NEW YORK — Mets ace Jacob deGrom couldn’t help but ponder his future on Saturday night. As free agency looms and the San Diego Padres win Game 1 of the National League Wild Card Series, deGrom said he went into Game 2 knowing that if he didn’t throw well , this could be the last time he pitches at Citi. Field like Met.
“It came to mind, but I was hoping we would win a baseball game and keep playing,” deGrom said.
He was successful, going six innings and allowing five hits and two runs on two walks with eight strikeouts in a 7-3 Mets win. The win guaranteed deGrom would have at least one more day to don a Mets uniform on Sunday night when the Padres and Mets play Game 3.
DeGrom set the tone early, starting the game throwing 12 pitches over 99 mph and seven over 100 mph. He took the top of the Padres lineup in order, knocking out slugger Juan Soto and Manny Machado on the swing. Throughout the night, deGrom relied primarily on his fastball – which exceeded 100 mph on 19 of his 99 throws – and his slider, throwing his curveball just twice and his change six times. Sixty of his throws were strikes.
The Padres scored two runs against deGrom, the first on a Trent Grisham homer, his second in as many nights.
“I have to take my hat off to Trent, that home run, I felt like it was a good pitch, and he just did it,” deGrom said.
The second inning came after deGrom walked Grisham to start the fifth inning, as Padres outfielder Jurickson Profar hit a game-tying RBI single down the right field line. DeGrom has thrown five straight sliders in Profar’s six at-bats.
“He’s the one I wish I had played in fastball,” deGrom said of the batting Profar. “I felt like I had a good idea of that; I just threw too many at him in a row, and he just kept one.”
DeGrom said he hit a groove on his final run on the mound.
“Slider was good and fast, actually for [Padres first baseman Brandon] Drury, I threw one where I wanted,” deGrom said. “At first they were just a bit far apart and not quite the height I wanted. I felt like I made an adjustment there, and round six I felt the best.”
After deGrom’s exit, Mets manager Buck Showalter made an unusual choice to bring Edwin Diaz closer in the seventh inning. With Grisham hitting two home runs against the Mets in the first two games of the series, Showalter wanted to challenge the Padres outfielder with the team’s toughest reliever before San Diego’s top roster showed up in a game. 3-2.
Against Diaz, Grisham failed before Padres catcher Austin Nola singled down the middle. Diaz then had Profar and Soto run over to complete round seven.
Diaz returned for round eight. After knocking Machado down, he went with Josh Bell and knocked out Jake Cronenworth. Showalter then came to the mound to replace Diaz with reliever Adam Ottavino, who retired Drury to end the inning.
Showalter said he had no intention of Diaz throwing three innings and ending the game.
“Where they were in the batting order, we had some trouble with Grisham. I had no intention of pitching a third inning with him,” Showalter said of Diaz. “There were things that would have changed that; if he’d had two eight-pitch innings, I’d think about that.”
Diaz asked to stay in the contest to finish off Drury, but Showalter said he needed him to be available for Game 3 on Sunday.
“I felt good. I thought I could get Drury out, but he told me he needed me tomorrow and that was enough for today,” Diaz said. “So, I said, let’s win the game tomorrow.”