An electrifying start led to a disappointing ending for Jacob deGrom
What looked like a marvelous and special afternoon for Jacob deGrom turned into a disappointing loss for the Mets co-ace on Saturday.
DeGrom, who suffered from food poisoning in his previous start against the Phillies, was splendid for five innings on Saturday against the Red Sox, not even allowing a hit until the fifth inning as he dominated the Red Sox with ten strikeouts in six innings.
“I felt good today, especially early on,” deGrom said on Saturday.
Unfortunately, that domination turned into a battle for deGrom just an inning later. He allowed a leadoff single to Mookie Betts in the sixth inning, and Pablo Sandoval immediately followed that up with a run scoring double. He would come around to score on a groundout to first base.
Suddenly, it was 2-0, and deGrom’s early dominance left him staring at a loss, thanks to the Mets burned out offense which struggled to score even a run on Saturday afternoon.
“I just struggled a little bit there in the sixth inning,” deGrom said.
Manager Terry Collins was pleased with deGrom bouncing back after enduring the worst start of his young career last Monday in Philadelphia.
“He felt good,” Collins explained. “He just gave up a couple of runs and got his pitch count up to the point we had to make a switch, but he threw the ball good.”
Despite deGrom’s struggle in the sixth inning, Collins felt his right-hander was deserving of a win.
“You give up two runs and you should be in the game, and we were. We just couldn’t put any runs on the board,” the manager explained.
DeGrom’s stuff was fantastic on Saturday, especially his change-up which had the Red Sox left-handers completely baffled for the first five innings. He kept working that pitch on the outer half against the left side, and it appeared like a boat anchor, falling heavily off the table, leaving the Boston hitters completely lost.
But that’s not meant to take away from his fastball, which was electrifying for the first five innings as well. He induced 12 swings and misses on both his four and two-seam fastballs on Saturday, extending a phenomenal trend for deGrom on those pitches.
He’s induced swings and misses on 188 of the 1513 four-seam and two-seam fastballs he’s thrown this season, or 12.4 percent.
Perhaps the most encouraging part about deGrom’s effort was he’s showing no signs of letting up during the dog days of the season. His stuff is crisp, he’s throwing hard and consistently pounding the strike zone down, just as he has since the day he got here last May.
That may not seem like a big deal, but deGrom has never pitched a full season in the big leagues. If there’s anything uncertain about him and the other starting pitchers for that matter, it’s their ability to pass that trial, especially since it seems the club is on their way to extending their season beyond 162 games.
Still, it’s unfortunate he lost this game, especially since he deserved a win for the effort. It was his first loss since July 3 against the Cubs, falling to 12-7 with a 2.32 ERA in 163 innings this season.
“It’s baseball,” Daniel Murphy said after the game. “It’s the ebb and flow of baseball, I think. Sometimes, you tip your cap.”
It does indeed happen. Unfortunately it’s happened to deGrom a little too often this season. It was the 19th time he’s allowed two runs or less in a start, but the seventh time he’s either lost or taken a no-decision for such efforts.
But he did his job, and when that happens, the Mets should be able to win more often than not with this current roster.