Mets’ deGrom makes it through Monday start in one piece and lowers ERA to 0.50

New York Mets’ starter Jacob deGrom has had to battle all kinds of physical ailments this year. First, it was a right lat issue that sent him to the 10-day injured list. A elbow/flexor scare took place this month, and in his next start, he had some right shoulder tightness.

It almost looks like the Mets are taking a chance every time they send him to the mound. It’s understandable, though, as the team still doesn’t have such a large lead in the NL East and they played their strongest threat in the division, the Atlanta Braves, on Monday.

Thankfully, deGrom was able to pitch a gem and make it through the outing in one piece, with no injuries to report. He pitched the first half of a doubleheader in what ended up being a Mets’ 4-2 victory.

Five additional shutout innings for the Mets’ star

The 33-year-old right-hander and two-time Cy Young award winner hurled five shutout innings and lowered his ERA to 0.50 in what is shaping up to be a historic season. The pitcher has an ongoing scoreless streak of 30 frames, and had his 12th straight start with one or zero earned runs allowed.

We are running out of adjectives to describe deGrom’s performance in 2021. Consistency has been his middle name.

“That’s kind of the goal,” he told Anthony DiComo of MLB.com. “I have a set routine that I stay with and try to stay consistent in between and take it out on the field. It’s a pretty boring answer, but honestly that’s how I take the mound — it’s one pitch at a time, and once the ball leaves your hand, it’s out of your control.”

With the right lat tightness, right flexor tendinitis and right shoulder soreness in mind, Mets’ manager Luis Rojas removed deGrom after 70 pitches.

More important is the fact that there are no injuries to report, and the Mets can finally have some peace of mind while writing down deGrom’s name for his next start.

New York Yankees: Today Gerrit Cole takes the mound, it could get “sticky” (video)

Today the New York Yankees will open a 3 game series with the Kansas City Royals at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx. On the mound for the Yankees will be Gerrit Cole, the to-date poster boy for the use of sticky substances while the pitcher gets a better grip on the ball. Yesterday MLB started checking pitchers for such substances in earnest. Pitchers around the league were randomly checked. The video below shows the New York Mets ace Jacob deGrom being checked between innings. The checks apparently will not interrupt the game or delay the game as they will be done between innings or as the pitcher leaves the mound.

Just like in the steroid era, this new situation is being called the “sticky” era, and New York Yankee pitcher Gerrit Cole is in the middle of it after being named in a lawsuit for using substances and be called out by Josh Donaldson of the Minnesota Twins. Today at the Stadium, Cole will face the Royal’s Brady Singer, a right-hander 3-5 with an ERA of 4.76. You can be sure both pitchers will be checked at some point during the game. Below is more detail on the push to get foreign substances out of the game and Cole’s involvement.

ESPN’s Jeff Passan reports, “Major League Baseball is expected to announce today (June 14th) that it will suspend players caught with any foreign substance for 10 days with pay to help curtail the widespread use of grip enhancers by pitchers around the league.”

“The league is expected to distribute a memo to teams … that outlines its plans to penalize all players caught by umpires with any foreign substance on their person, from the widely used sunscreen-and-rosin combination to Spider Tack, an industrial glue that has become a favorite among pitchers who want to generate more spin on the ball.”

 

According to Passan, the ban “will begin in earnest June 21.” There is a reason that Cole could become a poster boy for the crackdown as he has been named yet again regarding using sticky substances to improve his pitching. This time by Minnesota Twins third baseman Josh Donaldson.

New York Yankees ace Gerrit Cole is one of several star pitchers named in a lawsuit for using illegal ball-doctoring substances provided by a former visiting Angels clubhouse manager, per an article in Sports Illustrated.

Brain “Bubba” Harkins was fired in March of 2020 by the Los Angeles Angels after an investigation stated that he had been helping pitchers with the use of illegal ball-gripping substances. In January of this year, he filed a lawsuit against MLB and the Angels. The filing follows an attempt by the Angels and MLB to dismiss Harkins’ previous motion claiming defamation.

