For the second consecutive night, the Citi Field crowd’s loudest noise came in the form of boos.
The 8,051-fan home crowd did not reserve their boos for Francisco Lindor, though he heard them clearly after striking out in the sixth. This time, the jeers were directed at Michael Conforto, Dominic Smith, James McCann, and pretty much everyone else who failed to capitalize on men on base – a pattern that fans are sick of seeing, even more so when their ace is on the mound.
“The strategy was completely off,” Mets manager Luis Rojas said of his team’s offense, which has scored just one run in the last 21 innings. The Mets have the fewest runs scored (57) and the lowest slugging percentage in Major League Baseball (.353).
Jacob deGrom (2-2, 0.51 ERA) was not at his best in the Mets’ 1-0 loss to the Red Sox on Wednesday night, but he held the Red Sox to three hits in six innings and struck out nine. His lone run allowed proved too much for the Mets offense, and the two-time Cy Young Award winner was charged with his second loss of the season. The Mets have lost both of deGrom’s two games this season in which he has allowed a run. They are 2-3 in his commencements.
The Amazin’s were swept by the Red Sox and finished the season 9-10. The Mets lost 1-0 for the third time in 2019 in a game started by deGrom.
“I’m more upset that I wasn’t able to make pitches in the second inning,” deGrom said when asked how frustrating Wednesday’s lack of run support was.
The Mets’ ice cold bats have done nothing to allay fears that the offense is in a funk. The lineup mustered only two hits in the one-run defeat, both of which were singles by Jeff McNeil and Pete Alonso. With runners in scoring position, the offense went 0-for-4 and left six men on base.
Nick Pivetta of the Red Sox made the Mets’ at-bats seem tired, uncompetitive, and monotonous. Pivetta struck out seven batters and had the most swings and misses in a start since 2018. The Mets batters struck out 15 times against the Red Sox pitching staff, the most this season in a game.
“There is no excuse,” McCann said of the offense’s 2-for-28 performance at the plate. “We kept them to one run, particularly in a game like tonight, between Jake and the rest of the staff. We’ve got to figure out how to win those games. I couldn’t care less how any person feels inside the package. We’ve got to figure out a way to link hits.”
In the second inning, DeGrom allowed just his second earned run of the season. The trouble began when deGrom allowed Xander Bogaerts to hit a leadoff double to left field. Smith, who typically plays left field despite his natural position of first base, made a strong run for the ball before colliding with the wall. He recovered, gathered the ball, and threw to Francisco Lindor as Bogaerts drew a double.
Though Smith is playing out of place for the Mets, Bogaerts’ fly ball would have been difficult for any leftfielder to grab. DeGrom left a fastball up for the Red Sox shortstop, who barreled it at 101.6 mph on his first swing. DeGrom felt as if he failed to make necessary pitches and was extremely dissatisfied with his mechanics.
“I felt very good last start, but this one felt like I was flying open,” deGrom explained. “It seemed as if all was flat.”
Boston’s lone run of the night came in the second inning, when deGrom surrendered an RBI double to Christan Vazquez that drove in Bogaerts. Four Mets pitchers – deGrom, Aaron Loup, Trevor May, and Edwin Diaz – combined to limit the Red Sox to four hits and 15 strikeouts over nine innings.
DeGrom was coming off perhaps his best start of his career, a 15-strikeout two-hitter last week against the Nationals. He claimed that his complete-game shutout five days prior had no impact on his energy level for Wednesday’s game against the Red Sox; deGrom was merely irritated with his mechanics. His 0.51 ERA over five starts is the lowest in Mets franchise history.
“If Jake deGrom does not have good stuff and goes six innings, gives up one run, and strikes out nine batters, he must be pretty darn good,” McCann said.