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Jacob deGrom strong in return, Mets don't support him in a flat loss to the Nationals
Mets scattered five singles around a homer from Lindor, while deGrom was splendid in his long-awaited return from the IL
What’s Up with the Mets? ⚾
The Mets lost to the Nationals 5-1 on Tuesday night in Washington (Box)
Jacob deGrom was strong in his long-awaited return to the big leagues, striking out six while allowing one run over five innings
The Mets offense was completely flat from start to finish on Tuesday, scattering five singles around a solo home run from Francisco Lindor
Buck Showalter opted for the second tier of the bullpen in relief of deGrom - Stephen Nogosek and Yoan López combined to allow four runs in three innings of relief, although Tommy Hunter delivered a scoreless inning to finish this game off
The Mets acquired 1B/DH Darin Ruf for JD Davis and three minor leaguers (story)
The Mets acquired RHP Mychal Givens for a minor leaguer to bolster their bullpen (story)
Who’s Hot 🔥
Francisco Lindor has a nine-game hitting streak - he is hitting .429/.500/.800 with four doubles, three home runs and eight RBI during that span
Daniel Vogelbach has reached base in seven of eight games since joining the Mets - he has a .483 OBP in 29 plate appearances since July 24
RHP Tommy Hunter has held the opposition scoreless in seven of his ten appearances this year, having not allowed more than one earned run in any appearance. He has a 2.19 ERA this season
Roster Moves 📰
Activated RHP Jacob deGrom from the injured list
Optioned LHP Sam Clay to Triple-A Syracuse
Recalled 2B Kramer Robinson from Triple-A Syracuse
Acquired RHP Mychal Givens from the Cubs in exchange for RHP Saul Gonzalez
Acquired 1B/DH Darin Ruf from the Giants in exchange for DH/OF/1B JD Davis, LHP Thomas Szapucki, RHP Carson Seymour and LHP Nick Zwack
Injury Updates 🏥
C James McCann (oblique strain) went 1-for-6 with two strikeouts for Double-A Binghamton on Tuesday
Playoff Odds Tracker 🎲
The Mets lead the Braves by 2.5 games in the National League East with 61 games to go. They are on-pace for 102 wins which would be their highest mark since 1986 (108):
Playoff odds (FanGraphs):
Make the playoffs: 100 percent ↔️
Win the National League East: 67.9 percent ⬇️
Clinch first round bye: 66.7 percent ⬇️
Win the World Series: 13.5 percent ⬇️
Today’s Game 🗓
Match-up: Mets (65-38) at Nationals (36-69)
Where: Nationals Park — Washington, D.C.
Starters: RHP Chris Bassitt (7-7, 3.83 ERA) vs RHP Anibal Sánchez (0-3, 7.47 ERA)
When: 4:05 PM EDT
Where to Watch: SNY
Mets waste Jacob deGrom’s season debut in an overall uninspiring day 📝
Tuesday wasn’t the Mets best day of 2022. And putting the trade deadline aside for a moment, it should’ve been a momentous day.
That’s because Jacob deGrom made his long-awaited, long-anticipated, and much-needed 2022 debut 391 days following the last big league pitch he threw. In between that time, deGrom has dealt with a variety of arm issues ranging from his shoulder to his elbow, talks about his opt-out at the end of the year, and the Mets piecing together their starting rotation in his absence.
But August 2, 2022 was the day for deGrom and he came in and did exactly what one might expect from him. He came out firing 100 mph fastballs (one was clocked at 101.6 mph), 93 mph sliders, and aside from a run scoring double he allowed in the fourth inning to Luis García he was simply splendid.
The problem was, well, the offense didn’t support deGrom again, seemingly picking right up where they left off when deGrom last donned a major league uniform. The Mets scattered five singles around a solo home run from Francisco Lindor (who has been brilliant lately, btw), made a baserunning mistake that cost them an opportunity to even be in this game, and the second rung of the bullpen couldn’t keep the game close enough in what was really an uninspiring loss to a gutted Washington Nationals team.