Harkins named multiple pitchers in his lawsuit that apparently used his “concoctions” to increase the ability to improve grip on the baseball when pitching. Among those mentioned were Justin Verlander, Felix Hernandez, Max Scherzer, and the Yankee’s Corey Kluber and Gerrit Cole. In addition, several Angels pitchers were also named.

Before the first game of the (June 8) Minnesota series at Target Field, the normally outspoken Josh Donaldson was having a public conversation on the use of illegal substances and went out of his way to single out Gerrit Cole. When the New York Yankees arrived at Target Field, there was a video conference about the 3 game set with the Yankees. Gerrit Cole responding to reporter questions as to if he ever used Spider Tack (a particularly sticky paste to improve grip), Cole stumbled in answering. This is how he responded:

“I don’t know….. I don’t know….. I don’t quite know how to answer that, to be honest.” That was followed by a long pause and he continued: “There are customs and practices that have been passed down from older players to younger players, from the last generation of players to this generation of players, and I think there are some things that are certainly out of bounds in that regard.

“This is important to a lot of people who love the game, including the players in this room, including fans, including teams, so if MLB wants to legislate some more stuff, that’s a conversation that we can have. Because ultimately we should all be pulling in the same direction on this.”

After those comments, New York Yankees fans don’t know any more than they did before the comments. It is reasonable to assume that Cole, like many other pitchers, uses some substances at times to improve their pitching. Whether those substances are legal or not is a discussion to have with MLB.

Last weekend, Buster Olney of ESPN reported that pitchers would be checked repeatedly and randomly by umpires for illegal substances under a new program being advanced by MLB.

In third baseman Donaldson’s wandering comments in which he mentioned Cole, he stated that Cole’s spin rate reduced dramatically after four minor league pitchers were suspended for using foreign substances. Donaldson suggested that Cole’s pitches weren’t rotating as much and that Cole was suddenly trying to hide his use of sticky substances to avoid being caught in the crackdown.

Sidestepping the accusation on Tuesday, and said: “My spin rate dropoff was due to mechanical flaws. I attribute it to just not being as good or as sharp as I wanted to be. It’s as simple as that,” Cole said. The Baseball Savant website stated the MLB Statcast data showed that Cole had a 125 rotations per minute decrease last week when he allowed five runs to the Tampa Bay Rays.

“I’m just not quite bringing out my best delivery. Of course it’s something that we monitor. Of course there are other variables that we monitor as well when we’re evaluating our performance from every game. You try to take as much information as you can as a player, and certainly that’s one of them,” Cole said. “We’re trying to get better this week and put in the work, and I’ll be as prepared as I possibly can for my next start.”

Cole had nothing to say about Donaldson, but he let his pitching speak for itself. One would have to believe Cole, with the accusations, certainly would not have been using anything illegal. In three plate appearances against Cole, Donaldson flew out and struck out twice, with Cole glaring in at him with each strikeout.

In a recent Sports Illustrated article, they explained over the past two or three years, pitchers’ illegal application to the ball of what they call “sticky stuff”—at first a mixture of sunscreen and rosin, now various forms of glue—has become so pervasive that one recently retired hurler estimates “80 to 90%” of pitchers are using it in some capacity. The sticky stuff helps increase spin on pitches, which increases their movement, making them more difficult to hit. That’s contributed to an offensive crisis that has seen the league-wide batting average plummet to a historically inept .236. (Sports Illustrated spoke with more than two dozen people; most of them requested anonymity to discuss cheating within their own organizations.)

deGrom Amazes Again in Mets 4-2 Win Over Braves in Game One

New York Mets, Jacob deGrom

Jacob deGrom showed he was just fine in the New York Mets 4-2 victory over the Atlanta Braves. The Mets ace battled shoulder soreness in his previous start and showed no ill effects as he lit up the radar gun once again. The victory put the Mets six games ahead of the Braves as they head into game two of their doubleheader.

deGrom had everything working for him in five shutout innings and striking out six. He should have allowed no hits but miscommunication between Dominic Smith and Albert Almora Jr. in the outfield resulted in a ground-rule double. deGrom became the first pitcher to undergo an on-field “foreign substance” investigation for MLB’s new initiative. The Mets kept deGrom to just 70 pitches as they continue to treat him as carefully as possible.

