Thursday, June 1, 2017
Perception vs. Reality
That's basically what happened to me on Wednesday night.
I'd figured with Jacob deGrom on the mound against a somewhat-floundering Brewers lineup, I was in for a good show. deGrom was great his last two times out. Last night, he was basically the exact opposite and it was evident by time he was 12 pitches in.
Eric Sogard, the nebbishy Brewers 2nd Baseman and Oakland castoff, led off and deGrom quickly got ahead of him 1-2. But he couldn't get a damn thing over after that. Either he barely missed or Sogard nicked anything close, and eventually he walked after 8 pitches. Eric Thames followed. Thames, from all I can tell, was a judy hitter who couldn't hack it, went to Korea, started blasting Home Runs all over the place, and then came back to the US this year and hit 11 Home Runs in April, and all of a sudden he's going to be an All Star Game starter and trade high off of a fortuitously hot April for the rest of his life, ignoring the fact that he'd hit 2 Home Runs for the month of May. However, once deGrom was through with him, it was 3 Home Runs for the month of May because deGrom hung a slider right over the heart of the plate and Thames parked it in the Brewers bullpen.
And from there, as they say, the rout was on. deGrom gave up another moonshot Home Run to Keon Broxton in the 2nd, and in the 4th, the Brewers finished him off as he slogged through a miserable 31-pitch inning where everything that could have possibly gone wrong did. He walked Sogard—and that was the 3rd time he walked Sogard in the first 4 innings—gave up a double to Jesus Aguilar that Granderson couldn't catch, and some more hits that I can't remember because I'd given up.
deGrom managed to make it through 4 innings, and they were 4 eminently forgettable innings, as he threw 105 pitches, allowed 7 runs on 8 hits, walked 5, including three to Sogard in case you weren't already outraged, and just to kick us all in the nuts, he struck out 6.
Ostensibly, the game was finished before a Mets player ever had a bat in their hands, but just to make sure, the Mets managed to do very little against Junior Guerra over his 6 innings of work. That's not to say they didn't have opportunities to chip away a little bit, but you just knew it wasn't happening on this night. By time the 8th inning rolled around and there was a Neil Ramirez sighting—perhaps the only particular scenario where a Ramirez sighting is acceptable—I'd made my way downstairs in preparation for a quick exit once the game ended. And yes, I waited until the game ended, so I did get to see the Mets at least score a run with 2 outs in the 9th, so instead of getting shut out, they lost 7-1. Woopie.
I'd like to say that there was some moral lesson here, about not going into a game with your hopes too high, or always prepare yourself for what might go wrong, or whatever self-defeating Mets fan thing people like to throw around at times like this when everything is terrible, but basically, this was just one of those nights where a very good pitcher came out and laid an egg and got whacked around by a middling team. I don't care if the Brewers are in 1st place, they're middling. The larger problem is the volume of times these very good pitchers have laid eggs this season, because it's getting a little tiresome.