Jacob deGrom was put on a pitch/innings restriction for Monday’s game in Arizona, but the way he was pitching early on led to a chance that he’d have to finish off the entire outing.
In his second start for the Mets since returning from a quick IL stint, deGrom dealt from the first pitch until his last, going 6.0 innings and 70 pitches with eight strikeouts, two hits, no walks and zero earned runs.
Through 4.1 innings, deGrom retired 13 batters straight and was nearly halfway through a perfect game, something he said he’d be lying if he didn’t say he realized it at the time.
“We had discussed six innings or 85 pitches,” deGrom said of his game plan conversations with the Mets coaching staff. “I think if I had a perfect game or no-hitter going still I would’ve wanted to stay out there, but it was something we had discusses before, so I guess when I gave up the hit it made the decision a little easier.”
“He was tremendous,” Luis Rojas said after the game. “You see this guy and it’s almost like he’s getting better and better every time he goes out there.”
For the season, deGrom now has a 0.71 ERA — the lowest mark in the majors by over 0.5 — and 82 strikeouts over 51.0 innings pitched. He has the lowest ERA entering June since 1945.
His 0.57 WHIP is the lowest by a pitcher through his first eight appearances since the mound was set at its current distance in 1893, according to Elias Sports.
To put things into perspective, deGrom threw just his first curveball of the season in Monday’s game — for a strike, naturally. He simply doesn’t need that extra pitch to be the best pitcher in MLB.
“I think going through the lineup again, going against those lefties again, I’d been throwing a lot of inside pitches. So I knew they were going to try and be on time with an inside fastball and thought I could mix that and kind of throw their timing off, and it actually happened to be a pretty good one,” deGrom said.
In deGrom’s next start, he expects there to be no pitch or inning restriction on him.
Whatever one might say he hasn’t done on the mound, he’s answered back at the plate, as the ace has become of the Mets’ most reliable hitters as well.
He went 1-for-3 with an RBI single on the day and bring his batting average to .450 and his OPS to .950 on the season. Yes, those are real numbers.
“I’m trying to be the best hitter I can be as well, you know I don’t want to be an easy out up there,” deGrom said.
He’s back and better than ever at the perfect time, as the Mets are getting healthier, are riding a five game winning streak and still have a hold on the NL East at the moment.
A third NL Cy Young award in four years seems to be inevitable at this point in the season, but maybe some other hardware, like the NL MVP, could be in his sights as well.