Prior to Tuesday nights game in Seattle, Jacob deGrom had won two straight decisions both pitching into the seventh inning and both wins were of the lopsided nature, as the Mets defeated the Atlanta Braves 8-3 and Miami Marlins 9-1. Not much effort was needed from the young rookie, even though he would pitch masterfully in both.
Tuesday’s game against Seattle was a bit different, in the sense that it was a very close game throughout the contest and deGrom was facing a Mariners team that put up 14 hits against the Mets pitching staff the previous night. They would manage only five hits against deGrom, with Jeurys Familia and Jenrry Mejia doing their part to shut the door on a well earned victory.
DeGrom pitched effortlessly in his start, tossing 107 pitches, mixing things up, and even getting the mighty Robinson Cano to strike out twice on a pair of 85 and 86 MPH change-ups. Keeping the hitters off balance for deGrom seemed like an easy task.
What was more impressive to me was the fact that even though the Mets only managed to score two runs for him, he did his part and kept the Mariners in check for another stellar seventh inning performance. His only blemish on the night was when he gave up a run in the fifth. A Willie Bloomquist single, followed by a Dustin Ackley double would be the only run that he would give up.
Three straight decisions with a win and three straight games in which he has pitched remarkably well. DeGrom has tossed 21 innings in that span while allowing just two earned runs to cross the plate, and striking out 26 batters.
So far this season, he has logged 119.0 innings between Triple-A Las Vegas and the Mets. The organization is planning to 185 total innings this season, meaning he has about 65 innings left or roughly 10 starts.
“As we all know, fatigue is what leads to injuries,” Terry Collins said Tuesday while discussing his plan for the young righty. “We don’t need to have another Matt Harvey on our hands.”
There had been earlier talk of shifting deGrom to the bullpen at some point this season to conserve some innings that way, but the Mets wouldn’t dare pull their most consistent pitcher now and especially with Collins chasing relevancy in the standings.
They could run his string out and then shut him down in September when he’ll likely hit his limit, essentially ending his season three weeks early. But not really, as that’s when the minor league season would have ended anyway. With the rosters expanding, the Mets won’t have any shortage of arms to replace him at that time.
Having him skip a start or two could keep him going down to the wire.
It’s a great problem to have, and speaks volumes about how much of an impact deGrom has made since joining the big-league team.
While the Mets decide how they’ll play this, I intend to keep enjoying watching deGrom pitch every chance I get.
(Photo Credit: Otto Greule Jr/GETTY IMAGES)