There can be no doubt if the Mets are to salvage their season, if not make a run, they’ll need more of the same from Jacob deGrom, who pitched like the ace he is in keeping his team hot.
The Mets have now won six of their last seven games tonight in beating the Phillies, 2-1, at Citi Field, to pull within five games of .500.
“Going into LA was a wake-up call for us,’’ deGrom said. “We got our teeth kicked in. We know we had to play better. If we’re going to do it, we’re running out of time.”
Getting going means beating the teams you’re supposed to, which includes the Giants and Phillies.
This still could turn into a “trap series,’’ if the Mets stumble the next two days, but deGrom wouldn’t let that happen tonight. DeGrom had to be dog tired as the Mets’ flight from Miami didn’t land in New York until after 4:30 a.m.
DeGrom has turned things around since back-to-back starts when he gave up 15 runs. Since then, he’s gone 4-0 with a 0.84 ERA, walking only eight but with 31 strikeouts.
“He’s in a groove for sure,’’ manager Terry Collins said. “He’s such a competitor. He won’t give in and throw one over the middle.’’
DeGrom’s fastball was superb tonight, but he also commanded his secondary pitches well, particularly his slider early in the game and his change-up in the later innings.
DeGrom, who had worked at least eight innings in his last three starts, worked seven innings and gave up one run on three hits and one walk. DeGrom, who had a string of double-digit strikeout games earlier this year, but not recently, struck out 12, which contributed to his higher than normal pitch count of 111. It is the sixth time this year he struck out at least ten.
“I was able to throw it tonight when I needed to and where I needed to,’’ deGrom said of his change-up. “My fastball command was good tonight. I was able to control it on both sides of the plate. Everything worked off the fastball tonight.’’
STILL NO CONFORTO: Today is Day Five without Michael Conforto and he’s still not close to coming back after being struck on his left wrist by a pitch last Sunday in San Francisco.
And yet, the Mets refuse to put him on the 10-day disabled list and continue to play shorthanded.
The only reason I can come up with is the Mets are reluctant to pay the major league salary to whoever would come up from Triple-A Las Vegas to replace him, even if it is only for ten days.
That’s speculation on my part, but would anybody really be surprised?
“There’s no break,’’ Collins said. “It’s the bone bruise that is causing him problems. He tried to swing the bat today and he had trouble.’’
CESPEDES SLUMPING: One of the ramifications of not having Conforto available is not being able to rest Yoenis Cespedes, who, with a broken-bat single in the eighth has four hits in his last 24 at-bats.
Of course, would it kill the Mets to start Brandon Nimmo for a game?
THINKING ABOUT COLON: The Mets are kicking the tires on bringing back Bartolo Colon, who was designated for assignment by the Braves.
Atlanta has ten days to either trade, release outright or assign him to the minor leagues (won’t happen). After which, the player becomes a free agent.
“He’s still a member of the Braves,’’ GM Sandy Alderson said when asked about Colon.
EXTRA INNINGS: Lucas Duda is still weakened with flu-like symptoms and was a late scratch. … Addison Reed has converted save opportunities in the last two games. … Curtis Granderson singled to extend his hitting streak to nine games. … Zack Wheeler will come off the disabled list and start Saturday.