The Mets have long waited for Travis d’Arnaud to flex his muscles. He did so Friday night when he crushed two 420-foot-plus homers in a career-high five-RBI night to carry the Mets to a 7-5 badly-needed victory over the Nationals.
“We’ve seen him swing the bat, so we know what he can do,” manager Terry Collins said.
D’Arnaud was facing Max Scherzer, who usually has his way against the Mets. Not what you’re looking for if you are to break out.
“I knew it was going to be tough against Scherzer,” d’Arnaud said. “I wanted to keep things as simple as I could.”
What’s more basic than a two-run homer in the second and a three-run blast in the fourth?
You might answer by saying have one of your stud pitchers gut out seven innings. That’s what Jacob deGrom did to earn his first victory of the season.
DeGrom, after Matt Harvey faltered in his last start and the uncertainty surrounding Noah Syndergaard, needed a big effort and was all grit in striking out 12 and giving up three runs in seven innings. It was the third straight game in which he struck out at least ten hitters.
If there was a moment of decision for deGrom, it came in the second. After being given a two-run lead on d’Arnaud’s homer in the top of the inning, deGrom coughed up the lead on a solo homer by Ryan Zimmerman and two-run drive by Matt Wieters.
After the inning deGrom stormed up the runway from the dugout to avoid what the cameras might capture.
“I need to put up a zero there,” deGrom said. “I can’t be doing that. After that, my goal was to continue to put up zeroes.”
DeGrom did that, including striking out Bryce Harper with a runner on base to end the fifth.
SYNDERGAARD TO START: Desperate for some positive news of any kind, the Mets hope they got some after Syndergaard said he felt great and expects to start Sunday at Washington.
Syndergaard missed his last start Wednesday against Atlanta with what the Mets called biceps tendinitis. There has been considerable speculation – including here – that Syndergaard would be placed on the disabled list and Sean Gilmartin would start Sunday.
“I should have started yesterday,” Syndergaard said prior to Friday’s game.
RIVERA SURFACES: Almost lost with Travis d’Arnaud’s muscles and deGrom’s grit, is T.J. Rivera, the former minor league batting champion, got a start at first base and contributed three hits and scored three runs.
Rivera will undoubtedly start at first Saturday and could stay there until Lucas Duda returns from the disabled list.