deGrom on loss: 'I did a terrible job out there'

Alonso homers twice as Mets' ace gives up 7 runs (6 earned) in loss

May 18th, 2019

MIAMI -- As Mets general manager Brodie Van Wagenen sat inside the visitors' dugout at Marlins Park on Friday afternoon, he acknowledged that his inconsistent ballclub faced an important part of its schedule. Hours later, his comments proved to be prophetic.

"We've shown at times we have the ability to score runs, we've shown the ability to pitch well both out of the rotation and the bullpen," Van Wagenen said. "What we need to do is be more consistent, and we need to do all three of those things together at the same time so that we can put the best product that we have every day, not just some facets of the game on different days."

Though Pete Alonso homered twice and the Mets mounted a rally, they couldn't erase a poor start from ace Jacob deGrom in an 8-6 loss to the Marlins.

Since drawing their record even at 20-20 on Tuesday in Washington, the Mets have dropped three in a row, tying a season low for games below .500.

"I think the vibe is fine," said Alonso, who recorded his second career multi-homer game. "I think that for us, we just need to keep coming to the yard ready to work and get better every day. It's not been what we wanted, but the fact we were down 7-1 at one point shows the resiliency of this team no matter how many games we may have dropped. We're always willing to fight and keep scratching away. We're never out of it. That's kind of the feel overall. Whatever the outcome of the game, it is what it is, but we're always going to keep fighting pitch to pitch."

deGrom, who entered with a 1.59 ERA in his past five starts against the Marlins, surrendered a season-high seven runs (six earned) over five frames. He last allowed seven runs or more on Sept. 5, 2017, in a matchup with the Phillies (nine runs/six earned).

Last year's National League Cy Young Award winner hasn't been the model of consistency in 2019, much to his frustration. After deGrom delivered two strong starts to open the season, his ERA soared to 4.85 by his fifth outing, on April 26. Friday's defeat snapped a stretch of three consecutive quality starts.

"I think it was just a little reminiscent of earlier in the season," Mets manager Mickey Callaway said. "Hung a slider there, big couple of hits on non-executed sliders that didn't quite have the bite that he wanted. They put some good swings on him. I know he's probably frustrated after that tonight, but he's got to pick himself up, continue to work. What he's capable of, go out there next time and make the adjustment."

The Mets were ahead, 1-0, in the third when things took a downturn, as Todd Frazier committed a fielding error to open the frame. Following a sacrifice bunt, a replay overturned the initial call of an out on a pickoff throw at second. Jon Berti then singled and stole a base to set up a pair of runners in scoring position. Garrett Cooper's two-run single on the 10th offering from deGrom -- a 91.4 mph changeup -- snapped a stretch of 26 consecutive scoreless frames for Miami's offense. That dated back to the third inning of deGrom's start last Saturday at Citi Field.

The Marlins added two more runs in the fourth and another three in the fifth, punctuated by Jorge Alfaro's 456-foot homer.

According to Statcast, deGrom entered Friday with the fifth-highest swinging-strike rate (19.4 percent) for a Major League starting pitcher since May 1 (min. 200 total pitches). Only 13 of his 104 pitches (12.5) went for swinging strikes. During his rough three-start stretch at the end of April, he recorded just a 12 percent swinging-strike rate.

"Not able to locate after the second inning," deGrom said of his slider. "Felt good the first two, then things got kind of out of control. Tonight's on me. I did a terrible job out there. These guys did nothing but battle. I let it get out of hand."

When asked before the game whether there was anything else he could do to help the postseason hopeful Mets stop treading water, Van Wagenen alluded to internal options. New York selected the contract of veteran outfielder Carlos Gomez after designating Keon Broxton for assignment. Callaway mentioned Juan Lagares and J.D. Davis as guys who would get more opportunities.

Down 8-3 entering the eighth, Alonso led off with his second homer. The Mets then brought the tying run to the plate by loading the bases. Lagares singled through the hole and Davis, who homered after being part of a double switch for Gomez in the seventh, popped out to short. Brandon Nimmo hit a sacrifice fly to trim the deficit to two, but pinch-hitter Jeff McNeil struck out swinging to strand two runners.

"My job at the end of the day is to try and put the right players on the field or give Mickey the right players in the clubhouse so he can put them on the field, and we're constantly doing that," Van Wagenen said. "It feels like we're making transactions frequently. Sometimes those transactions are a result of injuries that require us to make moves; otherwise, we're trying to make moves to improve the team for the next night. That's what we're doing. I think beyond that is continuing to give support, continuing to invest in the resources we have and the players that we have and try to get the most out of them."