(The sunset was spectacular over Citi Field on Friday night with Jacob deGrom on the mound for the Mets – Photo by Jason Schott)
The Mets lost a tough one to the Colorado Rockies, 5-1, to open their three-game series on Friday night at Citi Field.
Jacob deGrom got the start for the Mets, and he turned in the rotation’s fourth straight quality outing.
The reigning Cy Young winner went six innings, holding the Rockies, who have one of the best offenses in the National League, to just two runs on six hits and two walks, while notching 10 strikeouts.
Mets Manager Mickey Callaway said of deGrom’s performance, “He was excellent. Fastball was electric, you know, he left a couple of sliders up and they hit it hard, but other than that, he was electric. 10 punch-outs, six innings. two runs, you can’t ask for more, he was solid.”
Callaway said of how he worked with catcher Wilson Ramos, “They did a great job. I thought the pitch mix was really good. They stuck to his strengths, you know, I thought they did a great job of following the game plan. They have a good lineup over there with some really dangerous hitters, and he navigated it really well, struck out 10, elevated his fastball well, pitched in well to the guys he had to pitch in to. Excellent game plan and then excellent execution.”
deGrom sailed through the first two innings, and then he ran into trouble in the third when Tony Wolters singled and scored on a souble from Raimel Tapia that made it 1-0 Colorado.
In the fourth, David Dahl led off with a single, and then after Nolan Arenado struck out, Daniel Murphy singled. Ian Desmond followed with an RBI single that scored Dahl and gave the Rocies a 2-0 lead.
The Mets didn’t do much in the first few innings against Rockies starter Antonio Senzatela, but they got something going in the fourth.
Michael Conforto grounded to third base to open the inning, followed by a walk to Dominic Smith. Wilson Ramos then grounded one to shortstop, and Rockies second baseman Brendan Rodgers couldn’t handle the throw from Trevor Story, allowing Smith to go to third and Ramos to reach base.
With first and third with one out, the Mets had a golden chance to get some runs, but Todd Frazier popped out to first and Amed Rosario hit a soft liner to shortstop to end the inning.
In the fifth, deGrom worked around a double for Story to get out of trouble, and he was at 99 pitches when the inning ended.
deGrom was up second in the bottom of the fifth, and he took his at-bat despite the high pitch count, and he grounded out to second.
This meant deGrom would come back for the sixth, which he did, and he retired the Rockies in order, including striking out Murphy and Desmond to end his 112-pitch (80 of which were strikes) effort.
The Mets got on the board in the bottom of the sixth when Conforto homered off the facade of the second deck in right field to cut it to 2-1 Rockies. Dominic Smith followed with a single, but was erased on a double play from Pete Alonso.
That was all for Senzatela, who went six innings, allowing one run on four hits and two walks, and most notably, did not have one strikeout (compared to deGrom’s 10).
Callaway said Senzatela “executed pitches” to trip up his lineup, and added, “His pitch count wasn’t that high, he just was out there executing pitches and getting soft contact for the most part. We hit a few balls hard; we just didn’t have anything to show for it. He threw a nice game against us and we couldn’t get anything going off of him.”
Robert Gsellman came on for the Mets in the seventh, and he struck out the side, and he was matched by the Rockies’ Bryan Shaw, who retired the Mets in order in the bottom half.
The wheels came off in the eighth as the Rockies rallied against Mets reliever Drew Gagnon.
They got a pair of home runs, a two-run shot from Dahl and a solo homer from Murphy, both of which went into the upper deck in right to take a 5-1 lead.
On the very next pitch after Murphy’s homer, Gagnon hit Desmond in the back with a fastball and the benches cleared, but nothing escalated.
Callaway said it was “boys being boys just playing a game” and added, “obviously, Gagnon wasn’t hitting anybody on purpose, he’s trying to get outs right there and trying to keep the game as close as possible.”
Rodgers then hit a liner into center field that Juan Lagares couldn’t handle, as it fell out of his glove, prolonging the inning and forcing the Mets to pull Gagnon.
Wilmer Font came in to get Wolters to fly out to right to end the long inning.
Rockies reliever Scott Oberg retired the Mets in order in the eighth, and they turned to their closer Wade Davis in the ninth.
With one out, Smith hit a double into the left field corner that was just out of Tapia’s mix, and then with two outs, Frazier hit one off Davis’ glove and reached on an infield single. Amed Rosario grounde to second base to end the late threat and the game.
deGrom fell to 3-6 on the season with a 3.45 ERA, and Callaway said of sensing frustration from his ace, “Obviously, things haven’t gone the way he would like totally this year. This guy’s what, a 3 ERA and has a ton of strikeouts. I mean, all his peripheral numbers are right in line with what he’s done, maybe better, except for maybe last year. So, it’s not like he’s pitching poorly, he’s doing a heck of a job. The story was we didn’t score runs for him.”