The Mets announced on Wednesday that Jacob deGrom’s 2018 NL Cy Young Award and a game-worn road jersey have been added to the collection at the team Hall of Fame in Citi Field.
Right on cue, deGrom went out on Wednesday night and produced an outing that was vintage 2018. The righthander, who had a 9.69 ERA over his last three starts, threw seven shutout innings against the Reds on a misty night.
Unfortunately for deGrom, the Mets’ offense reverted to its 2018 form, at least when he was on the mound. The Mets didn’t score over the first seven innings either, so deGrom was left with a no-decision.
Jose Iglesias' two-out, ninth-inning home run inside the leftfield foul pole off Edwin Diaz was the game’s only run. The Mets, who had five hits against five Reds pitchers, went down meekly in the bottom of the ninth to conclude a 1-0 loss before 22,119.
Still, the outing was a huge leap forward for deGrom, whose three-start struggles included a trip to the 10-day injured list with a “barking” elbow.
Once deGrom’s health was no longer in question, all that remained was getting him back to his Cy Young form.
“Great job by deGrom,” manager Mickey Callaway said. “I felt like he was back. Very reminiscent of last year. He probably still didn’t have his best stuff, but that was him.”
DeGrom was perfect for the first three innings with three strikeouts and didn’t allow a hit until opposing pitcher Anthony DeSclafani lined a single to right with one out in the fifth.
Overall, deGrom gave up three hits (all singles), walked two, hit a batter and struck out six. He threw 101 pitches, 74 for strikes. His ERA dropped from 4.85 to 3.82.
Cincinnati’s first baserunner was Joey Votto, who led off the fourth with a long drive to center that Brandon Nimmo chased down and misplayed for a two-base error.
DeGrom struck out Eugenio Suarez, walked Jesse Winker on a high 3-and-2 pitch and struck out Yasiel Puig, also on 3-and-2, for the second out. Puig was so incensed at the outcome that he snapped his bat in two over his leg.
DeGrom then hit Derek Dietrich with a pitch to load the bases. He went to 3-and-2 on Tucker Barnhart before striking out the Reds’ catcher on a changeup to end the inning.
“Changeup with the bases loaded,” deGrom said. “The start before, I don’t know if I would have been confident enough to do that.”
The game was still scoreless, but the 35-pitch fourth took a toll on deGrom’s pitch count, which was at 72 after the inning.
The Reds threatened again in the seventh, when Barnhart drew a leadoff walk and Iglesias grounded a single to left. Iglesias’ hit caused deGrom to bend over in emotional pain.
But deGrom buckled down and got Scott Schebler to ground into a 6-4-3 double play as Barnhart took third. No. 9 batter Jose Peraza lofted a fly ball to right; as soon as it left the bat, deGrom started walking off the mound. He was on his way to the dugout, his night’s work and his slump over, when the ball settled in Michael Conforto’s glove to end the inning.
“Nobody wants to go out there and stink,” deGrom said. “So the work in between [starts] and just going out and trusting it . . . I felt like I was pretty close to where I want to be.”
The Mets had one final chance to secure a win for deGrom in the bottom of the seventh. J.D. Davis led off with a single against reliever Wandy Peralta. One out later, Amed Rosario singled Davis to second.
Reds manager David Bell brought on righthander Jared Hughes, who struck out pinch hitter Wilson Ramos for the second out. Dominic Smith, batting for deGrom, grounded out, and the game headed to the eighth still tied at zero.