By: Paul DiSclafani
Contrary to previous reports, the Mets have announced that they intend to skip Jacob deGrom’s next scheduled start (Tuesday, against the Braves) for super sub, Logan Verrett. Most of the innings limit discussions have centered around Matt Harvey (returning from Tommy John surgery) and rookie Noah Syndergaard (never pitched this many innings in career). Curiously, deGrom has never been in the discussion.
Things have changed (obviously) as the 2014 Rookie of the Year seems to have hit the wall after getting lit up by the Marlins on Tuesday for six runs in a 9-3 loss. It wasn’t just one sub-par outing, it has been a pattern over his last five starts. In 26+ innings, opponents are hitting .330 against him and tagged deGrom for 19 earned runs. He had only given up 17 earned runs in 12 starts since June 1. With just one win in his last five starts (Mets are 2-3), deGrom has seen his once miniscule ERA rise from 1.98 to a still respectable 2.64.
The Mets concern is not about his velocity, but more of his pitch location, a true indicator of fatigue. DeGrom is up to 181 innings after pitching just 140 for the Mets as a rookie last year. “I’ve been more up in the zone than I want to be,” said deGrom, “normally I pitch down and then go up when I want to. I haven’t been able to get the ball down.”
Manager Terry Collins indicated that they Mets haven’t made a decision on if they will skip deGrom completely, or just move his next start back a few days. “Right now, he’s getting fly balls because everything seems to be moving up,” Collins said. “That just to me dictates that even though the velocity’s setill good, the release point needs to be a little more under control.”
Although the numbers seem to agree with Collins and the Mets brain trust, don’t expect deGrom to agree. “I’d like to say it was just one start, but I don’t think I’m tired. I think I’m all right.”