SAN DIEGO — Jacob deGrom was terrific Monday, limiting the Padres to two runs in seven innings, striking out seven and walking just one. For a second start in a row since returning from the injured list, deGrom looked like his regular self, lowering his ERA to 3.60.
But Chris Paddack was better. In San Diego’s 4-0 win, the rookie righthander lasted 7
This time, at least, the Mets could blame their hapless hitting on genuine dominance from the opposing pitcher.
“He threw a heck of a ballgame. He’s got great stuff,” manager Mickey Callaway said. “He pitched at the bottom of the zone to get ahead, he pitched at the top to put guys away, he mixed in pretty good breaking stuff.
“It reminds me a little bit of deGrom. He uses his big curveball a little bit more than deGrom does, but the extension, the body, the way he can get that first pitch down for a strike and then elevate is very similar to what deGrom can do.”
DeGrom wasn’t as complimentary. “His stuff was OK,” deGrom said. “He just located well tonight.”
The Mets have lost four in a row and are 3-9 in their past dozen games. They have totaled seven runs in their past six games — including one that lasted 18 innings.
On Monday, the Mets didn’t so much lack that oft-mentioned one big hit as they did baserunners in general. DeGrom was the only Met to reach second base. Jeff McNeil (2-for-4) had half the hits.
In a symbolic sequence in the seventh, Wilson Ramos flailed at a full-count changeup down in the strike zone. He lost his bat, which soared over the visitors’ dugout. A bunch of Mets ducked. That was about as much excitement as the offense produced all night.
Paddack bested Pete Alonso in a matchup of two leading NL Rookie of the Year candidates, striking him out twice and holding him hitless in three at-bats.
It came with a bit of a contrived tiff, too. Alonso edged Paddack for NL rookie of the month. Over the weekend, Paddack told The Athletic, in part: “I’m coming for him. We’ll see Monday who the top dog is.”
Alonso didn’t dig that.
“He wanted me, and he got me tonight,” Alonso said. “Simple as that. It kind of fired me up and it was going to be a good matchup. And I didn’t answer the bell.
“He had a hell of a first month. If he was mad about \[rookie of the month\], there’s five other months .
The Mets are a long way away from the World Series, though.
“We got to get them tomorrow,” Alonso said. “It’s a must. We need to win tomorrow.”
[BOLD]Notes & quotes:[/BOLD] Jason Vargas (left hamstring) landed on the injured list, and Steven Matz (radial nerve irritation in his left forearm) was scratched from his Wednesday start, but isn’t on the IL yet. “If he can pitch before he is eligible to come off the IL, we want him to do that,” manager Mickey Callaway said . . . Corey Oswalt, called up Monday, is an option to start Wednesday . . . Justin Wilson allowed two runs in one inning in his return from the IL. Tim Peterson went back to Triple-A Syracuse . . . The Mets acquired righthander Wilmer Font (5.79 ERA) from the Rays for a player to be named or cash. He’ll join the team Tuesday . . . Noah Syndergaard (shutout, homer) was named NL player of the week.