Jacob deGrom said all the right things. His team tries hard. They put in the work. Today was just a bad day against a good pitcher.
Of course, he says something like that every time this happens to him, which is often. DeGrom again was dazzling and the Mets again failed to back up their ace, dropping the Saturday matinee to the Marlins, 3-0, at Citi Field. They managed only three hits and struck out 13 times against four Marlins pitchers.
DeGrom allowed one run and five hits in eight innings, walking none and striking out 14, but took the loss, an outcome that’s added up over the years. Since 2018, the Mets are 36-42 in games deGrom has started. He has a 2.06 ERA in that span. It was the 87th time he allowed one or zero runs in 185 career starts.
The strikeout total matched a career high, which he’s done four times.
"It’s disappointing," Luis Rojas said. "An outing like that, you can call it a waste . . . That’s one of the strongest outings I’ve seen him have."
DeGrom’s only mistake, a second-inning homer by Jazz Chisholm Jr., barely was a mistake at all.
Chisholm was in an 0-and-2 hole when deGrom threw him a 100.4-mph fastball high out of the zone. Chisholm simply was ready for it, cranking it 402 feet into the second deck in rightfield.
"I’m more frustrated [than anything] about the fastball that was hit for a homer," deGrom said. "He sold out for it. I probably should have done a better job of recognizing that he was going to try to get to that fastball. That’s what eats at me the most is giving up that run there . . . I gotta tip my hat to him."
Other than that, there were stretches when deGrom looked completely unhittable, throwing a fastball that topped out at 100.6 mph along with a slider early on and a changeup later in the game.
But as the game went on, Chisholm’s run began to look insurmountable.
The Mets’ best opportunity came in the sixth, when deGrom led off with an infield single off Trevor Rogers and Brandon Nimmo walked. DeGrom moved to third on Francisco Lindor’s fly ball, but Michael Conforto struck out for the third time in as many at-bats and Pete Alonso struck out to end the threat.
Conforto is hitless in his last 12 at-bats with six strikeouts.
"It’s one of those things where you look at it like, why does this keep happening?" Nimmo said of the lack of run production for deGrom. "We’re searching for the answers as frantically as we can . . . Unfortunately, we’ve been through this before and it’s never easy. Jake is a professional in the fullest definition of the word. He never comes in and is upset with us."
The Marlins added two runs off Edwin Diaz in the ninth. Starling Marte led off with a double and scored on Jesus Aguilar’s single. Later in the inning, Miguel Rojas singled to drive in Brian Anderson from second. That ended the day for Diaz, who walked off to a loud chorus of boos.
But hey, there’s always tomorrow. Just ask deGrom.
"That’s baseball," he said. "These guys do a good job of preparing every day and they go about it in a professional way, and today we just got beat."
It’s an old script, and one he’s had to use too many times.
deGrom run support futility chart? (via twitter)
Jacob deGrom has made 78 starts over his last four seasons:
Victories: 25 - 1.11 ERA
Losses: 20 - 3.80 ERA
No decisions: 33 - 1.76 ERA
Mets are 36-42 in those games.