Of course, it’s just one day and this one was a day to forget for the Mets on the field despite the successful return of deGrom. That simply was not the brand of baseball that has kept the Mets in first place. It happens - it’s a long season and on any other day it might be a little less aggravating.
That brings me to the Mets work on the trade deadline, which was more or less uninspiring.
Look, I get and actually commend the Mets strategy for building their weaknesses up in a strength-in-numbers strategy. The trade market is as inflated as it’s ever been and aside from Juan Soto and Shohei Ohtani, there weren’t many players out there worth a top five prospect or two. It has been discussed here time and time again, our writers have thrown around all sorts of names and none of them fit the bill to sacrifice a big prospect.
Simply put, when Joey Gallo is being moved for the Dodgers 15th best prospect, that’s an indication of how inflated this market is. With all due respect to Gallo, of course.
Having said that, the Mets biggest need heading into the deadline was the left side of their bullpen. Yes, Trevor May is coming back soon and they did procure Mychal Givens, a veteran swing-and-miss arm who will unquestionably bolster their bullpen and give Buck Showalter another reliable arm alongside Adam Ottavino and Edwin Díaz.
But Givens is not the answer for them against left-handed pitching.
Simply put, the Mets missed the boat on this one on Tuesday. Again, prices were sky high but they let David Robertson go to their immediate competition in the Phillies, a guy who can get lefties out and has valuable playoff experience on his resume as well. They could not swing a deal for Andrew Chafin, Aaron Loup or Michael Fulmer - Chafin and Loup stayed put while Fulmer was sent to the Twins.
So, that leaves the Mets very exposed on the left side of their bullpen. They’ll now be counting on Joely Rodriguez stabilizing his season and perhaps David Peterson on the left side of their bullpen down the stretch of their season. It’s less about being uninspiring and more about a weakness remaining exposed when they have nine games on the immediate horizon against their primary competition in the Atlanta Braves.
So, time will tell how this all shakes out. Maybe the Mets will get lucky.
But lets not forget the Mets did make some valuable acquisitions in Daniel Vogelbach, Tyler Naquin and Darin Ruf, all of which improves the margins for sure although none of which are sexy names. They all bring a combination of power and on-base ability in their respective roles and if used properly, they will all serve as an asset.
As for Ruf specifically, he should provide strong protection for Pete Alonso against left-handed pitching, which hopefully gets Alonso going more consistently against the left side. They’re going to need this, especially when they presumably face the likes of Max Fried and his deadly back foot slider several times over the next couple of months.
And we all know Buck Showalter is very strategic about how he uses his roster pieces.
Down on the Farm 🌾
Francisco Álvarez (C, No. 1 Prospect, Triple-A): 2-for-5, 1 R
Ronny Mauricio (SS, No. 3 Prospect, Double-A): 3-for-6, 2B, HR, 3 RBI
Brett Baty (3B, No. 2 Prospect, Double-A): 1-for-5, 2B, BB, 2 R
Around the League 🚩
The Braves pummeled the Phillies 8-1 in Philadelphia on Tuesday to pull back to within 2.5 games of the Mets in the NL East
The Padres won the trade deadline, sending a large package of prospects to the Nationals for Juan Soto and Josh Bell while sending Luke Voit back to the Nationals and Eric Hosmer to Boston
The Braves acquired RHP Jake Odorizzi from the Astros for LHP Will Smith, and also netted RHP Raúl Iglesias from the Angels for RHP Jesse Chávez and LHP Tucker Davidson
The Phillies designated both RHP Jeurys Familia and OF Odúbel Herrera for assignment on a day they acquired Noah Syndergaard and Brandon Marsh from the Angels as well as David Robertson from the Cubs
The Yankees made a couple of trades before the deadline - they moved Joey Gallo to the Dodgers for their 15th best prospect, acquired OF Harrison Bader from the Cardinals for LHP Jordan Montgomery
Legendary broadcaster Vin Scully passed away at the age of 94.
The Dodgers placed INF Justin Turner on the injured list with an abdominal strain