Thank you sweet Jesus for my man Jacob deGrom. The Mets needed to win this series in Philly real bad. Keith Hernandez called it a “must win” since the Nationals expanded their division lead to 7 games last night. And Jacob deGrom delivered in the biggest way possible with a complete game one hit shutout. It was the first complete game of deGrom’s career which is kind of insane considering how fantastic he’s been since his debut in 2014. With the Mets offense being as bad as it is, it often feels like a complete game shutout is needed for this squad to stand a chance. Well we got what we needed today. Jake told Terry at the All-Star Break that he felt gassed. I think these days off obviously helped him. He’s the ace we need for the dog days of summer. I fully expect him to continue his dominance the rest of the way. Also, the only hit against deGrom was by the Phillies starter Zach Eflin. Of course.
He’s Hot So He Plays: In the second inning with one out, James Loney singled and advanced to second on a throwing error by Zach Eflin. Then Juan Lagares hit a two out RBI triple to right field to make it 1-0 Mets. Juan Lagares has been hot at the plate lately. Juanny is hot, therefore he plays until he’s not. It ain’t rocket science folks. Plus Yoenis Cespedes‘ legs have been barking all season, and he thinks playing center field has put additional strain on the legs. Terry said postgame that Yo prefers left field. Soooo that means we’ll play Juan Lagares our hot hitting gold glove center fielder a little more this month. Fine by me. Yo is our best player, and we need to accommodate him in every single way. Michael Conforto also didn’t start in Vegas today. There’s been some rumors that he may get called back up to the big club for the Cubs series. Whenever he gets the call, we’ll find a way to play everyone. I’m not too worried about it.
Double Steal: In the 5th inning with two outs Jacob deGrom singled, and Jose Reyes drove him in with a double making it 3-0 Mets. Then Curtis Granderson walked, and Cespedes came up with two men on base. Before Cespedes had a chance to do some damage, Jose Reyes and Grandy successfully pulled off a double steal. And of course the Phillies instantly decided to pitch around Yo and put him on base. Neil Walker ended up grounding out to first base for the third out. The lesson here is never take the bat out of Yo’s hands. Although who am I kidding, the Phils probably would have pitched around Yo anyway. Nobody should give Cespedes anything to hit ever.
Win When We Homer: In the top of third inning, Curtis Granderson launched a solo homer to right center field making it 2-0 Mets. In the 8th inning, Asdrubal Cabrera gave the team some insurance runs with a two run homer that made it 5-0 Mets. The Mets win when they hit home runs. It is known. And they also win when the starter pitches a complete game shutout. It’s hard to lose when that happens.
Coincidence?: Is it a coincidence that Rene Rivera was catching and deGrom pitched a complete game shutout? Nope. Rene calls a hell of a game and is a fantastic pitch framer. This isn’t a knock on Travis d’Arnaud or a call to give Rivera more starts. But Rivera does deserve to be recognized for his receiving skills.
Can’t Ask For More: James Loney had two more hits in this game. His average is up to .284. He’s been an amazing fill-in for cracked back Duda. Lucas Duda is supposedly going to resume baseball activities soon. Obviously Duda starts at first base when he returns, but it’ll be nice to have Loney on the bench for defensive purposes.
Murphslayer Update: The Nationals were losing 1-0 to the Pirates in the 9th inning with two outs this afternoon. Daniel Murphy has missed the last few games with hamstring soreness. He came in to pinch hit and hit a game-tying solo blast. He just can’t stop killing us. He’s having an MVP season. Nuts.
Tomorrow: The three game set against the Cubs in Chicago starts tomorrow. We face Jon Lester and Jake Arrieta in this series. I still can’t believe we swept the Cubs at Citi Field. This series at Wrigley is going to be tough. Thank God for deGrom. We needed this series win against the Phillies real bad. Let’s keep it up.
Before this game, Terry didn’t include Wilmer Flores in the lineup. The general consensus among Mets fans was that this was a classic case of Terry being a moron. Wilmer had 4 home runs this week. He’s scorching hot. Everyone was furious about the decision. I must say, I was not angry. I was completely fine with sitting Wilmer. It’s not that I don’t like Wilmer. I just figured he’d play at least two games this weekend, and I didn’t feel like getting worked up about the benching. I’m excited about our new stable of viable infielders, and I got caught up in the depth celebration.
Well a man can only admit when he was wrong and ask for forgiveness. Wilmer has a .309 career batting clip in July. His next highest monthly batting average is .267 in August. His home run last night has started to help us avenge the June sweep by the Nationals in Washington. Wilmer is now Summer Flo. He is…The King in July! The King in July!
Murph Out The Gate: In the first inning, Bartolo Colon gave up a leadoff triple and of course Daniel Murphy drove in the run to make it 1-0. Murph’s public shaming of the Mets organization continued right away last night.
