Jacob deGrom stepped up on the mound on this sunny Sunday at Citi Field hoping to have a happy 28th birthday and Father’s Day, his first as a dad. A package of runs would have been the perfect gift from the Mets.
While deGrom’s command was off, he still gave them a three-run, six-inning outing, his 49th career quality start out of 64. But the lineup gave him no runs in return.
Unhappy birthday to you.
The NL-worst Braves beat the Mets, 6-0, behind Julio Teheran’s one-hitter, finishing off a humbling sweep. That extended deGrom’s career-high winless streak to nine starts — 0-4 with five no-decisions — even though he allowed three runs or less in eight of them. He hasn’t won since improving to 3-0 on April 30.
But deGrom was more focused on this start than the streak, about being unable to nail down the last out in the third until two runners had crossed, about running up his pitch count again after throwing 38 through two on the way to 98.
Manager Terry Collins said his starters didn’t make pitches in this series. Neither was deGrom satisfied with his five-hit, one-walk, six-strikeout performance.
“I’m more frustrated with myself about today,” deGrom said. “I didn’t put us in a very good position to win. I want to go deeper in ballgames. It doesn’t help when you’re at 100 pitches in six innings and 40 after two . . . I think there’s still some work to be done.”
Still, in his last four starts, deGrom has yielded a grand total of nine runs and he was 0-3 with a no-decision. The bats provided a not-so-grand total of two runs in those games.
“I think the way we put it is pretty much you start out by, ‘How are you feeling?’ and then congratulate him for, ‘Hey, look, you’re keeping us in games, man. Continue to battle through it,’ ” Collins said. “He just nods his head and gets it.”
Atlanta got to deGrom in that third inning when Ender Inciarte lined a two-out RBI single to rightfield after Erick Aybar was hit by a pitch on the foot and moved up on a sacrifice and a long fly to center. Freddie Freeman followed with a single and Nick Markakis delivered another RBI single.
“I can’t make a pitch to get the third out,” deGrom said.
Markakis also got to him in the sixth by driving a changeup to right-centerfield for just his second homer. So deGrom is just 3-4 with five no-decisions despite a 2.96 ERA.
“I think he’s kind of looking for just a little bit of rhythm,” Neil Walker said. “He’s obviously one of the best in the game in my opinion.”