By Sam Bush
The surprisingly successful Phillies, who have entertained their fans and won many more games than expected so far this season, faced reality yesterday.
The Mets arrived in Philly closer in the National League East standings to the fourth-place Phillies than the first-place Nationals, desperate for a series win.
Jacob deGrom (above) delivered just that in a 5-0 win over the Phillies at Citizens Bank Park.
The Phillies’ lone hit came off the bat of deGrom’s counterpart, Zach Eflin, who ripped a single up the middle in the third. But for the eight batters prior and 19 batters after, deGrom didn’t allow another hit. He became the first Mets pitcher to toss a one-hit shutout since R.A. Dickey struck out 13 Orioles on June 18, 2012.
Before Sunday, there had been four one-hit shutouts in which the opposing pitcher had the only hit in Mets history. The most recent also came against Philadelphia, when Cole Hamels singled off Dickey in a 1-0 Mets win on Aug. 13, 2010.
“Probably since we came out of spring training [deGrom has been building to this],” Mets manager Terry Collins said. “There was all that concern about his velocity early, but he’s just gotten a little stronger and a little stronger. … You saw better command today and probably the best sinker he had all year.”
It was the first time the Phillies have been held to one hit since Sept. 15, 2015, when the Nationals’ Stephen Strasburg silenced them with 14 strikeouts. DeGrom didn’t quite match Strasburg, punching out seven Phillies, but flirted with a Greg Maddux — a complete game on fewer than 100 pitches — ultimately recording his first career complete game on 105 pitches.
“Command of his pitches, changed speeds, worked fast, he did everything you want your pitchers to do,” Phillies manager Pete Mackanin said of deGrom.
Mackanin opened the second half by remarking that his team is shooting for an NL Wild Card spot, but the series loss to the Mets drops them seven back in that race.
“It’s gonna be important,” Collins said. “We know going to Chicago, it’s going to be a dogfight there. Same thing in Miami. … Just continue on.”