By Paul DiSclafani:
With the devastating news of Jaxon deGrom’s heath issues hanging over their heads, the Mets (5-6) inched closer to .500 as they take the rubber game of their Inter-League series with the Cleveland Indians, 6-0. Although the news about the health concerns over Jacob and Stacey deGrom’s newborn was more encouraging today, his Mets teammates still had to do their jobs and play baseball games.
The Mets won on Friday behind Bartolo Colon, clubbing four home runs in a 6-5 win, but the Indians roughed up Matt Harvey for five runs on Saturday in a 7-5 loss just a few hours after the news of Jaxon’s health broke. The Mets offense, last in the National League in most categories coming into Ohio, hit three more home runs on Saturday.
They didn’t need any home runs on Sunday, but they sure needed a strong pitching performance out of Steven Matz to give a rest to their bullpen, and he delivered. Matz (W, 1-1) struck out a career high nine batters in seven shutout innings, scattering three hits and walking two. Matz retired 12 of the final 13 hitters he faced.
The Mets put up three runs in each of the first two innings against Cleveland starter and 2014 CY Young winner Corey Kluber and were on the board before Kluber could even get an out. Curtis Granderson walked to lead off the game and Asdrubal Cabrera, batting in the #2 spot with David Wright getting a day off, singled to right. That brought up Michael Conforto, who was inserted into the #3 hole on Friday for the first time in his major league career.
Conforto, who delivered a home run on Friday, delivered again with the first of his RBI producing doubles, scoring Granderson and giving the Mets a 1-0 lead. Conforto went 5-12 in the three-game series with three doubles, a home run and three RBI in his new lineup spot.
Lucas Duda then delivered a single to drive home both Cabrera and Conforto to make it 3-0.
The sun took over in the second as Cleveland outfielder Rajai Davis, who was wearing his sunglasses, lost fly balls of the bats of Granderson and Yoenis Cespedes after two were out that led to three more Mets runs. Cabrera executed a perfect 2-out squeeze bunt to score Granderson, who was credited with a triple when Davis lost the ball in the sun, upping the Mets lead to 4-0 and going all the way to second on Kluber’s throwing error. Conforto then doubled to right to score Cabrera and make it 5-0. Cespedes then hit another fly ball to center that Davis couldn’t locate. He was credited with a double and Conforto scored to make it 6-0.
Kluber (L, 0-3) settled down after the sun debacle and struck out eight, but was unfortunately charged with 6 earned runs. The Mets didn’t score again, but the damage was done.
Hansel Robles, Jerry Blevins and Addison Reed finished off the last two innings, striking out six, so Collins could avoid using Jeurys Familia in a non-save situation.
Noah Syndergaard (1-0, 0.69 ERA) gets the start on Monday as the Mets open a three game series in Philadelphia. The Phillies took 2 of 3 from the Mets last week at Citi Field, then headed home and took 3 of 4 from the Padres before dropping 2 of 3 to the Nationals this weekend and ending their 7-game winning streak on Sunday.
DeGrom Baby Update: According to Terry Collins, the health of Jacob deGrom’s new born son Jaxon has improved. Collins said that deGrom appeared more mentally exhausted than physically exhausted and could be back with the Mets and back in the rotation as early as next weekend in Atlanta, if his family situation allows. “Last night I talked to him,” Collins said on Sunday morning. “The baby is doing better. That was a good sign. I just told Jake he needs to get some rest and mix in a meal.”
“Big Sexy” Ties Pedro Martinez: Bartolo Colon won his 219th career game on Friday (2 R, 5.1 inn) against the team that he started his career with, the Indians. The 42 year-old Colon is now tied with former Met and Hall of Famer Pedro Martinez for the second most wins by a pitcher from the Dominican Republic, trailing only Juan Marichal (243).
POSITIVES: Cespedes says he will be ready to play the outfield in Philadelphia after the Mets leave Cleveland and the DH behind on Monday. Cespedes was hurting a little after chasing a foul ball into the stands on Wednesday afternoon. Cespedes was 5-12 with 2HR and 6 RBI as the DH in Cleveland … Kevin Plawecki was 2-4 in place of d’Arnaud on Sunday … Mets were 5-7 w/RISP and had 4 XBH … Indians had only five baserunners and Mets pitchers struck out 15 … Neil Walker (2), Cespedes (2), Conforto (1) and Alejandro (1) hit home runs on Friday. Then on Saturday, Granderson (1) led off the game with a home run and Walker (3) and Cespedes (3) went yard again, making a 7-1 game look more respectable as a 7-5 loss …
NEGATIVES: C-Travis d’Arnaud will be out until at least Tuesday after getting hit by a pitch in the left elbow on Saturday from Zach McAllister. X-Rays were negative … Matt Harvey (0-3) retired the first 13 batters he faced on Saturday, then was charged with five runs in just 5.2 innings …