deGrom takes NL ERA lead, but 'pen blows win

Familia allows 2 runs in 9th to squander ace's 7 scoreless innings

May 23rd, 2018

NEW YORK -- By the time finished carving up the Marlins on Wednesday, he stood alone as the National League's ERA leader, seven more shutout innings slicing his mark to 1.54.

The Mets are a .500 team when he pitches.

That is the reality of deGrom's season, a case study in excellence unfulfilled. Despite the best efforts of one of the NL's best pitchers, the Mets are 5-5 in deGrom's starts -- the latest defeat occurring Wednesday at Citi Field, where allowed two runs in the ninth to send the Mets to a 2-1 loss. Three of Familia's four blown saves have come in games deGrom started.

"It's tough because [deGrom] has been dominant," manager Mickey Callaway said. "I mean, not just good or solid. He's been dominant. He hasn't given up any runs."

It's only barely hyperbole: Over his last 33 1/3 innings, deGrom has allowed one man to cross home plate. Since returning from a hyperextended right elbow, he is 1-0 with a 0.60 ERA, 23 strikeouts and five walks in three outings, including seven innings of four-hit ball against the Marlins.

In sum, deGrom has thrown 58 1/3 innings this season. The Mets have trailed after just three of those (and on all three occasions, they scored game-tying runs the next half-inning). Yet they have lost five of the games he has started.

"Nobody wants to lose," deGrom said. "Any loss is tough, and a loss in the ninth is tough."

Wednesday's torment, at least, was swift. Entering with a one-run lead in the ninth, Familia allowed three consecutive one-out hits, the last of them a game-tying J.T. Realmuto single. Although cut down the potential go-ahead run at home plate on that play, the Marlins scored it two batters later on 's single.

"We're like a family here," Familia said. "Every time anybody has a game like that and we come in from the bullpen and don't do the job, we feel bad as teammates."

deGrom, for his part, shrugged off any frustration. Before leaving the main clubhouse room late Wednesday night, he passed by Familia's locker, where he gave the closer a reassuring tap on the shoulder.

"It's not fun," Callaway said. "I'm sure he doesn't enjoy it. But I don't think he's going to let it affect his pitching, and obviously he hasn't."

MOMENTS THAT MATTERED

The Mets' one-run lead came courtesy of , who hit a Dan Straily fastball 410 feet into the second deck in right field, as projected by Statcast™, for a solo homer in the fifth. Four of Nimmo's nine career homers have either tied a game or given the Mets the lead.

SOUND SMART

Mets pitchers struck out 10 batters, matching the franchise record with eight consecutive games of at least nine strikeouts. The Mets accomplished that one other time, in 2016.

YOU GOTTA SEE THIS

Before Familia blew the save, pitched a shutout eighth inning to extend his career-best scoreless streak to 15 innings. Lugo has struck out 16 batters and walked one during the streak, relying extensively on his signature curveball. Of Lugo's 13 pitches Wednesday, six were curves. More >

HE SAID IT

"You can't expect to win 1-0 games all the time." -- Callaway, on an offense that ranks 29th in baseball in runs per game since the start of May

UP NEXT

Outside of deGrom and , the Mets have received little consistency from their rotation this season. will look to change that when he opens the team's four-game series Thursday in Milwaukee, starting an 8:10 p.m. ET game opposite Brewers right-hander . Matz has pitched into the sixth inning just once in eight starts.