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Mets Best Dodgers in Highlight-Filled Bout:
While the Dodgers remain the best team in baseball by a fair margin, the Mets are determined to prove that they’re not far behind. After dropping a hard-fought 4-3 loss on Tuesday, New York responded last night with a dramatic 2-1 victory over the West Coast juggernaut.
Finally-healthy ace Jacob deGrom led the way, tossing seven innings of three-hit ball while piling up nine strikeouts along the way. Per today’s SP Roundup, he registered a ridiculous 25 whiffs and 44% CSW. You think the Dodgers are a historically good team? Jacob deGrom doesn’t care.
Jacob deGrom, Filthy Sliders. 😷
Let's never take for granted the absolute brilliance of de🐐
93mph & 94mph Sliders shouldn't be a thing, and he makes it look so easy. pic.twitter.com/1q6m70UIQP
— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) August 31, 2022
Mookie Betts, who’s been on a tear himself recently (1.126 OPS, 1.2 fWAR over the past two weeks), put up LA’s lone run when deGrom made a rare mistake, hanging one of those 93 MPH fastballs over the heart of the plate. When asked about facing the ace after the game, Betts offered some of the best praise you’ll ever hear from an opposing hitter:
"He's pretty much the best, maybe the best to ever pitch."
– Mookie Betts on Jacob deGrom pic.twitter.com/BRXpz4geZS
— SNY Mets (@SNY_Mets) September 1, 2022
Of course, the numbers certainly back Betts up. Since he made his long-awaited season debut, it’s been pretty simple – Jacob deGrom is the best pitcher in the game.
Jacob deGrom's ranks among starting pitchers in August:
1st – 43.0 K%
1st – 40.6 K-BB%
1st – .136 AVG
1st – 0.55 WHIP
1st – 99.4 fastball velo
1st – 22.0% Swinging strike
2nd – 1.6 fWAR
3rd – 2.3 BB%
3rd – 1.42 FIP
— Michael Mayer (@michaelmayer22) September 1, 2022
The highlight of the game came in the top of the seventh, in deGrom’s last inning of work. When Justin Turner sent an outside fastball to the deepest part of the ballpark, it looked like guaranteed extra bases. Then Brandon Nimmo did this:
WHAT. A. CATCH! 🤩
Jacob deGrom is Brandon Nimmo's new #1 fan@You_Found_Nimmo | @Mets | #MLBNShowcase pic.twitter.com/w9AyEfmsTh
— MLB Network (@MLBNetwork) September 1, 2022
It somehow gets even better. Clinging to their one-run lead entering the top of the ninth, the Mets turned to the best closer in baseball: Edwin Díaz. Diaz has begun walking in from the bullpen to “Narco” by Blasterjaxx feat. Timmy Trumpet – it’s an EDM track that opens with a thrilling, hype-filled trumpet solo. It’s the best walk-up song/intro in sports today if you ask me. It’s perfect for an intense, emotion-filled closer like Díaz on any day, but in a tight game against the best team in the league with the playoffs looming? Simply unreal.
But the Mets made it even better. Timmy Trumpet was waiting in the wings, and performed the solo live, on the field, as Díaz jogged in.
Timmy Trumpet playing "Narco" live while Edwin Diaz enters the game is incredible 🙌
— FOX Sports: MLB (@MLBONFOX) September 1, 2022
Díaz closed out the emotion-filled game with ease, striking out Trea Turner before eliciting groundouts from Freddie Freeman and Will Smith. Game over.
The two division-leading clubs will return to Citi Field for the rubber match today at 4:10 EST.
Amid MVP Race, Ohtani Adds Two More Records with 30th Home Run
Baseball god-among-men Shohei Ohtani added a couple more things-that-have-never-been-done-before to his growing collection when he destroyed a Gerrit Cole fastball last night for his 30th home run of the season.
Shohei Ohtani's 30th home run of the season is off of Gerrit Cole for the lead! pic.twitter.com/m7oxyMmYOq
— Talkin’ Baseball (@TalkinBaseball_) September 1, 2022
With the blast, Ohtani became the first Japanese-born player to put up multiple 30+ homer seasons. It also marked the first time in AL/NL history that a player has recorded 10 wins and 30 home runs in a single season.
Ohtani’s home run came against his rival in the American League MVP race, Aaron Judge, who hit his MLB-leading 51st long ball the game before. Same as in 2021, the race will come down to how voters value Ohtani’s two-way abilities compared to a dominant offensive campaign. Judge’s contributions at the plate beat out Ohtani’s, just as Vladimir Guerrero Jr.’s did last year. Meanwhile, Shohei is third in the AL in home runs and fifth in the league in strikeouts.
Best Moments From Yesterday
Welcome to the Bigs
#2 overall prospect Gunnar Henderson made his major-league debut yesterday, as the Orioles called him up amid their unexpected push to make the playoffs. Henderson, a SS/3B, was part of the 2019 draft class in which the O’s took Adley Rutschman as the first overall pick. Henderson has moved quickly through the minors on the back of his tremendous athleticism and 60+ hit and power tools.
He certainly showcased them in his debut. In the second at-bat of his young career, Henderson mashed a slider from Guardians righty Triston McKenzie (who has had a terrific season in his own right) deep over the right-center fence.
Welcome to the show, Gunnar Henderson! His first hit is a homer!!! pic.twitter.com/degCCLZTHP
— MLB (@MLB) August 31, 2022
With family cheering wildly in the stands, Henderson’s helmet fell off his head as he rounded the bases, showcasing some of the best hair we’ve seen in the league in a while. The moment gave us an excellent home run call: “The helmet is long gone, as is the ball! Let the hair flow, Gunnar Henderson – you’re a big leaguer.”
Zack Wheeler is expected to throw a bullpen session this weekend and could start on Tuesday.
Anthony Rizzo was left out of last night’s lineup due to a lingering back injury.
Brett Baty will undergo surgery to repair a torn UCL in his thumb, and was placed on the 15-day IL.
Shane McClanahan went on the IL as expected with a left-shoulder impingement. The expectation is that he will be out for the minimum 15 days.
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Featured image by Justin Paradis (@JustParaDesigns on Twitter)