WTF -April 17, 2018-

Picture: Newsday

No Scherzer. No Strasburg. No Murphy. No Rendon.

Jacob deGrom on the mound? That sounds like a recipe for success. Ain’t nothing else to it but to do it.

Bryce Harper is still in the lineup though.

The picture above is of Bryce Harper taking a swing in the 1st inning. As you can see, the pitch shattered his bat. Somehow, the ball he hit traveled a distance of 406 feet over the right field wall for a solo homerun.

In the words of former Knick John Starks, “Did this dude just did this?”

Luckily, aside from that ludicrous feat of strength, the Nationals were not able to do anything else against Jacob deGrom.

Jacob was definitely the story of the night. Well, until the 8th inning he was definitely the story of the night. I promise we’ll get into his performance tonight in depth. But one of my favorite stories this year is how we answer immediately almost every time the other team scores.

We did it again tonight.

Don’t look now, but Todd Frazier has his average over .300. After Matt Adams misplayed a Conforto fly ball that turned into a double, Todd Frazier singled him home to even the score.

Frazier was back at it again in the 3rd inning, doubling home Asdrubal Cabrera to extend the lead to 2-1. Glenn Sherlock sent Conforto on the play and he was thrown out at home by 10 feet.

What a signing Frazier has been. Todd has been an on base machine this season, and he’s had a penchant for timely hits.  Now he’s heating up offensively, and has been a huge presence in the clubhouse. Factor in the great defense and Frazier has been a steal for the Mets.

Jacob deGrom helped his own cause in the 6th inning. With Juan Lagares on 3rd base, Jacob deGrom laid down a sacrifice squeeze. Nationals pitcher, Matt Grace was unable to field it cleanly and the Mets had a 3-1 lead. Amed Rosario made it 4-1 as his fielders choice ground ball allowed Josè Lobatòn to score.

In the 7th inning Brandon Nimmo led off with a triple. Nimmo was playing in place of Jay Bruce who is dealing with plantar fasciitis. Asdrubal Cabrera was up next and took an 0-2 fastball over the right field wall for a homerun.

How insanely good has Asdrubal Cabrera been this year? What a difference a year makes! Last year he was demanding a trade. This year, he’s been front and center, instrumental to the Mets record start to the season.

Now it’s time to talk about Jacob deGrom. He was absolutely fantastic tonight. He was the first Mets starter to work into the 8th inning this year. Over 7¹/³ innings of work, deGrom allowed 6 hits and 1 walk. He struck out 12 Nationals. That is following a Syndergaard start yesterday where Noah struck out 11 hitters. With back to back games of at least 11 strikeouts recorded by Mets starters, they did something that hasn’t been done in 48 years.

Jacob deGrom’s line score tonight will show that he allowed 3 earned runs. He left the game with 2 runners on base that came around to score. We should go ahead and talk about that. You might want to stop reading here honestly.

DeGrom left the game in the top of the 8th inning with the Mets leading 6-1. When the Mets came to bat in the bottom half of the 8th, they were trailing 7-6. You heard me. The Nationals sent 12 men to the plate and rallied for 6 runs. Absolute meltdown by the Mets bullpen.

Seth Lugo relieved deGrom and walked Howie Kendrick on 4 pitches. (DeGrom had struck out Kendrick 3 times tonight. He left with 103 pitches. Many people will tell you deGrom should have been able to face one more batter.) That walk loaded the bases.

Jerry Blevins entered the game to face Bryce Harper. Harper singled to right and two Nationals scored. 6-3.

AJ Ramos entered the game and struck out Ryan Zimmerman. Now you’re thinking, “Ok. We can get out of this and give deGrom a win he most certainly earned and deserved.”

Nationals catcher and early season nuisance Pedro Severino came up and singled to left which loaded the bases. Ex-Met Matt Reynolds dug in and was walked on 4 pitches. Inexcusable. 6-4.

Jeurys Familia relieved Ramos and was awful. The first batter he faced was Wilmer Difo hit a 2 run single to right field. 6-6. The camera panned to Jacob deGrom in the dugout and we all shared his pain.

Familia hit Moises Sierra which loaded the bases again. Michael Taylor drew a walk and the Nationals had a 7-6 lead. Trea Turner flew out to left and the Mets walked to their dugout, chased by a chorus of boos.

There would be no immediate answer tonight as the Mets went down without a peep in the 8th inning. Mickey Callaway pulled out all the stops too. He pinch hit Yoenis Cespedes for the catcher, Josè Lobatòn. Wilmer Flores was inserted into the game along with AJ Ramos as part of a double switch. Jay Bruce pinch hit for Amed Rosario. They were unable to do anything.

Hansel Robles pitched the 9th inning and allowed a solo homerun to Howie Kendrick. That’s about right.

In the bottom of 9th, Brandon Nimmo led off and struck out swinging. Asdrubal Cabrera followed with a double and there was hope. Michael Conforto stepped up to the plate as the tying run. A pitch in the dirt rolled away and Cabrera attempted to take 3rd base. He was thrown out and the life was sucked out of Citi Field.

Remember everything I said about Cabrera a few paragraphs ago? It still applies. He’s been great this year. That’s the second time he’s been thrown out at 3rd base late in a close game this year though. Absolutely no reason to try and take 3rd in a 2 run game.

Michael Conforto flew out to left field and the game was over.

The Mets are 12-3. These games happen. Can’t win ’em all. Cliche. Cliche. Cliche.

DeGrom vs Hellickson. No Murphy. No Eaton. No Rendon. We had to have that game. DeGrom dominated and left in the 8th with a 6-1 lead. We needed that one.

The dark thoughts start rushing in. Were we playing completely over our heads? Is this more in line with what we can expect from this bullpen? Did we wake up Washington? Is this the reality of relying on Hansel Robles and AJ Ramos out of the bullpen.

I think that the Mets had a stretch of games this month where everything went their way. It just so happened that everything went against them for 1 inning tonight.

Oh man. As sure handed as they are, Cabrera and Gonzalez have NO range whatsoever. Watching those balls sneak through the infield in that 8th inning was Chinese water torture.

Not gonna dwell on this one. If you put up 6 runs with deGrom on the mound, you’re going to win almost every time. Just so happened we lost tonight. Should have won, sure. What are ya gonna do?

Zack Wheeler is on the mound tomorrow, looking to build off his masterful start last time out. Very interesting to see how this team responds to a stomach punch loss.

LGM

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