The Mets look at the standings in the National League and see nine of 15 teams with sub-.500 records. History would suggest that one or two of those teams will make a run and end up in the playoffs.
Why not us, the Mets say. Why not now?
It helps when you have a piping hot Jacob deGrom on the mound and it helps when you are playing the Phillies, the team with baseball’s worst record.
DeGrom threw seven dominant innings Friday night and the Mets squeaked across just enough offense to win their sixth in seven games, 2-1, before 37,134 at Citi Field.
The Mets were coming off a 10-game road trip that started with four straight losses in Los Angeles and ended with five wins in six games. So they felt pretty good about themselves coming home.
“I don’t think there’s any question that we feel a little bit differently today than we did a week ago,” general manager Sandy Alderson said. “I think it’s fair for us to view it that way.”
Still, the Mets started the night 10½ games behind Washington in the NL East and 9½ games behind co-leaders Arizona and Colorado in the wild-card race.
“We know we’ve got to win ballgames,” deGrom said. “We know we’ve got a good team and we know we can do it. It’s just a matter of going out there and doing it. I think going into L.A. and getting our teeth kicked in was kind of a wake-up call. Let’s go. If we’re going to do it, we’re running out of time.”
DeGrom struck out 12 and was charged with one tainted run. The run was earned, according to baseball’s scoring rules, but it hardly was deserved by the Phillies (26-52).
With DeGrom throwing a no-hitter and two outs in the fifth, centerfielder Curtis Granderson lost a fly ball hit by Andrew Knapp in the twilight. It fell behind Granderson for a triple and led to the Phillies’ run when former Met Ty Kelly lined a legit single to left.
Granderson said he did not realize deGrom had a no-no going. DeGrom, with a smile, said: “I might have thought about it.”
DeGrom recovered to strike out Ben Lively to end the inning and then struck out the side against the top of the Phillies’ order in the sixth.
He allowed one other hit, a ground single to center by Nick Williams with two outs in the seventh. It was Williams’ first big-league hit. DeGrom struck out Knapp to end the inning and his brilliant night at 111 pitches.
DeGrom (8-3) gave up three hits and walked one for his fourth win in a row. In 32 innings over those outings, he has allowed three earned runs and struck out 31. Not too shabby.
In the two starts before that, deGrom was strafed for 15 earned runs in eight innings. It was baffling — and now it’s way in the rear-view mirror of deGrom’s season.
“He’s in a groove for sure,” manager Terry Collins said. “I didn’t think tonight was his best command, but yet he is such a competitor. You don’t see him all of a sudden say, ‘Well, OK, here’s one over the middle of the plate.’ He just continues to pitch how he’s supposed to pitch.”
The Mets took a 1-0 lead in the second on Granderson’s two-out RBI infield single. It became 2-0 in the fourth when Jose Reyes tripled and scored on Travis d’Arnaud’s single to left through a drawn-in infield.
Jerry Blevins allowed a one-out double in the eighth but combined with Paul Sewald to hold the lead. Addison Reed threw a 1-2-3 ninth for his 13th save.
Jacob deGrom’s totals in his last four starts:
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