Amazin’ Ten of 2014: #10 – September 21


For the New York Mets, better days are on the horizon. Matt Harvey is set to return next year. Jacob deGrom and Juan Lagares won postseason awards. And the Michael Cuddyer signing sent the signal that Sandy Alderson ain’t messin’ around. No matter how it turns out, 2015 will be a big year in Flushing. That doesn’t mean we can’t look back fondly on the season when the team finally got out of the woods. To celebrate the year that was, our inner Letterman emerges for another Top Ten list. For the next five weeks, I’ll bring you the Amazin’ Ten of 2014: the best Mets games from the season of emergence.

Sep 21, 2014; Atlanta, GA, USA; New York Mets starting pitcher Jacob deGrom (48) pitches against the Atlanta Braves during the first inning at Turner Field. Mandatory Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

#10 – DeGrom’s Finale Sweeps Away Braves (September 21)

One start removed from fanning the first eight Marlins he faced, Jacob deGrom waltzed into Atlanta aiming to keep the momentum going. With one more top-notch outing, the latest rookie sensation to don a Met uniform looked to lock down the hardware that Matt Harvey and Zach Wheeler couldn’t bring home in 2012 and 2013.

The Mets had won the first two at Turner Field and were going for the sweep. The Braves, meanwhile, were fighting for their playoff lives, one loss away from elimination. What better time for the entirety of the orange and blue to come alive?

Matt den Dekker drove the second pitch of the game into right field for a leadoff double, scoring on Daniel Murphy’s groundout two batters later. The Mets put up another run in the second inning when Ruben Tejada’s sac fly plated Curtis Granderson.

The fourth inning saw even more run support after Granderson drew a one-out walk and Kirk Nieuwenhuis doubled them both into scoring position. Grandy scored on a passed ball and Kirk on an Anthony Recker sac fly. At this point, all four Mets runs came in on non-hits. Tejada changed that in a hurry by slugging Ervin Santana’s first pitch into the left field stands. Ruben’s fourth homer of the year gave New York a 5-0 lead.

That was more than enough for Brother Jacob. DeGrom began the afternoon by striking out (just) the first four Brave swingers, eventually retiring the first 12 batters in a row. Atlanta did get a rally going in the fifth, plating a pair of runs on an error and bases-loaded walk. With the lead down to three, two outs, and Phil Gosselin representing the go-ahead run, deGrom dug deep for a fastball, slider, and fastball. Called strike, foul tip, swinging strike. Gooselin stood no chance.

Sep 21, 2014; Atlanta, GA, USA; New York Mets starting pitcher Jacob deGrom (48) pitches against the Atlanta Braves during the fifth inning at Turner Field. The Mets defeated the Braves 10-2. Mandatory Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

DeGrom helped his own cause in the sixth with a sac bunt that Christian Bethancourt threw away for a run. The pride of DeLand, Florida made his exit from the game – and the season – after the next half inning. His final line on the day: six innings, three hits, two runs (one earned), three walks, 10 strikeouts. It was the fourth time that year that deGrom produced double-digit strikeouts.

For good measure, the New York batters tacked on four more runs for the ultimate insurance policy. Recker scored on a bad pickoff attempt in the eighth, then doubles by Nieuwenhuis and Recker produced three more in the ninth. When Erik Goeddel induced the final out, the Mets were 10-2 victors, and the Braves’ dreams of postseason glory (or just one weekend win over their old rivals) were swept away.

A month and a half later, Jacob deGrom capped a career year on and off the field – the 26-year-old got married last weekend – with the National League Rookie of the Year award. It was no contest. As the Mets’ top freshman since Straw in ’83 and Doc in ’84, expectations for Brother Jacob next year will be sky high. Fortunately for him, with a healthy Harvey and a potential Noah Syndergaard sighting (and let’s not forget about Zack Wheeler), deGrom may be just a number-three starter. How’s that for a weight off his long-locks-adorned shoulders?

September 21: the 10th most Amazin’ game of 2014. On Monday, we’ll be back with Amazin’ game #9, counting down to the top contest on December 15.

Amazin’ Ten of 2014

#10 – DeGrom’s Finale Shuts Down Braves (September 21)

#9 – Duda Dings Dodgers (August 24)

#8 – D’Arnaud’s Return Sparks Thrashing of Kazmir (June 24)

#7 – A Grand(y) Walk-Off (April 25)

#6 – Bronx Bombing (May 12)

#5 – Wheeler’s Beach Party (June 19)

#4 – DeGrom Outduels Peavy (or: “Oh wow!”) [August 2]

#3 – Lagares Silences Doubters for Good (May 17)

#2 – Bartolo Colon, Rally Maker (or: “Let’s watch him run!”) [June 18]

#1 – Milestones and Momentum (September 28)