Chris Bassitt can’t replicate Max Scherzer or Jacob deGrom.
He’s unable to use what they do to get hitters out, because of how different their styles are and the stuff they possess. But that doesn’t mean he doesn’t watch them intently. The right-hander marvels at the two big guns he follows in the Mets’ rotation.
“I’m watching greatness every time they come out,” he said. “Watching Jake is unbelievable. It’s a joke. Everyone knows Max, but Jake’s an alien.”
He’s not so bad himself.
Bassitt, who relies more on changing arm angles and mixing up pitches and speeds than the two Cy Young award winners, continued his strong run of late on Sunday. He threw five shutout innings to lead the Mets to a 6-0 victory and series win over the Phillies that completed a strong 9-2 homestand at Citi Field. With his latest performance, Bassitt has now tossed 24 straight innings without allowing an earned run and lowered his ERA to 3.27, its lowest since mid-May.
After getting tagged for seven earned runs over 3 ¹/₃ innings in a loss to the Padres on June 8, Bassitt has found himself. In 10 starts since, he’s pitched to a 2.03 ERA, and the Mets have won seven of his outings.
On Sunday, Bassitt wasn’t his sharpest. He walked two and allowed four hits. But he was at his best when he needed to be, stranding five runners over his final two innings of work. In both the fourth and fifth innings, the Phillies put the first two runners on base. But Bassitt held them scoreless.
In the fourth, he struck out J.T. Realmuto, got Nick Castellanos to fly out after falling behind 3-0 and retired Darick Hall on a comebacker. The following inning, the Phillies had second and third with nobody out, but Bassitt blew away Matt Vierling and Bryson Stott with fastballs, and got Alec Bohm to softly line out with the bases loaded.
“He doesn’t let anybody take him out of what he wants to do. He doesn’t panic. He stops and regroups.” manager Buck Showalter said. “Sometimes he’s not going to work as fast as some people want him to.”
It capped a memorable weekend of pitching in which the Mets limited the previously hot Phillies, who were without sluggers Bryce Harper and Kyle Schwarber, to two runs. Their three starting pitchers gave up just one run — in the first inning Friday night — before tossing 17 consecutive scoreless frames.
“There’s no secret how good our pitching staff is, especially when you have Jake and Max,” Bassitt said. “It’s hard to score on us. … It’s more so passing the baton. Max throws it to Jake, Jake throws it to me, I throw it to [Carlos Carrasco], ‘Cookie’ throws it to [Taijuan Walker]. We’ve got five veteran guys who are really, really good.”