Jacob deGrom chose a great night to have the worst start of his career
For a while anyway, Monday night looked like one of those games in that third of the season the Mets were just destined to lose.
That’s because Mets ace Jacob deGrom, who entered his start on Monday with the second-best ERA in baseball at 1.98, threw out his worst start of his career against the Phillies on Monday night at Citizens Bank Park, allowing seven runs – six earned on eight hits with three walks and only three strikeouts.
His ERA rose 31 points to 2.29 for the year, which may put him in a little jeopardy of finishing with a sub-2.00 ERA for the year.
He allowed a three-run home run in the first inning to Ryan Howard, a solo home run to Cameron Rupp in the second inning, and a three-run home run to Domonic Brown in the third inning, which effectively ended his night, having thrown 83 pitches in 2 2/3 innings.
Just like that, it was 7-2 Phillies, and the Mets and all of their onlookers were stunned. Not so much that the Mets were down five runs, but that one of the best pitchers in baseball just did not have it and got crushed quickly.
“I don’t think I located one pitch,” deGrom said. “All the balls were down the middle and they were getting hit hard.”
It was only the second time in deGrom’s brilliant young career he could not get through five innings in a start. The seven runs deGrom allowed were the sum total he had allowed in his previous seven starts combined, and the most he’s ever allowed in a start in his career.
As deGrom said, this was just a matter of having zero command of the strike zone with any of his pitches. Everything he threw was above the knees, whether it was his fastball, change-up, or slider, and it was right there on a tee for the Phillies, who smoked him in a way that just hasn’t been seen with deGrom in his two years with the club.
Fortunately, deGrom chose a good night to have a bad day.
The offense produced a record setting eight home runs and 15 extra-base hits, resulting in 14 unanswered runs against the Phillies sub-par pitching staff to get deGrom off the hook and keep him from losing for the first time in his career against Philadelphia.
DeGrom made no bones about his poor performance, and thanked the offense for the help.
“I can’t say enough about what the offense did to pick me up,” deGrom said. “I wasn’t very good out there tonight. And they did a great job battling back and getting the win.”
The good news for deGrom on Monday night was the fastball velocity was most definitely there. At one point, he hit 98 mph with one of his better fastballs of the night, so that should eliminate any concerns over injury or fatigue for the Mets ace. He was bound to have a difficult start – how can he be so consistently dominant for so long?
It’s the consequence of making 30 starts over 162 games. Eventually, there will be a bad one. Fortunately, the Mets fearless brand of baseball supported this bad start, and won anyway.