Could the Mets’ fortunes be turning? The seventh inning of Friday’s 3-0 win over the Angels was a start.
Jacob deGrom loaded the bases with no outs to open the frame, clinging to a two-run lead. He was battling through a blister on his ring finger, but Terry Collins opted to keep the righthander in the game. You could virtually hear the sighs, groans and chattering teeth from the Citi Field faithful. The feeling was familiar.
And yet somehow, deGrom worked out of the jam, on a night when the Mets desperately needed a victory after entering the contest on a seven-game skid.
He began by fanning Danny Espinosa on five pitches, painting a 95-mph fastball on the inside corner. Then came the defining play of the victory: pinch hitter Ben Revere blooped a line drive over second base. Jose Reyes retreated from shortstop, lifted up his glove and nearly corralled the ball – but it popped out his glove. Reyes reset himself, located the floating ball and hauled in the catch for the second out.
“When the ball hit the glove, I said, ‘Oh man, I’m going to drop this ball,'” Reyes said.
“Please somebody get there,” deGrom said of his thinking when the ball squirted out of Reyes’ glove. “And he did.”
In the next at-bat, deGrom forced Cameron Maybin into a flyout to right to end the threat.
“Unbelievable what he did in the seventh inning,” manager Terry Collins said of deGrom, who finished with nine strikeouts and surrendered just four hits in his seven innings. “That’s what you’ve come to expect from those guys.”
The Reyes catch was the type of play and inning that didn’t go the Mets’ way during their brutal six-game road trip, which featured a slew of late-game collapses from the bullpen. They lost all six games.
“We can certainly look at that as maybe that’s a chance where that ball drops in the last seven days,” Collins said of Reyes’ catch. “For sure.”
DeGrom said the blister formed on one pitch to Andrelton Simmons, who doubled down the right-field line to lead off the inning. DeGrom had a callous on his right finger that “just ripped off.”
“It was kind of hanging there,” deGrom said of the loose skin. “And then I just ripped it off and then I felt fine.”
But his command waned. After the hit by Simmons, deGrom walked C.J. Cron on four pitches. Then in a 3-1 count to Martin Maldonado, deGrom plunked the Angels catcher in the side.
You could sense the meltdown coming – unless you were Collins.
“He deserved to be out there,” Collins said. “I thought he could get it done. And he did.”