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Mets flummoxed by the Braves leaving the NL East tied, & a concerning trend for Jacob deGrom
Jacob deGrom allowed three solo home runs on Friday night as the Mets fell back into a tie for the lead in the NL East
What’s Up with the Mets? ⚾
The Mets lost to the Braves 5-2 at Truist Park on Friday night (Box)
Jacob deGrom started for the Mets and allowed three solo home runs over six innings with 11 strikeouts, raising his ERA to 3.08 for the year
Tylor Megill allowed two runs in 0.2 IP out of the bullpen
The Mets offense didn’t do much to support deGrom - they scattered a double and a home run around six singles and a walk
The Mets loaded the bases with one out in the ninth inning, but Francisco Álvarez and Tyler Naquin struck out to end the game
With the loss, the Mets fell back into a tie for the lead in the National League East with the Braves, with each team having five games left on the schedule
Roster Moves 📰
Mets selected the contract of Francisco Álvarez from Triple-A Syracuse
Darin Ruf placed on the injured list with a neck strain
Alex Claudio designated for assignment
Injury Updates 🏥
Jacob deGrom left Friday night’s game with a blister on his finger
Who’s Hot 🔥
Over his last 28 games, Eduardo Escobar is hitting .346/.295/.644 with five doubles, a triple, eight home runs and 24 RBI
Jeff McNeil has a six-game hitting streak, during which he is hitting .462/.500/.500 with a double, two walks and an RBI
The Pennant Race 🏁
The Mets have clinched a postseason berth (9/19)
NL East lead: 0️⃣ games
Magic Number to win NL East: 6️⃣
Win pace: 1️⃣0️⃣1️⃣
Playoff odds (Fangraphs):
Win the National League East: 64.2 percent ⬇️
Clinch a first round bye: 64.2 percent ⬇️
Win the World Series: 15.8 percent ⬇️
Today’s Game 🗓
Match-up: Mets (98-59) @ Braves (98-59)
Where: Truist Park — Atlanta, GA
Starters: RHP Max Scherzer (11-4, 2.13 ERA) vs. RHP Kyle Wright (20-5, 3.18 ERA)
When: 7:20 PM EDT
Where to Watch: FOX
The gopher ball is plaguing Jacob deGrom while the offense continues to be Jekyll or Hyde…📝
So that’s not exactly how the Mets drew it up.
I’ll get to the offense in a second, but a concerning trend for Jacob deGrom continued on Friday night. He continues to be plagued by the home run ball and while he did strikeout 11 and limit those home runs to the solo variety, they seemed to knock the Mets on their heals in a game against Braves ace Max Fried, who they were able to get to for an early run and get him out of the game after only five innings.
For deGrom, he has now allowed nine home runs in only 64.1 IP this season and six of those home runs against him have come in his last four starts, a span of only 21 innings.
For context, deGrom allowed six home runs in 92 IP in 2021 before being put on the shelf.
All told this was obviously not the start the Mets needed from their co-ace on this date on the baseball calendar. He has a 6.00 ERA over his last four starts thanks in large measure to those home runs he’s allowed, which are way too many.
The good news for deGrom is the stuff hasn't been compromised in the least. He induced 21 swings and misses among the 86 pitches he threw and 12 among the 38 sliders he threw as well. The velocity is still there with his fastball and slider. It’s a matter of better location for him over his last couple of starts in particular. When he’s missed, he’s getting burned and burned badly.
But deGrom is deGrom and we know he will make the necessary adjustments ahead of his next start. And hopefully, that next start is in the playoffs and not on Wednesday against the Nationals.
Next up is Tylor Megill.
It’s not on Megill, to be fair. It’s on Buck Showalter for injecting an unproven and untested reliever into a close and late situation in one of the most pivotal games of the year. There is no reason for Megill to be put in that kind of pressurized spot, not while he is searching to figure this role out and get his feet under him and a fully rested bullpen to choose from. The problem right now - aside from the role adjustment - is Megill’s velocity and stuff isn’t strong enough at the moment to compensate from his sheer lack of strike zone command. It’s not that he isn’t throwing strikes. Rather, he’s throwing low quality strikes with a mid-90s fastball and a slider that just isn’t moving the way it was at the beginning of the year when he was in the rotation.
In the end, the Mets needed a swing-and-miss option for the seventh inning last night and the decision to use Megill - who right now just isn’t doing that while he searches for his stuff - under the current circumstances was not one of Buck’s best, as they were knocked out of this game pretty much right then and there.
And now, the offense.
To be fair, it is incredibly difficult for teams to come back being down 5-1, especially in late game situations and against pitchers who all have an ERA below 3.00. They did somehow pull that rabbit out of their hat Wednesday night, but all of the offense came courtesy of Eduardo Escobar as he drove in all five runs that night.
Their offense has become so Jekyll and Hyde. They either look unstoppable and they pummel an opposing pitching staffs (and good ones too, see the Brewers last week), or it seems like scoring one or two runs in a game is a miracle. They’re unquestionably missing Starling Marte’s bat-to-ball skills, speed and pretty much everything that makes him an awesome baseball player, but right now they’r basically depending on Pete Alonso and Francisco Lindor to drive in three runs each per game, and that’s just not going to happen, especially against a staff like the Braves.
No matter what kind of offense the Mets have, they’re going to have get better at creating opportunities at the plate. They’ve become very station-to-station thanks to a general unwillingness to steal bases. They don’t go first-to-third particularly well either and they are once again in the bottom tier in FanGraphs all-encompassing base running statistic (BsR) at -10.2, which is generally non-competitive with many other teams in the tournament.
It’s difficult to score when it takes more than two hits to plate a baserunner and that’s the situation the Mets find themselves in since they don’t run the bases well and don’t hit for a lot of power. So, it’s time now to make some adjustments and force the issue to scratch across runs, especially when Lindor and Alonso are stymied at the plate.
So, now what?
The task ahead for the Mets now is finding a way to win at least one of the next two games and come home no worse than tied on Monday. They have Max Scherzer going tonight which is step one in that endeavor - he needs to pick up deGrom and the Mets today and deliver a shutdown-type of performance.
But as I said yesterday, it’s for these moments as for why he’s here to begin with.
Get today, worry about tomorrow when it arrives. #LGM
Around the League 🚩
The Mariners finally made it to the playoffs thanks to a walk-off home run from Cal Raleigh to win it for Seattle. It’s the first time the Mariners have been to the postseason since they won 116 games in 2001
The Rays are going to the playoffs for the fourth straight season - they clinched a wild card berth with their 7-3 win over the Astros in Houston
The Brewers edged Sandy Alcantara and the Marlins 1-0 in Milwaukee while the Phillies beat the Cubs 5-1 - the Brewers trail the Phillies by 1/2 game for the final wild card in the National League
Albert Pujols hit career home run no. 701 as the Cardinals defeated the Pirates 2-1 at Busch Stadium