Five Arms in the Eighth
We were going to the top of the eighth inning at Citi Field, with the Mets up, 6 to 1. Victory was so imminent you could taste it. Jacob deGrom, the ace of the Mets staff, had completely out-dueled the Nationals all day, and was poised to be the first Mets pitcher to make it into the eighth inning this season.
The small but mighty fan base was jumping up and down, both to stay warm, and to cheer on the Mets.
First up was Moises Sierra. After a few pitches, Sierra knocks one back up the middle, past Rosario, and the lead off man was on. I glance over at Callaway, and see a turning in the bullpen. It’s Lugo, who had been warming up the inning prior. deGrom is allowed to stay in, and after a full-count battle, strikes Michael Taylor out, swinging.
All right, we all said.
Next up was Trea Turner. deGrom quickly gets him to two strikes, but struggles to put him away, after yet another battle, this time taking deGrom over 100 pitchers.
Like with Sierra, deGrom losses him to a ground ball up the middle. Next up in Howie Kendrick, the man who deGrom had punched out three times prior, but first a pitching change.
Five unsuccessful pitching changes later, and the Mets are behind, 7-6, and they never came back.
So who’s to blame for this? Well, there were many miscues by many people, and yes, the Mets are still way ahead in the standings, but it’s frustrating.
First off, let’s talk about deGrom, who pitched as good as he has all season.
Jacob looked primed to get through the eighth, and maybe even the ninth, but fell victim to long at bats and soft hits. None of the hits were frozen ropes off the wall, though, and he could have very well faced Kendrick.
Furthermore, while the bullpen has been good early on, it was downright painful yesterday. Lugo had no grip of the ball, and Robles, Ramos and Familia looked lost. The only one with some Guts was Blevins, who threw a filthy curveball to Harper, before falling to a ground ball single.
The game ended right then and there, when the Nationals took the lead, and everyone in attendance had this bad taste in their mouth, as if they couldn’t comprehend what had happened, and wanted to go home.
Let’s hope this game wasn’t a bad omen…..