Clutch Single: In the first inning, James Loney struck out with two outs and runners on second and third base. But in the third inning with Yoenis Cespedes on second and Neil Walker on first, Loney came through with an RBI single to tie the game 1-1.
Love Getting Burned By The Big Dogs: In the fourth inning after retiring Murph, Bartolo Colon gave up a solo bomb to Bryce Harper. My first thought was that we really love getting burned by the best player on the team huh? Giancarlo Stanton had a field day and now Bryce. That was before I knew there was no stopping the ball from flying out of the park last night. Plus it’s not like we are going to issue first inning free passes to Harper with the bases empty.
Ball Was Flying: Still in the fourth inning, Clint Robinson and Anthony Rendon hit back to back homers with two outs. They made it 4-1 Nats.
Ball Was Officially Flying: After the Nationals fourth inning home run barrage, I was shook. But it wasn’t until the Mets homers in the bottom of the fourth that I realized we were playing this game with diminished gravity levels or something. The home runs did not stop. Travis d’Arnaud hit a solo shot. Jose Reyes launched an upper decker home run to right. Then Curtis Granderson doubled and Yoenis Cespedes doubled to make it 4-4. The Mets came back to tie the game instantly. They chased Lucas Giolito in the fourth inning. Hell, Neil Walker and Yo executed a double steal!
The First Botched Takeout Slide Call: In the fifth inning, Bartolo gave up a single to Oliver Perez and Ben Revere. Jayson Werth then grounded into a force at second. That set up first and third with one out for Murph. Murph hit a double play ball up the middle. The Mets turned the double play and the outs were called on the field. Unfortunately Murph was safe by a mile at first. The Nationals won the challenge, and Oliver Perez scored to make it 5-4 Nationals. My beef on the play was that Jayson Werth’s slide at second was a violation of the takeout slide rule. It was an obvious violation in April of 2016. At the start of the season they were making the call on the field every time. Since then they’ve stopped calling it because MLB listens to fan outcry and seemingly is run by a bunch of pathetic cowards who can’t implement a rule change to save their lives. Well on this particular play the umpires felt the slide was legal and the run scored.
Who Can Leave Their Starter In The Longest: Lucas Giolito should have come out after the Grandy double in the fourth inning. He couldn’t get ahead in the count at all last night. Frankly all the pitchers struggled to execute. But I felt Dusty left him in too long. Well in the fifth inning, Terry tried to steal the crown from Dusty. After the run scored on the challenged double play, Jerry Blevins should have been coming in to face Bryce Harper. Instead Terry left Tolo in. He gave up a single to Bryce and an RBI single to Wilson Ramos that made it 6-4 Nationals. When Terry finally did bring in the pen, Jerry Blevins walked his batter but Hansel Robles was able to get out of the inning.
The King In July: The most important part of Terry’s call to the bullpen in the fifth inning was that he double switched Wilmer Flores into the game. In the bottom of the fifth, Asdrubal Cabrera and Brandon Nimmo hit back to back singles off of Oliver Perez. Then with one out, Wilmer Flores hit the game altering 3-run shot that made it 7-6. TC said after the game it reminded him of Wilmer’s enormous home run last season against Washington. It was remarkable. He has 5 home runs this week alone. He has to be NL player of the week. Also in the fifth, Curtis Granderson doubled with two outs and the Nats intentionally walked Yoenis Cespedes. The Mets should probably take note and stop getting burned by the elite player on every team we face.
Ollie: In the 6th inning, Oliver Perez doubled for his second hit of the game. That was only notable because it was additional evidence that this particular game was completely insane.
More Bombs: Asdrubal Cabrera launched a solo shot in the bottom of the 6th that turned out to be the game winner. It made the game 8-6. As much as Wilmer had the big hit, every single Mets infielder contributed with the stick last night. Reyes, Walker, Loney, Cabrera, and Wilmer all had RBIs.
What Do We Do?: In the 7th inning, Antonio Bastardo reminded us all yet again that he sucks. He gave up a leadoff solo shot to Mets killer Daniel Murphy making it 8-7 Mets. Then he retired Bryce Harper and Wilson Ramos. He then induced a comebacker off the bat of Clint Robinson and he made arguably the worst throwing error of the season. He just threw it away right past Wilmer at first. Terry was forced to go to Addison Reed who was just stellar in relief. He retired the side. I really don’t know what to do with Bastardo. We paid him. We need to see if he turns his season around. It’s a really crummy spot to be in.
Bonehead Pickoff: In the 7th inning with one out Jose Reyes walked. I knew as soon as he got on base he was going to try and steal, but I was completely against it. The ball was flying out of the park. I wanted to give Grandy and Yo a chance to put one in the seats. Unfortunately, Jose got picked off like an idiot. In the end we still got the insurance run because Grandy singled, the Nats walked Yo (Duh), and then Neil Walker hit an RBI single to make it 9-7.
