Game recap September 11: Defense fails deGrom. Again.


After being scratched due to weather concerns on Sunday and rained out on Monday, Jacob deGrom finally got to take the mound against the Marlins on Tuesday night. Miami has been something of a bugaboo for deGrom; he’s only 4-5 against them in his career, though he did memorably strike out the first eight batters in September 2014. For once, the Mets actually built a close-to-optimal lineup behind their ace, with Amed Rosario, Jeff McNeil and Michael Conforto in the first three spots in the order.

Arguably, the Mets should have just let deGrom pitch on Sunday, as he’s now set to make only four starts the rest of the way rather than five. On the other hand, I get to recap a game started by deGrom rather than one started by Jason Vargas, so I’m not going to complain.

Game Recap

Rather than dragging this out and waxing poetic about how good deGrom was at the start of this game, let’s just jump straight to the part where the BABIP fairy sprinkled her magic dust on the Marlins, as she always seems to do at Citi Field. With two outs and nobody on in the fourth, deGrom gave up an infield single, a bloop single and a double that scored two. The infield single was off the glove of Jeff McNeil (would have been a tough play) and the double was a total misplay by Austin Jackson (also a tough play, but probably should have been made). As a reminder, the Mets like Jackson, a horrifically bad defensive outfielder, specifically for his center field defense.

Fittingly, a Michael Conforto double leading off the bottom half of the inning was wasted. deGrom went back to dominating and only got a solo home run from Conforto in run support. He left for a pinch hitter in the seventh, when the Mets squandered another leadoff baserunner and left the ace without a chance for a win. He finished with nine strikeouts, two walks and three hits allowed, with both runs coming due to the BABIP misfortune and poor defense behind him in the fourth. The outing raised deGrom’s ERA on the season to a still ridiculous 1.71, and lowered his FIP to an equally insane 2.06.

Anthony Swarzak replaced deGrom and served up a solo home run to J.T. Riddle that stretched the Marlins’ lead to 3-1. Todd Frazier got ejected at some point for arguing balls and strikes (he was right). Robert Gsellman gave up two runs in the ninth, with the help of an ill-advised dive from Brandon Nimmo that turned a single into a triple.

Kevin Plawecki hit a two-run home run in the ninth and a two-out walk to Jack Reinheimer brought Amed Rosario to the plate as the tying run. Rosario could only manage a weak dribbler to second, and that was that. The 5-3 loss was the Mets’ 78th of the year and dropped deGrom’s record below .500, now at 8-9.

Thoughts from the Game

The latest installment of Jacob deGrom facts:

  • Lewis Brinson’s double was the first extra-base hit on 0-2 allowed by deGrom this season.
  • deGrom has now broken Leslie “King” Cole’s single-season record with his 26th consecutive start allowing three runs or fewer, a record that stood for 108 years.
  • Still the most deserving Cy Young candidate in the National League. But you knew that already.

Why the Mets have decided to rush Swarzak back this season is a mystery. This is a reliever who they need to contribute to the bullpen next year if the team wants to contend next season. He’s dealt with shoulder issues multiple times, and pushing a 33-year-old to come back quickly in a lost season rather than just shutting him down and protecting him for the future is silly. It’s also a great juxtaposition against the extreme “caution” the team is taking with David Wright. Nothing fishy there at all, no sir.

Austin Jackson is terrible. He doesn’t make contact — 32.7% K%. He doesn’t hit for power — .078 ISO. He doesn’t walk a noteworthy amount — 7.2%. His defense has been a travesty for three seasons; -12.5, -7.7, and -16.8 UZR/150 in the outfield the past three seasons. He’s not a prolific basestealer or a particularly good baserunner. His presence in the Met lineup hinders the offense, and his defense might’ve cost deGrom two runs and a win last night. Given all of this, get ready for Austin Jackson, 2019 Opening Day center fielder.

Other Mets News

A report by Andy Martino today had some troubling news regarding the Mets’ GM search. First, Terry Collins is expected to assume a larger role in the organization. Terry Collins, who was one of the most inept managers in baseball largely because of his inability or unwillingness to use or develop young players, will likely be playing a larger role in player development. This is the sort of hiring that reeks of interference from Fred Wilpon.

Secondly, Martino mentions Mark Shapiro as a name to watch in the GM search. Shapiro has a long track record, serving as GM and later team president of the Cleveland Indians, and more recently as CEO and president of the Toronto Blue Jays. He’s most notable for his obsession with young cost control, which, in and of itself, is not a bad thing to focus on; young, cheap players provide the core of most winning teams. But Shapiro seems to focus more on being cheap for the sake of being cheap, rather than for the purposes of building winning teams. In short, he offers perfect cover for the Wilpon not spending money.

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