In a Venn diagram of brilliant and not good enough, Jacob deGrom occupies the unfortunate overlap.
The Mets’ ace dominated again Friday night. He allowed three runs (two earned) in eight innings against the Yankees. His ERA rose to 1.57, still best in the National League. He struck out eight and walked two.
And yet the Mets fell short against the Yankees, 4-1. Brett Gardner’s two-run home run with two outs in the eighth inning gave the Yankees their first lead.
Those two earned runs on one swing matched deGrom’s total from his previous 29 innings.
“I made a mistake,” deGrom said. “I lost us a ballgame.”
DeGrom left a changeup over the heart of the plate, and Gardner sent it over the wall in right. It’s normally a good pitch for him, but less so Friday night.
“It was a little bit flat today,” catcher Devin Mesoraco said. “Not like his typical really good down movement.
“At the end of the day, he pitched great. We have to score more runs for him. That’s what it comes down to. He’s had no margin of error all year. That’s not easy circumstances to pitch in.”
That margin of error proved nonexistent again. In his past nine starts, deGrom has a 0.81 ERA with 76 strikeouts in 55 1⁄3 innings. The Mets are 2-7 in those games.
“Probably every start he’s made this year, one swing could hurt him and cost us the game because the game is always close,” manager Mickey Callaway said. “That’s a tough way to go out there and pitch every night.
“We talk to him every time just to make sure he’s in a good spot [mentally, after the Mets lose after his great start]. He probably doesn’t need it, but we have to make sure he’s OK. Those are tough games to lose. You’re going out there and pitching your heart out every time.”