Well, that was kind of a bummer. A completely predictable bummer, but a bummer nevertheless. Mets starter Jacob deGrom did pretty much what he does, and for his part, Merrill Kelly did broadly what he does for the Diamondbacks. It wasn’t a bad start, by any stretch, and if it weren’t for Pete Alonso and a truly strange shift that we put on (twice, as it happened) against Mets catcher Wilson Ramos, it could have been a very different story.
I thought there might be some hope from the start, as the D-Backs hung four lengthy at-bats against deGrom in the top of the first. Granted, the results were three swinging strikeouts and a dumb luck check swing bloop single by Josh Rojas, but at least we made deGrom throw 22 pitches. Merrill Kelly, meanwhile, seemed to be starting strong, throwing 95 mph heat and aggressively challenging Mets batters. Well, the first two of them, anyway. After an easy first out, he left a curveball out over the plate for Alonso, who promptly sent it just over the wall in left. He then walked Michael Conforto and hit Ramos on the hand with a pitch, before being rescued by an inning-ending double play on a Robinson Cano grounder to Nick Ahmed at short. 1-0 Mets
Sadly, however, deGrom’s first inning wasn’t a harbinger of things to come, and he sat us down in order in the second and third innings, racking up three more Ks. Kelly, however, had settled down as well, pitching around a two-out single in the second and retiring the top of the Mets’ lineup in order in the third.
The Diamondbacks ended deGrom’s succession of batters retired in the top of the fourth, as Eduardo Escobar, perhaps sensing that it wasn’t going to be easy to tee off against the Mets’ ace, slapped at the first pitch, hitting against the shift and grounding a single into left. Christian Walker promptly grounded into a double play, like he does, but hey, at least we had another baserunner, if only for a brief, shining moment. It’s the little things, really.
The Mets tacked on a second run, though, in the bottom of the frame, largely due to an odd defensive alignment that we decided to put on for Ramos, who was leading off the Mets’ half of the inning. Josh Rojas swapped out his left fielder’s glove for an infielder’s mitt, and took up a fifth infielder position. That left Ketel Marte and Jarrod Dyson alone in the expansive Citi Field outfield, each of them manning one of the alleys. Sadly, Ramos teed off on a hanging Kelly curveball and sent it to straightaway center for a double. Kelly then retired the next two batters, raising hopes that he might wiggle off the hook, but nope. He surrendered a walk to Brandon Nimmo, the Mets’ center fielder, and then a single straight up the middle to shortstop Amed Rosario that allowed Ramos to score. Never mind that, but for the bizarro shift, Ramos wouldn’t have been on second in the first place. 2-0 Mets
Wilmer Flores led off the fifth inning. Apparently he was well-loved at Citi in his New York days, because they’d put up a lovely tribute video on the Jumbotron before the game started. His homecoming got better, though, on the fifth pitch of his second AB against deGrom:
That’s gonna be the only highlight video from this game, sadly. Two outs later, Jarrod Dyson reached on a highly dubious walk—home plate umpire Gabe Morales had a pretty terrible and erratic strike zone tonight, though both teams seemed to suffer from it equally. He then stole second and advanced to third when Ramos made a bad throw. Merrill Kelly came to the plate, and, unsurprisingly, struck out. 2-1 Mets
We immediately gave that run back in the bottom of the fifth, however, when Kelly threw what was actually a very good curveball to Alonso that Alonso, once again, sent over the wall in left. Pete Alonso is a monster. 3-1 Mets
And that was pretty much it. Kelly finished six innings, then turned it over to the bullpen, who gave up a couple of hits but worked around them. Sadly, however, deGrom set us down in order in the seventh, while Seth Lugo did the same in the eighth and the ninth, notching an immaculate two-inning save.
WIN PROBABILITY, courtesy of FanGraphs
Welcome Home: Wilmer Flores (+7.7% WPA)
Glad You Could Make It: The Diamondbacks defense (4 double plays turned, 3 of them inning-ending)
Stay Away: The rest of the offense (-31.9% WPA combined)
It was a pretty quiet and perhaps glum night in the Game Day Thread, with a mere 147 comments, offered up by 17 total contributors. Present and accounted for were: AzDbackfanInDc, Dano_in_Tucson, DeadManG, GuruB, Hannibal4467, HeathKBar, Jack Sommers, Jim McLennan, Makakilo, MrMrrbi, NikT77, Rockkstarr12, Snake_Bitten, The-Icon, edbigghead, kilnborn, onedotfive
No Sedona Red comments, so CotG goes to kilnborn for, if I’m not mistaken, the second straight Monday, because it made me laugh during a game that was not a joyful watch for the most part:
Join us tomorrow for the second game of this four-game series, as Zac Gallen goes up against Mets righty Zack Wheeler in what should be a more plausibly winnable matchup. First pitch is, once again, 4:10pm Arizona time. Thanks for reading, and GO D-BACKS!