NEW YORK — No one would’ve blamed Jacob deGrom if he started yelling “Serenity Now! Serenity Now!” like Frank Costanza.
Yet the $137.5 million ace kept his cool once again — even after a bad call, his typical lack of run support and another bullpen implosion failed to make him a winner on “Seinfeld Night.”
DeGrom struck out Bryce Harper three times — 10 Phillies in all — tossing seven strong innings of two-run ball.
But he left with a no-decision. And, after the Mets lost 7-2 to the Phillies, the reigning NL Cy Young winner has amassed just one “W” in his last 10 starts.
The Mets are also 16-30 in deGrom’s last 46 starts — this despite the fact that the 31-year-old righty has posted a 2.14 ERA over that span.
“He’s handled it just like he did last year, like a pro,” Mets manager Mickey Callaway said of deGrom, who went 10-9 with a 1.70 ERA in 2018. “He understands what his job is. He can’t do other people’s jobs.
“He goes out there everyday and does his job and does it pretty well and doesn’t have much to show for it. That’s frustrating probably more for us on his team than it is for him. He does a great job of handling it and keeps on putting up good outings and not letting it bother him.”
DeGrom, an NL All-Star, will close the first half of the 2019 campaign 4-7 with a 3.27 ERA. After uncharacteristically struggling early in the season, he seems to have rediscovered his dominant form.
“I wish there were a few starts that I could have back,” deGrom said when asked to evaluate his year to date. “But that can’t happen, so I just try to continue to work to put us in a position to win.”
Those around him, however, have melted down far too often in a season gone awry. On Friday night, the underachieving tandem of Edwin Diaz and Jeurys Familia combined to allow five runs on five hits while failing to get out of the ninth inning.
According to Jayson Stark of The Athletic, the Mets’ bullpen has allowed an unfathomable 51 earned runs in 49.1 innings behind deGrom this year (9.30 ERA).
“Everybody in here has a job to do, and everybody is giving 100 percent,” deGrom said. “Unfortunately tonight we just weren’t able to keep the game tied and give ourselves a chance to win it. Those guys are out there trying, and it’s not easy. But anytime I come out of a game, I feel comfortable handling the ball over to them.”
On Friday night, the Mets should’ve had a 2-1 lead when Callaway went to Seth Lugo to start the eighth. But with runners on second and third and one out in the seventh, Cesar Hernandez hit a slow roller to third. Todd Frazier barehanded the ball and made a desperation throw to catcher Wilson Ramos.
Rhys Hoskins ran home on contact, and was called safe at the plate — even though replays showed his foot never touched it by the time Ramos made the tag. The Mets, though, were out of challenges.
“That’s not an ideal way to lose it,” said deGrom, who had rebounded nicely after surrendering a solo homer to Scott Kingery on the first pitch of the game, dominating with a swing-and-miss slider and diving changeup. “But I battled there, made some pitches when I needed to and unfortunately that call didn’t go our way. That’s a little frustrating.”
So it goes for the Mets, who have lost nine of 11 and find themselves 10 games under .500 — a team that should be selling at the trade deadline.
It’s a far-cry from where they were in spring training, with new GM Brodie Van Wagenen declaring “Come get us,” and locking up deGrom on a long-term deal.
But things have spiraled ever since, leaving everyone to wonder what exactly the Mets — aside from emerging cornerstones Pete Alonso and Jeff McNeil — are going to look like around deGrom come July 31.
DeGrom’s hefty paychecks presumably ease the pain quite a bit. But he’s still a fierce competitor, and all the loses must be tough to swallow — even if most of them aren’t his fault.