The humidity dropped, allowing for Philadelphia’s intense summer heat to be the perfectly playable, survivable baseball weather it was meant to be this afternoon. South Philly was alive with the scent of boiling humans as Zach Eflin took the mound for the rubber match of a series against the Mets.
Eflin’s change-up was curling Larry Andersen’s nose hairs all afternoon, and effectively getting hitters out at the plate. But, as Phillies starters always seem to, he faltered. After a 1-2-3 first, the 22-year-old didn’t have another clean inning until the sixth. In between, a Juan Lagares RBI triple, a Curtis Granderson solo shot, and a double from gurgling turd-bucket Jose Reyes all gave the Mets their 3-0 lead going into the sixth.
Meanwhile, the Phillies offense had to contend with the likes of Jacob deGrom (as well as a few sections of fully formed Mets fans, having finally managed to bend the bars of the sewer grates wide enough to slip out). Yes, it seems that not every decent Mets hurler is dealing with an overwhelming injury, and deGrom went out there, started pitching, and the Phillies, after consulting with the umpires, were informed they had to go out there and face him. So they did, unsuccessfully.
It wasn’t until Eflin’s grounder up the middle in the third inning that the Phillies logged a base runner. And there wasn’t another one outside of a walk from Ryan Howard - playing for the second day in a row - for the rest of the game. That walk was, of course, erased by a double play. If deGrom was rattled by a cool, handsome guy going for his “consecutive strikeouts to start a game” record in Texas, he didn’t show it.
Cubs broadcaster Jim Deshaies and Jacob deGrom hold the record with 8 straight K to start a game. Hamels has 6 pic.twitter.com/d1Clpx5ige— TR Sullivan (@Sullivan_Ranger) July 17, 2016
Daniel Stumpf worked around a hit in the seventh, but then Asdrubal Cabrera tagged Andrew Bailey the next inning with a two-run no-doubter over the gawking head of Peter Bourjos. It was 5-0 now, and not much else happened. Andres Blanco pinch hit somewhere. I think Brett Oberholtzer was around. Where is Tommy Joseph? Is he okay? Is he hungry?
Eflin finished the day after six innings, allowing three earned runs, two walks, and two strikeouts. deGrom finished the game allowing one hit, no runs, and seven strikeouts. Oh, he also fielded a Cody Asche bunt attempt very well. Facing Odubel Herrera in the ninth with two outs, deGrom put down the Phillies lead-off hitter for his first ever shut-out as a big leaguer.
The Phillies have lost 50 games.
So obviously the narrative from this is that deGrom can dominate, but if he’s so great, why are opposing pitchers hitting 8-for-24 against him this year? Yeah. That’s what I thought.