Today, the Mets watched as Jacob deGrom pitched a good game today, providing six innings of two-run ball. What if that’s all there is, though?
The Mets, like all fans of baseball, have stood back in awe as Jacob deGrom has pitched as though he was an outlier from a distant planet, setting the stage for not only his third Cy Young award but a place in baseball immortality.
Today, though, as I was listening to deGrom’s start against the Phillies on SiriusXM (blacked out again), the radio broadcast was the perfect backdrop.
When the Phillies had the nerve to score a run against deGrom, you could (literally) hear the sound of disbelief from the crowd at Citi Field and the drop in decibels from there forward.
Later, we learned that deGrom’s ERA had “exploded” from 0.54 to 0.69, moving him back to earth and second place to Dutch Leonard‘s 0.68. What a travesty?
But that’s where the Mets are regarding deGrom as the master every time he takes the ball to make another start.
Mets deGrom: 88 Pitches And That’s It?
The game Box Score will show eighty-eight pitches, 57 for strikes, three hits, two ERA, and a “pitiful” five strikeouts day sent deGrom to the showers after six innings, and the pitcher of record on the docket to take the loss, pending what the Mets do for the rest of the game.
Ironically though, the Mets ace delivered what is now considered a Quality Start, defined as six innings or more while allowing three runs or less.
Kevin Pillar would later take deGrom off the hook to take the loss, delivering a pinch-hit home run to tie the game – but that’s not the point either.
The thrust of what this is about, though, revolves around deGrom, and the Mets all-in trust towards him to write his own script for the remainder of the season regarding how far he goes into games.
Typically, 88 pitches over six innings for most major league pitchers says you are good to go seven innings or more.
But with deGrom today, he was noticeably removed from the game, turning the remaining three innings over to the Mets bullpen.
Mets All-In On deGrom
Suspecting only, because I’m am not privy to deGrom or the Mets’ thinking, it’s likely it was deGrom who told Mets manager Luis Rojas, “That’s it, I’m done.”
Nevertheless, the nagging question that lurks in the Mets dugout is this – is deGrom still dealing with an injury -or at least some level of discomfort when he pitches.
It doesn’t appear there’s anything enough to sideline deGrom to the Injured List (IL), and MRI’s have supported that, but 88 pitches in a playoff game with a 2-1 score against the Mets after six innings will not be acceptable.
Jacob deGrom is a savvy professional who knows his body better than anyone, and that’s certainly the reason why the Mets have afforded him the leeway he currently has earned with the team.
Given all of this, the advantage decidedly remains with the Mets and their decision to let deGrom write the script for his (and their) 2021 season.
Speculating again, but with sound reasoning, chances are deGrom is looking at the long haul, including the playoffs, when a complete game against Clayton Kershaw and the Dodgers may well determine if the Mets are bound for the World Series.
Communication between deGrom and Mets pitching coach continues to be a key ingredient from start to start.
Knowing in advance, for example, that deGrom knew this was not going to be a 100+ pitch day, allowing Jeremy Heffner to prepare his bullpen to cover the rest of the game.
deGrom: No-Hitter Or Head Home?
It goes without saying expectations have risen to out of this world on any day Jacob deGrom pitches, and like today when he gave up a hit in the second inning, you could feel the wind being let out of the sails for fans at Citi Field.
But the point of it all is for the Mets to continue to play the brand of baseball that wins games and still has them atop the NL East and blind to the immortal season deGrom is having.
The good news, of course, is the Mets are dealing with a pitcher and person who sees it the same way.
Although that glass is more than half-full, the nagging fact still facing the Mets is their inability to score more than one run before deGrom left the game.
The Mets come from behind ability to win games late remains a virtue that has kept the Mets where they are today, and while nailbiters are entertaining, the tightrope remains perilous.
The Mets loaded the bases in the ninth inning today with nobody out and Luis Guillorme at the plate to their credit again.
And wouldn’t you know it that Guillorme draws a walk to tie the game, with the $341 Million man, Francisco Lindor, coming up to bat? Alas, strikeout and an 0-5 day for Lindor.
Mets Win 4-3.
But the thrust of this story prevails – will we see Jacob deGrom pitch into the seventh inning of any game he starts for the rest of the regular season?
And – is that by design as deGrom writes his ticket from here to October when it’s all systems go for him and the Mets…
Here’s What Readers Are Saying…
Sepia Prince I listened to the game on WCBS-880 and Howie Rose and Wayne Randazzo had similar thoughts on deGrom’s forecast for the rest of the season. I wonder what’s the likelihood of him playing at the ASG, considering the Mets will probably be buyers at the deadline.
Bill CoppolaAs great as he is…. ONE PITCHER DOES NOT EQUATE TO A CHAMPIONSHIP!!! This team is NOT championship-caliber, at this time.
Mark Anthony Ramirez How sad is it for deGrom that for the entirety of his career he has had to be near perfect to win. Baseball as a whole should be ashamed of itself for turning the game into walks, home runs, and strikeouts.
John Jet Sigh, more stupid media bullshit. What if Jake gets a pimple on his right ass cheek? What will it mean for the rest of the season??? Gimme a break! Steve, you’ve gone too far based on a game that you didn’t even see with your own eyes. Author’s Reply: John’s comment is not the only one received along the same lines. Maybe I didn’t communicate it well, but the main point is a tribute to deGrom as he recognizes the season is long, and “going long” in games now is better saved for October.