Jacob deGrom had only thrown 97 pitches when he was pulled in the eighth inning of Friday night’s 2-1 loss at Atlanta. He deserved better, from his defense, his bullpen, and his manager. Come to think about it, he deserved better from his general manager, too.
Betrayed is too strong a word, but he was definitely let down. DeGrom took a slim 1-0 lead into the eighth because the Mets’ anemic offense stranded six and was 1-for-5 with runners in scoring position. This offense has done little for much of the year, and even less the past month.
After Andrelton Simmons doubled to lead off the eighth, most everybody in the park knew Eury Perez was going to lay down a bunt to the third base side. DeGrom pounced on the ball and immediately looked to third, but Ruben Tejada wasn’t by the bag. Had he been there, deGrom would have nailed the runner.
Not a natural third baseman, Tejada botched the play, but manager Terry Collins said he had no problem with his handling of the play.
“We’re trying to get an out there,” Collins told reporters, adding Tejada did the right thing.
I beg to differ. Strongly. Yes, they are trying to get an out, but that out needed to be at third and not first. How were they going to do that if Tejada wasn’t covering third?
I can buy Collins if he was trying to protect the inexperienced Tejada’s fragile ego. But, here’s where I have a problem with GM Sandy Alderson. HIs job is to ensure the Mets have the appropriate talent needed to win games and this is not the first time they’ve been left with a thin bench and poor bullpen choice.
The Braves now had runners on the corners with one out when Collins summoned Sean Gilmartin.
“I thought it was time,” said Collins. Yes, time to lose the game.
DeGrom is the Mets’ best pitcher and only had thrown 97 pitches. Collins mentioned the pitch count, but deGrom’s defense opened the door.
There was nothing deGrom did to warrant being pulled. Collins knows he has an unreliable bullpen with the exception of Jeurys Familia. If deGrom is to be considered ace-like his manager must show him the confidence to make it through the inning.
Collins’ best choice was to stick with deGrom or go to Familia to close the eighth.
Gilmartin was not the best decision, evidenced by Jace Peterson promptly doubling in two runs to waste another good start.
Yes, deGrom deserved better. Much better.