In the unlikely event that this was Jacob deGrom’s last game as a Met, he left them one more gem for the collection and one more reminder why every team would want him.
“He went out there and pitched eight great innings for us,” Mickey Callaway said Monday night after deGrom allowed only half as many hits (five) as he had strikeouts (10) and gave up only two earned runs. If anything, the price for him in a potential trade went up.
At the same time, the game provided yet another jagged example of why the last-place Mets (40-57) would be tempted to deal him for multiple players. They did not hit well enough or field well enough to avoid losing to the Padres, 3-2, at Citi Field.
Eight days before the non-waiver trading deadline, deGrom again gave everything he had, throwing 113 pitches, 83 of them strikes. And still, his record dropped to 5-5.
The Mets have totaled 38 runs in deGrom’s last 14 starts. He has a 1.57 ERA in that stretch, and the Mets have gone 4-10.
It had to hurt, seeing a rare lead erased by a two-run burst in the fifth inning that began when Jose Bautista botched a fly ball to right. It had to sting that even though the run in the sixth technically was earned, Amed Rosario misplayed a grounder up the middle.
“I’m sure those things pop in your head when you’re pitching,’’ Callaway said, “but he definitely didn’t let it affect him.”
In fact, deGrom didn’t think his pitching was all that great.
“The goal is to pick the guys up there and I was frustrated that I didn’t make the pitches when I needed to,” he said. “I felt good early on, then I felt like I got out of my mechanics. I was flying open, my slider wasn’t as effective.”
It would take a king’s ransom to pry him away, and few clubs have the depth of young talent that the Mets would want in return. Still, there’s a chance.
“We still have a week left. The trade deadline is a certain leverage point and we’re going to try to make the most of that,” assistant general manager John Ricco said. “We love him. We know what we have. He’s one of the top pitchers in the game. In order to move him in a trade, it would take an awful lot.”
The Mets need an awful lot. Their lack of run support for deGrom continued, squeaking runs on singles by Wilmer Flores in the third and Jose Reyes in the sixth. After Reyes’ hit, they were down by one with the bases loaded and two outs, but Callaway chose not to pinch hit for deGrom.
“I can’t let our ace be affected by other things,’’ Callaway said. “He deserved to get two more innings.”
He deserves a much better record to go with his 1.71 earned run average. Still, deGrom insisted again that he would prefer to stay with the Mets, adding that he is not going to spend all week worrying about trades.
“It’s out of my control. I don’t think it will be tough at all,” he said.
That the Mets have so many holes adds a whole lot of urgency for Ricco, Omar Minaya and J.P. Ricciardi, the triumvirate running the club.
“Certain things happen within your control, certain things happen out of your control,’’ Ricco said. “All we can do is make decisions with the information we have at the time and keep things moving. We’re going to make good decisions over the next week and into the rest of the season.”
Notes & quotes: Wil Myers, who opened the sixth with a double, came home on Rosario’s error, but it was ruled an earned run because official scorer Billy Altman said Myers would have reached third anyway and would have come home on a subsequent fly to right . . . The Mets’ rotation for the next few days: Zack Wheeler on Tuesday, followed by Corey Oswalt, Steven Matz and Jason Vargas.