The Second Takeout Slide Call: Addison Reed slammed the door in the 7th and retired the Nats in the 8th. He’s been absolutely stellar. Jeurys Familia came on in the 9th and walked the leadoff man like a fool. But then in true Curb Your Enthusiasm fashion, the entire game came full circle. With Jayson Werth on first, Murph hit a ball that nearly got past a diving Cabrera at short. But Cabby made a fantastic stop and started to turn the double play. The Mets got the out at second and made an unsuccessful throw to first. But Werth rocked Neil Walker on a takeout slide, and this time the umps called the Utley rule. They called the double play. The Werth slide wasn’t all that different from the play in the fifth inning. The bottom line is Werth purposely took out Walker and came off the bag. It’s a rule violation. Then Familia struck out Harper to end the game.
Nats Cry Like Babies: The Nats GM Mike Rizzo tried to fight umpire Jim Joyce after the game. I get their frustration. I share it. It’s appalling that the umps can’t make consistent calls in the same season, same month, same week, or the same freaking game. It’s a complete joke. But they got the call right. The Nats can’t complain about that. I’m done listening to complaints about the slide rule. The rule has been changed. Stay on the bag and slide directly at the bag. Period.
Also Harvey Is Out Forever: On the day of arguably the biggest win of the regular season, the Mets basically announced Matt Harvey is deciding between getting surgery for thoracic-outlet syndrome and missing the rest of the season or getting some interim thing done that will ultimately delay the inevitable surgery until after the season. He’s dunzo. I’ll have more on this once Harvey decides. Until then there’s really nothing new to report. Well other than what Sandy snuck in at the end of the Harvey press conference. Apparently Zack Wheeler is behind in his rehab from TJ and may not be back this season. Sandy snuck that gem into the conference at the last second. Jesus Christ we can’t have nice things at all.
This was a huge series win for the New York Metropolitans. The Pirates are one of our primary Wild Card competitors, and we managed to take the series despite all of our injury problems.
Sex Machine: Bartolo Colon was absolutely electric in this game. He went 7.2 innings, gave up 7 hits, 2 runs and struck out 8. He held the Pirates scoreless on 5 hits over the first 7 innings before they started to get to him in the 8th inning. In the 8th inning, Matt Joyce hit a solo blast. Then with two outs, Sean Rodriguez doubled and Josh Harrison hit an RBI single to make it 6-2. Then Sexy was pulled, and Jerry Blevins got out of the inning. Addison Reed nearly blew it in the 9th when he gave up a solo shot to Andrew McCutchen to make it 6-3 and a double to Jung Ho Kang. But Jeurys Familia managed to bail Reed out and finish this game off.
Bomb Squad Resurrection: The Mets won with home runs and strong starting pitching. Surprise, surprise! Curtis Granderson hit a solo blast in the first inning. In the third inning, Bartolo a Colon hit a glorious leadoff double, Curtis Granderson singled to get Tolo to third, and with one out Yoenis Cespedes hit a sac fly. Then Neil Walker hit a two run blast and Michael Conforto went back to back with his own solo shot to make it 5-0. Neil Walker added an RBI double in the fifth inning to make it 6-0. Conforto, Walker and Grandy all had two hits each. It was great to have Conforto and Walker back in the lineup.
Goodbye David: David Wright officially got surgery on his neck today. It was a cervical discectomy and fusion operation. In case you couldn’t tell from the name of the surgery, it’s a season ender. I wrote about it earlier today. Bye David.
Wilmer’s Out: On David Wright surgery day, Wilmer Flores got hit by a pitch on his hand and left the game. X-Rays were negative. I’m sure he’ll just sit out for a week on the active roster, and then he’ll be back.
Juan’s Out: The torn thumb ligament that Juan Lagares was supposed to play through officially landed him on the DL today. Real smart move keeping him on the active roster for over a week. The Mets say they will wait to see how his thumb responds to rest before making a decision on whether or not he’ll get surgery. Spoiler alert: He’s going to get surgery. He’s out forever.
Seriously?: The Mets promoted Ty Kelly to take Juan’s place on the active roster. Promoting Ty Kelly is the wrong decision. The promotion has to go to Brandon Nimmo, even if it’s for a short term stint. I don’t care that Nimmo bats left-handed. I don’t care that Nimmo won’t play everyday. Promoting an auto-out is absolutely ridiculous. The notion that the Mets should promote bad players because the good young players need to play everyday and will have their growth stunted by sitting is asinine. It’s a foolish move to keep the top talent in the minor leagues if the team feels the young player is major league ready, and the team is also trying to win a championship. We need to go to war with the top 25 major league ready guys in the organization. Any other approach unnecessarily handicaps the team.
Tomorrow: The Mets get the Braves for the weekend. The Mets need to handle their business against this NL Least foe and take advantage of this homestand.