Mets: How Do You Tell Jacob deGrom Not To Hit So Darn Well?

Mets Jacob deGrom gets a clean MRI (Newsday)

After another scare and a clean MRI, the Mets are still unsure what to do with Jacob deGrom. They may have to tell him to hit like a pitcher.

The Mets are sure of only one thing when it comes to Jacob deGrom, and that is he will not be placed on the Injured List (IL).

After that, it’s a battle of wits between the Mets hierarchy and Jacob deGrom.

Typical of deGrom as one of the fiercest competitors in baseball, he insists he’s fine, so fine he played catch yesterday and is following the same regimen he uses to get ready for his next start, tentatively scheduled for Monday against the Atlanta Braves at Citi Field.

The Mets are okay with that part, but they are not committing to giving the ball to their ace, saying from where the team sits, Jacob deGrom is “day to day.”

deGrom, who was heard to say after being removed from Wednesday’s game, “This is really getting old,” is mainly frustrated by his failure to go deep into games as a matter of personal pride.

But the fact may be that at 33, deGrom is feeling the effects of throwing 101mph fastballs and spinning 97mph sliders, pitch after pitch after pitch.

Mets: So many bad things can happen (Jacob deGrom batting)
Mets: So many bad things can happen (Jacob deGrom batting)

The Mets are studying the video of his start this week against the Cubs, one that brought deGrom within one strikeout of tying Tom Seaver‘s nine consecutive punch-outs before he left the game, but that is likely to be a dead-end because to be perfect, you have to pitch perfectly.

There may, however, be a clue as to what’s wrong that’s gotten stuck in the grass, and that’s the extraordinary season deGrom is having with the bat. For instance, on balls put into play, deGrom is batting .625, and he has more runs scored and RBI (5) than he has runs allowed (4).

But here is a sequence from Wednesday’s that is telling:

  • Cubs top of the second, deGrom handily strikes out the side in order.
  • Mets bottom of the inning, deGrom bats and singles to right field, scoring Kevin Pillar
  • deGrom runs to second base on a wild pitch before the Mets are retired with a 2-0 lead.
  • Cubs top of the third, deGrom once again strikes out the side, saying later he “felt something” but stayed in.
  • Cubs top of the fourth, Sean Reid-Foley takes over for deGrom.

Did something happen during deGrom’s at-bat or the subsequent dash to second base? Mets manager Luis Rojas only says, “It could be.” But, who knows for sure?

To err on the side of caution then, it “could be” the Mets are going to have to tell deGrom to quit being such a good hitter while knowing it’s like telling him he doesn’t need to strike everybody out.

I’m neither the Mets team doctor nor a hitting coach, but it seems that pitching and hitting require the use of the same muscles in the legs and shoulders. The difference is, though, is in the downward motion of pitching versus the level to the upward motion of swinging a bat.

Mets: Back to the same, it could be, who knows?

But here’s the thing. If there’s nothing wrong with deGrom, then what’s up with these little tweaks that keep appearing while he’s pitching?

Sandy Alderson: Someone has to take the heat with deGrom
Sandy Alderson: Someone has to take the heat with deGrom

Given that unknown, and despite deGrom’s bullheaded (to his credit) desire to keep pitching, it behooves the Mets to put him on the shelf for at least one start, and preferably two.

The brand of ball the Mets are playing says their 4.5 game lead in the NL East will not melt away, and even with three doubleheaders coming up next week, the Mets will find a way just as they’ve done all season.

The only truth we know in this is that the Mets will need to pull deGrom from his next start because there is no way he will pull himself out.

Who wins this battle of wits has the potential of determining just how far this Mets team will go in 2021.

Here’s What Readers Are Saying…

Mike Walo Send him up there with no bat

Art Dockerty There is definitely something wrong….shut him down for a month or risk losing him for a year and a half…just my opinion of course

Justin Morio Start batting righty Author’s Note: Interesting…

Dennis Mangano There is no reason pitchers can’t be better hitters. There doesn’t seem to be any correlation between hitting and his injuries. Only broad speculation.

Rosanne Angeloni Fondacaro As long as he continues to pitch like a pitcher!

Frank Mele DH is coming in 2022

Stephen Roman He pushes the boundaries of what a human can physically do on the mound and then goes up swings a harder bat than a good amount of fielders. After that sprints as fast as the top 25% of major leaguers then slides into second for a double. That’s a lot of wear on the body.

Theresa Curro Ptasnick The force of coming into contact with the ball when batting and swinging the bat ends the strength of the force but when he swings and misses the ball with his strenuous swing that follows through to the other side of the body and if there is no weight release with the legs and hips he is straining the natural plane of his shoulders and could be overextending his shoulder area on the lateral side, he then overextended his shoulder with the force of the swing!!! He did swing through a pitch before he got his hit, and completely missed (strike) and I saw a lot of force that he exerted. This is just my guess because he noticed the pain in the shoulder after he hit the ball and then began pitching. That’s when it began to bother him. The top of the 3rd inning. It could also be said for the other pain he has from the last time. ?????? Sometimes it hurts to do a swinging strike!! In more ways than one!!!LGM👍⚾️ Steve Contursi it’s all about Kinesiology and Physiology of Exercise that I just happen to be well rehearsed in.

Matthew Dee My concern is that absence of evidence is not evidence of absence. We went through this more than 40 years ago with the Astros’ J. R. Richard. The Astros used the best diagnostics of the day available to them and found no identifiable difficulty. We all know how that ended. I fear that it may be happening again. Author’s Note: Good one!

Joe Weiss DeGrom will do what DeGrom wants to do. Along the way, this year, he will succeed in making many records. This is his goal, this is his intent, and this is why he is being careful

Kevin Smith If there was ever a good argument for universal DH it’s deGrom’s shoulder. Let the pitchers just pitch. We’ve had enough of the experiment and it works.

Once again, the dialog has been in good debate form, but it’s time to close all published comments for this story. Thanks to all and thanks too for the read. (Steve Contursi)

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Author: stevecontursi

I am an amateur writer with a passion for baseball and all things Yankees and Mets.