Stanton's power was on full display for a second day in a row, as the Miami slugger belted his 18th and 19th home runs of the season off Jacob deGrom. In the second inning Stanton took a high, first pitch fastball to the second deck in left center field, as usual, a rocket off the bat and no doubt home run. Again in the sixth inning, he launched another home run on a 1-2 curveball that was actually a very good pitch by one of the Mets few healthy starters (Harvey landed on the 15-Day DL today). After seeing two curveballs in that at bat alone, Stanton may have had a hunch on what deGrom was looking to throw for the punch out and didn't miss.
A Brief Look at History
With Stanton's walk in the first inning and two home runs in Citi Field last night, he accomplished a feat not often seen in Major League Baseball - home runs in four consecutive at bats. While this is clearly an amazing feat, there is some digging to be done in order to discern his place in the history books. First, we know that Stanton has tied the MLB record with HRs in four consecutive at bats. His homer in the sixth today also gave him 200 for his career.
This is also the fist time at Citi Field a player has had back-to-back multi home run games. From my brief research on this feat, Stanton pushed the number of player who have done this to 39 - just under twice as often as a perfect game (23). The even more impressive feat is home runs in four consecutive plate appearances, a minor distinction which would have made this streak even more unlikely as that has only been done 22 times in MLB history.
The last to homer in four straight plate appearances was Carlos Gonzalez in 2012 (done in the same month as Josh Hamilton's four homer game in Camden Yards). Aside from CarGo, the last to homer in four straight at bats was Cardinal great Albert Pujols in 2006. Carlos Delgado was the last to hit bombs in four straight at bats in the American League back in 2003. The moral of the story is let's be mad at deGrom for walking Stanton in the first inning of this game!
Nico, deGrom, and Hitting
Justin Nicolino was handed his fifth loss of the season, only lasting four innings and allowing four earned runs in four hits and a walk. The majority of the damage was done tow home runs off the bat of Wilmer Flores, who was recently demoted from his starting role at third base with the return of Jose Reyes to a major league diamond. Flores has been on a tare of late as well, as this is his second multi-homer effort in his last four games. His last two homers came on Sunday versus Jon Lester and the Cubs as he went 6-for-6 on the day.
Compared to some of Nicolino's previous starts, he actually didn't look too bad today when looking at the big picture. The two homers he gave up were consequences of a hot Flores, combined with bad location on both a fastball and his go-to off speed pitch this season, a changeup. Add to that a single to right off the bat of Curtis Granderson in the third, and Mattingly didn't seem willing to extend the leash on Nicolino for a third time through the Met's order. At the time he had thrown only 59 pitches.
Dunn, Wittgren, and Barraclough would then combine for four clean innings of work. Nick Wittgren looked sharp in his 1.2 perfect innings and Kyle Barraclough struck out each of the Met's 3-4-5 hitters on 10 total pitches in the eight inning.
Jacob deGrom was the pitcher the Fish had to solve, yet only Stanton seemed to have the book on him. Him and his luscious hair worked seven innings and looked great, striking out seven batters, walking two, and allowing six hits. The main note to make would be that Stanton accounted for three of the nine baserunners on the day for the Fish. That made way for the Met's 8th and 9th inning combo of Addison Reed and Jeurys Familia, who picked up their 18th hold and 30th save on the season respectively.
As made very clear in this recap, Giancarlo Stanton has been literally all the offense for the Fish in their past two games. Ozuna had two hits today as he continues to produce at a rate that surely solidifies his All-Star appearance next week. Otherwise on the day, hitting was few and far between for the Fish as they couldn't take this rubber match, but still remain four games above the .500 mark.
News and Notes
The Marlins get an off day tomorrow as they travel back home to face the Reds in a four game series before the All-Star break. Jose Fernandez will take the ball Thursday, which puts him on four days rest for the All-Star game (poll question below!).
Justin Bour is on the DL with his ailing ankle retroactive to July 3rd.
A fun fact that I heard on the Mets broadcast is that Don Kelly, who started for the Marlins in place of Justin Bour today, is married to Neil Walker's (Met's 2nd basemen) sister, making them brother-in-laws. They of course were on opposite teams today, and Don Kelly grounded out to him twice.
Looking through Baseball Almanac, I stumbled across some other home run records, my favorite being Don Mattingly's record for most home runs in eight consecutive games, 10. Let's see some magic Stanton.
Hero of the Game: Derek Dietrich (+.18 WPA) - Surprisingly not Giancarlo Stanton
Zero of the Game: Justin Nicolino (-.15 WPA)
Play of the Game: Wilmer Flores's HR in the 2nd inning off Nicolino (+.125 WPA)