Jacob deGrom had a carbon copy of Game 5 of last year's NLDS" talk is all over the place. That's because that's the easiest way to describe what he did last night in Los Angeles. deGrom has already identified his mechanical issues that seem to be the cause of his lack of velocity and, more importunely, his poor start in San Diego last Thursday. Based on what he did last night, or perhaps early this morning, it's clear that he hasn't fixed the issue, but if nothing else he can work with it and try to bulldog his way through.
One thing deGrom can do really well is bulldog.
The Dodgers were all over deGrom from the outset and appeared primed to double him out of the building early on. But deGrom doesn't panic, doesn't stray from his game plan and just lets it all fall back into place for him. The Dodgers beat him like a drum in that 1st inning and all he did after that was let them keep getting runners on base so he could strand them there. That was the story of the game. He wasn't overpowering the Dodgers but he made every key pitch and got every key out and suddenly a game where he looked like he'd be hard pressed to make it through 4 innings was now in the 7th and he's still out there mowing guys down.
Unfortunately, while deGrom harkened back to one game from last year's NLDS, the Mets bats couldn't remind us of a different NLDS game against Alex Wood. You'll recall that Wood was essentially the sacrificial lamb in the midst of the giant can of whoopass the Mets unleashed on the Dodgers in Game 3 of the NLDS, when he couldn't get Murphy out and then Yoenis Cespedes almost literally hit a ball out of Citi Field. Down 2-0, the Mets capitalized on a pair of fielding miscues by dear friend Chase Utley. Not that I ever liked Utley to begin with, but I'm even more convinced that he must be the douchiest teammate ever. With Cespedes on 1st and none out in the 2nd, Wilmer Flores hit a ground ball up the middle that Utley fielded and then tried to do a backwards flip to 2nd base to get a force out. Never mind that Corey Seager wasn't at the base, Utley's toss wasn't especially on target either. So what does Utley do? He essentialy stonewalls his rookie teammate and never removes the puss from his face. Won't even look at the kid. Like it's his fault. Karma then bit Utley in the ass when Michael Conforto hit a ground ball deep in the hole at 2nd base and rather than take the easy out, Utley tried to wheel and throw to 2nd and instead heaved the ball into Left Field. Maybe someone needs to remind Chase that he's not 25 anymore? I don't know. I'd say he should retire but then that's one less opposing player for Mets fans to universally despise.
Then, that was it. Wood and deGrom controlled the tempo the remainder of the way, and really, I was prepping for extra innings because that's how it seemed this game was heading. Pedro Baez and Antonio Bastardo got through the 8th and the Dodgers went to Kenley Jansen in the 9th, while the Mets countered with Hansel Robles. Jansen was clean. Robles was too, at least through the first two batters. He got a quick 2 strikes on Trayce Thompson, a pinch hitter, and then came a couple of foul balls, and then for whatever reason Robles kept shaking off Plawecki.
We've all seen Bull Durham. You know what happens when you shake off the Catcher too many times.
Trayce Thompson got the free steak. And Hansel Robles just learned the first lesson of pitching.