Plucky Metropolitans Keep Foot on the Pedal

An unlikely 17-9 May has this team moving at full-steam ahead

Jacob deGrom is still the greatest pitcher of his generation.

Pete Alonso, Francisco Lindor, and Dominic Smith all embraced their leading roles.

And Kevin Pillar — fresh off reconstructive nasal surgery less than two weeks ago — made his return to the field.

Not a terrible way to kick off a weeklong west coast road trip.

And an even better way to close out this unexpectedly fruitful month of May.

Under unrivaled roster-decimating hardships, the short-handed Mets finished May with a 17-9 record, actually extending their lead to 3.5 games in the National League East.

Now’s no time to let off the gas, boys.

As we talked about on Monday, this would be an ideal time for the Mets to kick things up a notch. Following the D-Backs series, things don’t get much easier for a while.

There were no such hurdles to clear on Memorial Day in the desert.

Jacob deGrom was perfect into the fifth, finishing his night with eight strikeouts over six innings, allowing two hits, walking none, and lowering his season ERA to a tidy 0.71.

Absolutely pounding the inside half of the plate throughout the night, deGrom drew some baffled whiffs from a number of Arizona batters.

This sequence to Domingo Leyba in the fifth was a pretty decent litmus test for where Jake was on Monday.

Following a steady diet of four-seam fastballs to practically everyone who stepped into the box, deGrom got Leyba to swing at a 92 MPH slider that nearly hit his toes at 0-0.

After shaking his head for a while, appearing to reassure himself that he’s got this for the majority of that time, deGrom dropped in two more virtually unhittable sliders to strike Leyba out on three pitches.

The level of confidence — come get us, for real — coming out of this man’s right hand is immeasurable.

DeGrom finished his evening with a jaw-dropping 64% whiff rate on 17 sliders thrown with two called strikes (52% called strike-whiff rate) and a 100.1 MPH average velocity on his four-seam (five whiffs, eight called strikes; 28% CSW).

He even dropped in his first curveball of the 2021 season in the sixth. Show-stopper or show-off? Who cares…

And deGrom wasn’t the only star of the night for these Metsies.

Alonso (sprained hand) returned from a 13-day absence without skipping a beat, going 2-for-5 with four runs batted in, including this tattoo job of a two-run shot in the seventh to make it a 5-0 game.

Lindor continued his long-awaited turnaround, going 2-for-5 and pushing closer and closer to a .200 batting average (.198 heading into Tuesday).

Following an encouraging stretch from May 6 through May 22 (.275/.367/.451, 61 PA), the 27-year-old fell into another ditch, going 0-for-his-next-15 before coming alive again in the second game of the Mets doubleheader against Colorado last Thursday.

Since then, Lindor has gone 5-for-13 with a homer and a double. Ebbs and flows, friends.

Dom Smith, also struggling to find consistency after his breakout 2020 campaign, went 2-for-4. Jose Peraza continued his Bench Mobbing ways, also going 2-for-4 with a double and two runs scored.

And we’d be remiss to leave Jake out of the offensive recap. With his 1-for-3 night, deGrom is now 9-for-20 on the season (.450 BA) with a double (.500 SLG) and three RBIs.

He could probably run the video board in centerfield and become the most decorated hot dog vendor in franchise history if given the opportunity. Geez.

Billy McKinney, making the start in right field, and Mason Williams, starting in center field, made their presences felt, as well.

Both contributed terrific defense, McKinney launched his second home run in 15 plate appearances with the Mets, and Williams, selected on Monday, went 1-for-3 with a walk and a run scored.

Simply Amazin' Ep. 98: Magic is Back!

The Mets’ bullpen wasn’t as sharp as you’d like to see them. But no harm, no foul.

After allowing two earned runs on Monday, including his third home run given up in his past five outings, right-hander Trevor May has a 7.11 ERA over his last seven appearances (6.1 IP).

Following a nine-game scoreless stretch heading into this little valley, an adjustment may be all that’s needed to get everyone’s favorite vlogger back on track. A six-day layoff between appearances could have very well been the culprit here, as well.

Mets pitching coach Jeremy Hefner is surely all over this.

Miguel Castro worked around two two-out baserunners in the eighth after escaping May’s jam in the seventh, and Jeurys Familia (2.16 ERA on the season) closed things out with a two-strikeout ninth.

The adversity this team has faced so far is considerable. To be sitting three-and-a-half games up at this point is a testament to this group’s pluck, as well as the undaunted collective leadership qualities of this clubhouse.

The mountain has been treacherous, but there’s been no shortage of stepping stones along the way and, like clockwork, the wins keep coming. This is getting awfully exciting, friends.

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