Jacob deGrom might have felt very much at home in Camden Yards. Although, given how well deGrom has pitched lately, he might have felt at home pitching in Luzhniki Stadium. deGrom got an early lead thanks to a pair of Curtis Granderson Home Runs and basically did the rest himself as the Mets rode his pitching into the 8th inning and then survived a 9th inning scare to beat the Orioles 5-3.
The game started late, though it didn't much matter to me as I'd come home and come perilously close to falling asleep altogether. There was apparently some rain in the Baltimore area that delayed the game by something in the neighborhood of 42 minutes. I glossed over this completely and I could be wrong on the time but what difference does it make? Unlike when the rain fell on Sunday, it didn't turn the Mets into meatballs, probably because it was before the game started. Or because deGrom just wouldn't let his teammates fall down the same rabbit hole they did two days prior.
Whatever it was, this was basically another typical game for deGrom. He tied the Orioles up and stuck them in his back pocket, allowing all of one run, a Gerardo Parra Home Run that was more flukish than anything else, 5 hits and 6 strikeouts before he departed with 2 outs in the 8th and 100 pitches. Perhaps, much like Harvey against the Colorados last week, deGrom could have finished the deal, but there was no need to push him. At that point the Mets had a 3-1 lead and when they stretched it to 5-1 in the top of the 9th, it seemed there was little reason for concern.
Except that Tyler Clippard didn't have it in the 9th, and Jeurys Familia barely had it either. Clippard had gotten one out, but then allowed a walk and an annoying dying quail of a hit to Matt Wieters before departing in favor of Jeurys Familia. Familia got the 2nd out and then appeared to get Steve Clevenger to hit a game-ending ground out. Except that Lucas Duda basically pulled a Daniel Murphy and tried to field the ball, then realized he couldn't field the ball, and then tried to make it back to 1st base to receive the throw from Kelly Johnson. Had Duda just stayed at home, he probably would have saved a lot of headache but instead he received the throw while not standing particularly close to 1st Base. So the bases were then loaded, and at that point Familia essentially had an attack of Benitez because he inexplicably walked the next two batters to force in two runs, send the tying run to 2nd base, put the winning run on 1st and put half the Mets fan base in the latrines. Manny Machado was next and Machado's got the potential to put one in the seats and seal an absolute disaster of a game, but instead Familia pulled himself together and got Machado to ground to 3rd, far away enough from Duda that he had no choice but to stay planted to 1st base and the game was over.
So, that was a lousy ending to what was otherwise a rather fine win for the Mets, and it once again underscores the Bullpen as just vulnerable enough to cause concern, except that this is the Mets and when you bring up bullpen problems people start to have Vietnam flashbacks. Combine that with the fact that the fan base has basically forgotten what a pennant race is like and you have a real hot time.