The New York Mets have many stud pitchers, but Jacob deGrom has established himself as the staff’s number one.
Last night was a game the Mets had to have; losing two straight to the suddenly rebuilding Yankees at home would have spelled disaster. The seemingly unflappable deGrom responded with a seven inning gem against the boys from the Bronx. Say what you want about the now watered down Yankee lineup, but deGrom delivered regardless of the opposition–something he’s been doing since 2014.
The 2016 campaign is only the second full season of the right hander’s young career. However, he’s shown an incredible amount of maturity up to this point.
Early in the season deGrom didn’t have his usual mid 90s velocity or his best control, but always seemed to have kept his team in the game. As the summer went on, his stuff came back. After last night’s gem, deGrom’s ERA sits a sparkling 2.41, now the lowest on the staff. Over his last seven starts, he’s pitched to a 1.55 ERA.
“I definitely feel a lot more comfortable on the mound these past few starts, especially these past two, than I did earlier in the year,” deGrom told reporters after the game.
Matt Harvey may be known as the “Dark Knight.” Noah Syndergaard has embraced his “Thor” alter ego. deGrom doesn’t have a nickname–but he should: ‘Ol reliable.
2015 saw deGrom make 30 starts (not counting the playoffs), and he should finish around that number again this season. Sporting a career 2.59 ERA entering last night’s game, he’s been one of the few starters to maintain a relatively clean bill of health since entering the league in 2014. Harvey has undergone his second major injury, Matz and Syndergaard are pitching with bone spurs, while Zack Wheeler works to make his first start in over a year and a half.
He may not have the Big Apple ego of Harvey, or the stature of Syndergaard. He may not be one of Long Island’s own (Steven Matz) or the ageless wonder known as Bartolo Colon. He’s calm, he’s gritty, and he delivers when the Mets need him most.
It was deGrom who out-pitched Clayton Kershaw and Zack Greinke in last season’s NLDS. When he didn’t have his best stuff in a crucial game 5, he battled to deliver six quality innings. After a rocky start in Wrigley, he silenced the Cubs for the rest of the night in the League Championship’s third game.
The New York Mets may not have asked Jacob deGrom to become their ace, but he’s certainly pitched like one.