Whenever a team is going up against a top pitcher, it is imperative that that team plays a nearly flawless game. It’s safe to assume that that ace is going to get his, whether it be through scattering a few hits, allowing few runs or striking out a ton of batters. If that ace happens to be Jacob deGrom, it’s more than likely going to be a combination of all three. So, you hope for a great performance from your own pitcher(s), you expect the same solid defense behind those pitchers and sometimes, you hope for a mistake from the pitcher that the offense can capitalize on.
Today’s story was about how the Phillies did not do those things needed to win.
deGrom started the game as usual, only allowing a Bryce Harper single in the first, but Harper did manage to steal second and third to threaten a tad. deGrom shut that down right quick. In the bottom of the first, with Aaron Nola on the mound and not exactly his sharpest self yet again, he allowed a leadoff single to Brandon Nimmo. Luckily for them, Nimmo was then erased thanks to a caught stealing laser beam by Andrew Knapp. It was a good thing too, since Michael “the Phillies haven’t really gotten me out all series” Conforto doubled in the next at bat. Nola got J.D. Davis to ground out for the second out of the inning, but Dominic Smith hit a shot to centerfield that unfortunately was a portend of things to come.
Adam Haseley gives the Mets a gift on a ball with an 85 percent catch probability. It's an RBI double for Dominic Smith.— Anthony DiComo (@AnthonyDiComo) September 6, 2020
Mets 1, Phillies 1, bottom one. pic.twitter.com/psI1jnPddf
That double gave the Mets a 1-0 lead which, with deGrom on the mound, seemed insurmountable.
Luckily for the Phillies, they have a secret weapon this year: Andrew Knapp.
Love a good Sunday afternoon Knapp. #RingTheBell pic.twitter.com/i5j7F02w0G— Philadelphia Phillies (@Phillies) September 6, 2020
When your backup catcher is homering to the opposite field off of Jacob deGrom, it kind of tingles your heart a bit, making you think things.
Pete Alonso shut that down real quick in the bottom of the second with a leadoff, first pitch home run that gave the lead right back to the Mets.
❄️ blast. #LGM pic.twitter.com/3LD8nUAJGC— New York Mets (@Mets) September 6, 2020
With that lead yet again, deGrom settled in. Using a borderline illegal slider, an almost unhittable cutter and oh yeah, a 99 mile an hour fastball, deGrom made easy work of the Phillies. The lead he had after the second inning was more than enough, but the Phillies were feeling generous.
The defense in this game was, to put it nicely, bad. The route taken by Haseley in the first was one thing, but in the fourth and fifth, more poor defense allowed more runs to cross the plate. Dominic Smith led off the fourth with a good piece of hitting, slapping a curveball from Nola down the left field line that kicked chalk and ended up being a double. Robinson Cano came up next and hit a ball back to Nola, who caught Smith wandering off of second. Throwing to Didi Gregorius to get a rundown started, Gregorius threw to Alec Bohm, who missed it, allowing Smith to get to third and Cano to get to second. Even with that display, Nola looked like he might get out of it by getting Alonso swinging, intentionally walking Jeff McNeil to load the bases, then striking out Wilson Ramos for the second out. Up came Andres Gimenez who, as he’s done all series, drove a ball up the middle for a two run single that made the score 4-1.
Two-out pressure? No problem. No. 3 #Mets prospect Andrés Giménez comes through with the bases loaded knock to extend his team's lead in the fourth. pic.twitter.com/2YjCBrXLzf— Minor League Baseball (@MiLB) September 6, 2020
The fifth inning saw more defensive mishaps. Conforto doubled to lead off the inning, but Nola struck out Davis and Smith for the next two outs. As Cano came up and grounded the ball to first...
Whoops. 5-1 Mets. pic.twitter.com/CYLTLVE7S5— SNY (@SNYtv) September 6, 2020
Nola didn’t stand much of a chance in his matchup with deGrom when the defense is playing like that. He would finish with an impressive 10 strikeouts in his 5 1⁄3 innings. He gave up a home run to McNeil in the sixth, struck out Ramos again, then was pulled in favor of Heath Hembree. The bullpen would take over and it wasn’t all that great, with Hembree allowing another run to the Mets on a Brandon Nimmo home run, making the score 7-1.
As the Phillies Metsed all over themselves, the Mets on the field were doing a lot of standing around with deGrom taking care of business. He eventually was pulled after the seventh inning, allowing the one run on the homer to Knapp, three hits overall, two walks and 12 strikeouts. It was a dominant performance.
Jacob deGrom, 98mph Fastball (swing/miss) and 92mph Slider (sword/K), Overlay. pic.twitter.com/1iuZ0ihOEu— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) September 6, 2020
Especially when you can do things like that.
And that’s it. Nothing else happened after deGrom was lifted. Especially in the eighth inning. There definitely wasn’t two singles and a walk to load the bases, a double to score two, a ground rule double to score two more, another home run from Alonso to score two more runs and a home run to Wilson Ramos that sealed a seven run inning.
This wasn’t one to remember.