The Mets dropped to 15-8 after losing their first game at home this season, their third straight and 5 of their last 7. Tonight, deGrom was in an absolute groove, until Flores entered the equation with his 6th error on the season. From that error forward, deGrom seemed to lose his focus and for the first time in his career gave up 4+ runs in back to back starts. Then came the top of the ninth and the flood gates opened. The Nationals took game one of the four game set by the score of 8-2.
Yet another game where the Mets jumped out to an early lead and couldn’t hold on. deGrom (2-3) was lights out until the top of the 4th when Flores committed his sixth error of the season, knocking deGrom out of his rhythm. deGrom wound up getting pulled after only 5 1/3. He gave up 5 hits, 5 runs (3 earned), walked 2 and struck out 4. His ERA rose to 3.34 and concern has to be setting in. Despite some early success, his last 2 starts have been especially shaky and you have to wonder if the league has caught up to him after he took the league by storm en route to his Rookie of the Year 2014 campaign. What he does next will be the key to his continued development. As hitters catch up, you must make adjustments to keep them off balance. And the biggest adjustment will be fixing his inability to get lefties out.
Something needs to be done with the middle of the infield defense. Flores and Murphy are not helping this team defensively, not helping so much so that they are hurting this team. With a pitching first philosophy, you can’t run subpar defenders out to the two most important positions in the infield on a nightly basis. Pitchers will lose confidence and try to strike everyone out due to the fear that they have no support behind them, and that is not always the recipe for success. As much as the thought from management is the offense of Murphy and Flores will make up for what they lack on defense, it just can’t continue. I’m not saying that a change can and will be made any time soon, but options need to start being seriously explored.
Matt Harvey will yet again have all the pressure on his shoulders. Pressure to end this current 3 game losing streak and show the Nationals that the Mets will not continue to be their whipping boys. As unfair as it may be that he is so heavily relied upon so early in the season after easing back into the swing of things post Tommy John surgery, this team depends on him and tomorrow will be no different. The Mets need a big, dominant, and deep outing tomorrow night to get them back in the win column. While that pressure is not fair for most, it seems to be wanted and encompassed by The Dark Knight.