New York Mets starting pitcher Jacob deGrom could go out and throw as many gems as he possibly can, but it still won't mask the fact that his team simply is not good.
That's what happens when incompetent owners and penny-pinching general managers try to build a World Series contender on a budget. GM Sandy Alderson can't be blamed much though for following the orders of the Wilpons, who all but ordered him to fill team needs in the cheapest way possible.
Regardless, the Mets once again are a frustrating and mediocre team that continue to find new ways to lose games as they flirt with the .500 line as the 2018 MLB season hits its two-month mark.
- Celebrity deaths 2018: All the stars we lost too soon 46 Pictures
- Photos: Starbucks Reserve Roastery NYC reconnects you with your coffee 48 Pictures
In the opening game of a doubleheader on Monday, Mets fans were exposed to an all-too-familiar sight of the team wasting yet another dazzling performance by Jacob deGrom.
New York's ace went seven innings strong against the Atlanta Braves, allowing just one run on five hits while striking out eight. But lack of run support saw deGrom's performance amount to yet another no-decision as the bullpen (read as Seth Lugo this time), blew a 2-1 eighth-inning lead.
While wasting deGrom's performances is an alarming and infuriating trend, it's almost commonplace now considering how often it's been happening.
Get this: in deGrom's last seven outings, the 29-year-old has allowed just two earned runs (0.45 ERA) in 40.1 innings of work while striking out 55 batters. Opponents are slashing .183/.261/.225 against him while nearly 70-percent of his pitches thrown have gone for strikes.
The stretch has lowered his ERA to an NL-best 1.52 this season as he's never looked better in his MLB career.
So out of those seven starts, do you know how many wins he's gotten?
Do you know how many games the Mets have won in the seven games he's pitched?
Why would anyone want to stay on a team like when a Cy Young-caliber start to a season is being compromised by the "support" system?
It's starting to wear on him, too, even if he's being conservative about it.
"I think it's frustrating no matter what, whether I'm pitching or I am not," deGrom said (h/t New York Post). "We don't want to lose and when we lose games, it's frustrating. Whether it's me or anybody else, that is not what we're trying to do."
With the possibility of another playoff-less season looming for the Mets, the idea of a rebuild isn't that far away, which is a blasphemous idea if presented to fans three years ago while this team was making a run to the 2015 World Series.
But the pitching staff outside deGrom and Noah Syndergaard has not developed to plan (one of them is now a member of the Cincinnati Reds) and the offense filled with veterans is tame at best.
It's why deGrom's name appeared in trade speculation a few weeks ago, with the horrifying notion that the Yankees could be a good partner in a deal. Putting suitors aside, contending teams starved for pitching would pay a pretty penny to get deGrom in their rotation especially because the righty is under team control for the next two years before becoming an unrestricted free agent in 2021.
An arm like this would bring back a number of blue-chip prospects, something the Mets are without now that Amed Rosario is the big club's starting shortstop. But it will all come down to whether or not the team can turn things around in the next few months.