Jacob deGrom isn’t worried about his previous struggles against the Cubs
Jacob deGrom will start on regular rest in game three of the National League Championship Series opposite Cubs RHP Kyle Hendricks.
DeGrom pitched last Thursday against Dodgers and was shaky until finding his fastball command until the fifth inning. He ultimately delivered six innings of two-run ball in a gutsy effort to help lift the Mets into the NLCS against the Cubs.
“Certainly, we’ve talked about it several times about how impressive he was to work so hard and get us deep into the game like he did,” manager Terry Collins explained on Monday in Chicago. “He had to really, really mix pitches, and when he had to make a big pitch, he made a big pitch.
“That’s why I think this guy’s really moving himself up the ladder. He’s one of the elite guys in the game.,” Collins continued. “That’s something that’s hard to teach. That’s engrained in your system that, hey, look, ‘I’ve got to do it now and make the pitch in big situations.'”
DeGrom needed to make a lot of big pitches to work out of several jams against Los Angeles last Thursday, and was able to thanks to his breaking ball and change-up.
Said deGrom, “I didn’t have any fastball command, and I think my curveball was my best pitch. So the second game was definitely a battle. I feel like it was more impressive just because it wasn’t easy. When you have your best stuff, it’s a lot easier to pitch.”
But if there’s a will, there’s a way, and deGrom found that way thanks to a real gritty and heady effort at Dodger Stadium.
DeGrom has turned the page from that start and is now focused on finding success in game three of the NLCS, with eyes on a commanding 3-0 lead in their best-of-seven series against the Cubs.
And he says the Mets confidence is riding sky-high right now.
“I think we have a lot of confidence going into this game,” deGrom explained. “We matched up well against two great pitchers and we got a chance to take a 3-0 lead tomorrow. The guys are putting up runs for us, and our job is just to keep it close and let them do what they’ve been doing.”
He will have to keep the game close in Wrigley Field, a place he knows can be difficult to pitch in.
“It’s windy here,” deGrom said about Wrigley Field. “Going into this, my game plan is going to try and get a lot of groundball outs.”
DeGrom didn’t have an easy time of it against the Cubs in 2015. He made two starts against them this season, going 0-2 with a 6.10 ERA, allowing 12 hits and six walks in only 10 1/3 innings against them during the regular season.
He’s 0-1 with a 7.20 ERA in two career starts at Wrigley Field.
But deGrom isn’t fretting his cloudy history against the Cubs.
“I haven’t looked back at it too much,” he explained. “Iknow they weren’t very good starts. I’m going to flush that and I know this is the playoffs, so it’s going to be a good start for me.”
No matter what happens, deGrom is enjoying this experience in his first postseason.
“It’s a lot of fun,” he said. “That’s what we play for. We play to get this chance, and you never know how many times you’re going to get it. So when you get this chance you want to make the best of it.”