The Mets dropped the opener of their three game series in St. Louis last night by the score of 6-2. Rookie right hander Jacob de Grom was hit hard, allowing 6 runs on 12 hits in just 4 1/3 innings. In doing so, the hard luck hurler fell to 0-4 on the season.
The Cardinals jumped on the board in the bottom of the 1st inning when Allan Craig singled to right field, scoring Jon Jay from second base. After responding to a Curtis Granderson sac fly with a run of their own in the bottom of the 3rd, the home team blew the game wide open in the 5th inning. Following a lead off strike out by Matt Carpenter, six consecutive Cardinals reached base resulting in four runs. Holliday, Craig and Adams all drove in runs as St. Louis knocked de Grom out of the game.
Prior to the contest, Terry Collins created a stir when he released a lineup card that featured the pitcher’s spot batting eighth. TC had tinkered with the idea regularly throughout spring training, citing his desire to get David Wright, Daniel Murphy and Curtis Granderson more RBI opportunities. This marked the first time in franchise history that the Mets displayed a lineup in which the pitcher batted anywhere but the 9-hole. St. Louis is an oddly appropriate venue for such an occurrence to take place, as long-time former manager Tony La Russa was well known for employing this same strategy.
A college short stop, de Grom has swung the bat well since being promoted to the big leagues. His .417 average is an explanation for Collin’s decision to pull the trigger and bat him eighth.
Batting in the pitcher’s traditional spot was Eric Young Jr., who returned from the DL to play his first game since May 25th. Young had been splitting time with Juan Lagares (currently on the 15 day DL) at the time of his hamstring injury. Since then, Chris Young has proven that he is not a viable option in the middle of the lineup, which should get EY out in the field on an everyday basis, even when Lagares returns later this month.
Young went 1-4 in his return from the DL, striking out to strand the bases loaded in the 4th inning. While in the field, Young made an impressive throw to nab Allen Craig at the plate, ending the home 3rd. Young’s return to the lineup is a positive for this struggling Mets offense. Despite a low average of .221, he has reached base with some consistency, and as the reigning NL stolen base champion, he is certainly capable of making things happen on the base paths. After the game, Young told reporters that his leg felt fine. “I was able to sprint out a couple of things today and everything felt good on the leg,” said Young, who had played in four rehab games before being activated. (Rubin, ESPN)
Ultimately, Terry Collins’ tinkering was all for naught on a night when the starting pitcher was over matched by a sound Cardinal’s lineup. Of de Grom’s performance the Mets manager said, “He’s got to learn when to be able to get them off the plate and when to not have to throw a strike. He’s going to keep running out there, so he’s going to get better and better.” (Metsblog)
The Mets will look to even the series tonight when Jon Niese (3-3, 2.54 ERA) takes on Michael Wacha (4-5, 2.88 ERA) at Busch Stadium. First pitch is scheduled for 8:15 PM ET.
Roster Note: OF Andrew Brown was optioned to Triple-A Las Vegas prior to the game in order to make room for Eric Young Jr.