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Robert Stephenson struggles in return, Jacob deGrom dazzles in Mets 8-0 win over Reds

That was unfortunately rather predictable.

Cincinnati Reds v New York Mets Photo by Michael Owens/Getty Images

The Joe Nuxhall Memorial Honorary Star of the Game

Jacob deGrom entered play today leading all of baseball in ERA, at 1.85. The New York Mets starter also owned the single best ERA+ in the National League - at 204 - and best FIP in the senior circuit - at 2.27.

Despite all of that, however, he took the mound against the Cincinnati Reds with a worse winning percentage than each of Sal Romano, Matt Harvey, Tyler Mahle, and Anthony DeSclafani, each of whom owns a season ERA nearly three full runs worse than deGrom’s mark prior to today.

Well, deGrom just fired 6 innings of 4 hit, shutout ball, striking out 10 Reds while walking just one. And since there wasn’t a single member of the Reds worth a mention here, I figured it was a) worthwhile to congratulate deGrom on actually getting a ‘win’ to push ‘his record’ to 6-7 on the season and b) worthwhile to reiterate, again, just how awful a statistic ‘pitcher wins’ really is.

At least Joey Votto is supposed to be back in the lineup by Friday.

Key Plays

  • Walks, as they are wont to do, will haunt. Such was the case against Stephenson in the Bottom of the 2nd, as his leadoff walk to Michael Conforto put a runner on base, which became a run when Austin Jackson later dumped a double into the LF corner. Reds trailed, 1-0.
  • Did I mention that walks haunt? I think I did. Well, Bob ran into a heap of walky trouble in the Bottom of the 4th, as he walked Jose Bautista to begin the frame, later saw Brandon Nimmo double into LF to put runners on 2B and 3B, intentionally walked Devin Mesoraco for the second time in the game - which makes zero sense, even if the pitcher was hitting behind him - and then walked pitcher Jacob deGrom on four consecutive pitches to drive in a run. A later sac-fly plated another New York run, and the Reds trailed 3-0.
  • Michael Lorenzen took over for the Bottom of the 5th and ran into a bit of trouble. Conforto’s 1-out double put a runner in scoring position, and score he did on a later double by Brandon Nimmo. Doubles, you see, put runners in scoring position on their own, and since Nimmo was now there, that made another run possible when Jackson singled into CF. Reds trailed, 5-0.
  • Nimmo tagged a 2-strike, 2-out breaking ball from Keury Mella that caught the meat of the plate in the Bottom of the 8th. That alone would’ve been a bummer, but there were a pair of runners on at the time - both of whom had walked - and they each came around to score. Then, Jackson doubled again to score Nimmo, and the Reds trailed, 8-0.
  • Phil Ervin pitched in the Bottom of the 8th. Got a quick out, too. That was the last of the action, however, and the game ended with the Reds on the wrong side of the 8-0 ledger.

Tony Graphanino

Source: FanGraphs

Other Notes

  • Billy Hamilton singled to lead off the Top of the 3rd. Billy Hamilton. That Billy Hamilton. For some godawful reason after Billy had swiped 2B, Jim Riggleman then opted to try to bunt that Billy Hamilton over from 2B, which Jose Peraza failed to do by lining a bunt back to Jacob deGrom. The entire concept is completely daft, much less with the fastest player - and most gifted base-stealer - in the game on base. If you’re going to eliminate any chance of Billy using one of his very few elite skills, you might as well just play him at 1B, too, and take away any chance of letting him add value to the roster.
  • Robert Stephenson’s day featured a bit of decency mixed in with bouts of wildness, which is pretty much what we’ve seen plenty of from him over the years. He walked 5 batters in his 4 IP - 2 IBBs to Devin Mesoraco as a part of that - and allowed just 3 H, allowing 3 ER with 4 K in 76 pitches. His command simply wasn’t there on the day, which was evidenced in his 4-pitch walk to deGrom with the bases loaded to force in a run - all of which were breaking balls.
  • That steal was Billy’s 270th, which ties him with Eric Davis for 5th most all-time in Cincinnati Reds history. Hat-tip to @RedsPR for that nugget.
  • Dilson Herrera didn’t start today, meaning he got zero starts in the series against his former club. He did at least get double-switched into the game in the Bottom of the 7th, taking over at 1B for Brandon Dixon. Best I can tell, it’s the first time he’s ever played 1B in any appearance as a professional at any level.
  • Cincinnati pitching walked 11 Mets on the day. I sincerely wonder what Joey Votto’s career walk totals would look like if he’d had the chance to face Cincinnati pitching 18 or so times a year for the last handful of years.
  • Today’s early matchup was a getaway-day special, with the Reds heading back to Cincinnati to start a nine game homestand beginning Friday night after a merciful off-day on Thursday. First up for them will be the Arizona Diamondbacks, who are set to send veteran Clay Buchholz to the mound for Friday’s series opener, where he’ll be countered by Anthony DeSclafani of the Reds. First pitch for that game is set for 7:10 PM ET.
  • Tunes.