essentially lost all season, the promotions of Amed Rosario and Dom Smith gave fans something to look forward to. These two would hopefully come to anchor the franchise the way David Wright and Jose Reyes did back in 2006. Granted, there’s no need to hit the panic button since these games are meaningless anyways, but it is always disconcerting to see a top prospect like Smith struggle early on. The first baseman lowered his batting average to .182 Tuesday after going 0-4 with a strikeout. To make matters worse, he committed a throwing error in the second that allowed the tying run to score. The good news is that Smith is in no danger of being sent down to the minors. The bad news is that it’s only because the minor league season is over.
Man I’m Glad I Called That Guy
Due to the entire outfield spontaneously combusting via trade or injury, the Mets were in need of a major league caliber outfielder to come in and fill the void. In a serendipitous turn of events, the team was able to sign Nori Aoki and slot him right into the lineup in Houston. In only four games with the Amazins’, Aoki is 6-for-17 with three RBIs and four run scored. I don’t want to get ahead of myself here, but Aoki could be an interesting piece among the 2018 Mets, providing major league proficient outfield depth. When you consider the uncertainty regarding the return of Michael Conforto, Aoki could become a low-risk/high-reward value chip to keep around the organization.
At Least the Bullpen Was Immaculate
deGrom may have been awful tonight, but his compatriots certainly weren’t. Josh Smoker, Jacob Rhame, Kevin McGowan, Erik Goeddel, and Jamie Callahan combined for an impressive bullpen effort, striking out seven in 6.1 scoreless frames. It’s especially encouraging to see success out of two of the arms acquired at the trade deadline in Rhame and Callahan.
Asdrubal Cabrera continued to swing the bat well out of the three hole, notching a single and a double in four at-bats. Travis d’Arnaud also recorded two hits last night, a single and an RBI double, scoring the Mets’ only run in the game. Brandon Nimmo drew two more walks, giving him eight in his last five games, a sign that is especially encouraging when considering that a major hole in Nimmo’s game was his plate discipline.
The Mets will cap off their series against the Phillies at Citi Field on Wednesday at 7 p.m. After Matt Harvey was pushed back, Nick Pivetta’s rubber game matchup will be…who knows.
Photo credit: Andy Marlin – USA Today Sports