Jacob deGrom’s has encountered some unexpected rough waters lately…
It hasn’t been an easy ride recently for Jacob deGrom, as for the third consecutive start on Friday, deGrom found himself in an in-game struggle.
In the fourth inning, he allowed four consecutive hits to open the frame: a double to Martin Prado, a single to Justin Bour, a single to Derek Dietrich, and a single to Marcel Ozuna. Then after a sacrifice fly from JT Realmuto, he allowed a single to Miguel Rojas.
Five hits and three runs were in with only one out recorded.
“I feel I threw the ball a little better than what it showed,” deGrom said after the game. “I got a lot of ground balls and some of them just found their way through the infield.”
Certainly early in the game that was the case. He had a good fastball early with a tight slider and a heavy change-up, which was particularly effective against the left-handed hitters in the Marlins lineup.
But like his previous start against the Red Sox, he flattened out a bit midway through the game, and the Marlins were able to get some pretty good swings on the ball as a result, particularly the right-handed hitters on his fastball on the inner half of the plate.
His problems didn’t seem to be related to velocity as much as it appeared to be with the movement and location of his pitches. His fastball in particular started became elevated in the fourth inning, and the Marlins seemed to be seeing the ball out of deGrom’s hand in a way the opposition hasn’t for the better part of two years.
Fortunately, Yoenis Cespedes and the rest of the Mets offense bailed him out.
But this has been a little bit of a pattern with deGrom. He was sick in his start against the Phillies, but the opposition is hitting .328 against deGrom in his last three starts. He’s allowed 21 hits and five walks in 21 innings during that span and 11 earned runs as well, three of which have come via the home run.
He hasn’t pitched more than six innings since his start against the Orioles on August 18, which is part of a growing issue for the Mets starters as they’ve been unable to give the Mets seven innings routinely as of late. That has helped to expose the weaker part of the Mets bullpen more than they’d like, and a few losses as a result.
Could this be a stamina issue for deGrom?
He’s at 169 innings in 2015. He threw 178 innings between the Mets and Triple-A Las Vegas in 2014, so stamina shouldn’t be an issue at the moment. In fact, Terry Collins has said he doesn’t foresee innings being a problem for deGrom down the stretch of the season.
It could just be a slump for the Mets co-ace, and it’s just something he’s going to have to work through. It’s not the best time for the starting pitching – the core of the club’s success – to be hitting a wall, but it’s not totally unexpected with a young pitching staff, either.
As long as deGrom is healthy, its a good bet he will get through this and be the dynamic force the Mets need him to be at the top of their rotation again.