Jacob deGrom etched his name into major league history with yet another sterling start. And yet again, naturally the Mets found a way to flush it down the toilet, in a dreary, desultory 5-3 loss to Miami in front of 20,849 Tuesday night at Citi Field.
Padding his Cy Young candidacy, deGrom (8-9) tossed a 26th straight start allowing three runs or fewer. It broke a major league record that had stood for more than a century, set by the Cubs’ Leslie “King” Cole in 1910. That deGrom actually got saddled with a loss was telling of just how sorry the 65-78 Mets have been.
As usual, deGrom gave the Mets a golden opportunity to win, but they weren’t good enough to cash in, smothered by the last-place Marlins. He scattered three hits over seven strong innings, allowing just two runs while striking out nine.
DeGrom recorded his 21st straight quality start, a Mets record and major league-high. But commiserate with the lack of support deGrom had gotten, it wasn’t enough.
After weather conspired to push back deGrom’s start from Sunday to Monday and finally into Tuesday, Mickey Callaway talked about the challenge that posed.
“That is difficult,” Callaway said. “You wake up, your adrenaline is going, the way you sleep sometimes is different the night before you pitch. Your routine obviously gets affected, and then you have to do it multiple days in a row.
“That can in the end start to drain you, because there is anxiety. Even if you’re the best pitcher in baseball like Jacob is, don’t give up runs very often like he does, there’s still anxiety going into a start. … It may emotionally hit you in a bad place, just drain you a bit. Then physically those emotions can drain you.”
The only mistake deGrom made was a two-run double in the fourth. Miami’s Lewis Brinson doubled to deep center, plating Brian Anderson and Derek Dietrich. That’s all the offense deGrom allowed, but he left after seven down 2-1.
Michael Conforto hit a solo homer in sixth, tagging a 2-0 pitch from Jose Urena (6-12) for a line drive that got out to left in a hurry. That’s all the offense the Mets could muster for deGrom, though.
Reliever Anthony Swarzak allowed an eighth-inning solo shot to Miami pinch-hitter J.T. Riddle to make it 3-1, and Robert Gsellman coughed up a ninth-inning RBI triple to Brian Anderson and an RBI double to Dietrich to make it 5-1.
Kevin Plawecki smacked a two-run ninth-inning shot to left to cut the lead in half. But Amed Rosario grounded out to end the rally.
DeGrom is slated for just three more starts, but Callaway said the Mets won’t pitch him on short rest to wring out an extra start in his pursuit of the award.
“He’ll stay on regular rest. We won’t push him because of that,” Callaway said. “I don’t think that will affect it. What’s going to matter is how he pitches in the starts that he does have left. And it should matter, because it’s a good race and it’s going to be fun to watch.”
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