Find Ways To Score

The Mets’ offense was lackluster against Braves starter Kyle Muller, who made his first big league start. They played small ball early in the first inning by bunting Jonathan Villar to second on a walk, moving him to third on a flyball, and scoring him on a wild pitch. Muller ended up pitching four solid innings, holding the Mets to a hit and the one run. Smith took care of the final three runs with his double in the bottom of the fifth.

Seth Lugo had the opportunity to complete a six-out save but did not look sharp in his one inning of work. Lugo allowed a two-run home run to Ozzie Albies and was bailed out by instant replay, which turned a Ronald Acuna Jr. hit by a pitch into a strikeout. Edwin Diaz stepped in to get the final three outs of the game and secure his 15th save of the season.

Ian Anderson takes the mound in game two for the Braves against a pitcher to be determined for the Mets. The first pitch from Citi Field should be thrown around 8:15 p.m. ET.

Mets Game(s) Preview: (6/21/21) vs. Atlanta Braves (33-36)

After a disappointing weekend in Washington D.C., the New York Mets return home for a crucial series against the Atlanta Braves. The Braves are five games behind the Mets, and the teams play four games in three days. Monday begins with a twi-night doubleheader, and game one begins at 5:10 p.m. ET from Citi Field.

The Mets struggling offense will get a massive boost as Jeff McNeil will return off the IL. McNeil has not played since May 16, when he injured his hamstring during the series against the Tampa Bay Rays. Before the injury, McNeil was only hitting .242 with three home runs and eight runs batted in. The offense needs the help as they have scored just nine runs in the last five games.

The Braves come off a big series win against the St. Louis Cardinals where they took three out of four games. They have severely underachieved but are still just five games out of first place. Ronald Acuna Jr. is putting up MVP again after a rough month of May. In June, Acuna is hitting .311/.463/.574 and has stolen nine bases as he pushes towards a 40/40 season.

Pitching Matchups

Game One:

Jacob deGrom returns to the mound after leaving his last start with shoulder sorness. In the start against the Chicago Cubs, deGrom faced eight batters and struck out eight of them to lower his ERA to 0.54 on the season. Luckily for the Mets, deGrom’s injury showed no damage which allows him to return to the mound on regular rest.

Kyle Muller makes the first start of his big league career after making one relief outing. The bullpen cameo did not go well as Muller allowed four hits and two runs to the Boston Red Sox. Mullet is just 23 and has a 3.17 ERA during his minor league career.

Game Two:

The Mets have not listed a starter for the second game as they have no idea how game one will play out. Jerad Eickhoff is with the team and is likely to pitch game two if all goes well for deGrom. If Eickhoff has to pitch in game one, the second one will likely be a bullpen game.

Ian Anderson is the definite starter for the Braves and is putting together a solid rookie campaign. Yes, despite getting rookie of the year votes in 2020, Anderson is still in his rookie season. Anderson went over the 50 inning threshold this season and has been a reliable piece of the Braves rotation. After having a 2.82 ERA through nine starts, Anderson has struggled slightly to put up a 5.59 ERA in his last four outings.

Matchups To Lookout For

Jacob deGrom vs. Freddie Freeman: 15-for-58 (.259), 2 Doubles, 3 Home Runs, 8 Walks, 16 Strikeouts

Jacob deGrom vs. Ronald Acuna Jr.: 8-for-25 (.320), Double, 2 Walks, 7 Strikeouts

Jacob deGrom vs. Ozzie Albies: 5-for-37 (.135), Double, Walk, 9 Strikeouts

Mets: Jacob deGrom suffered his shoulder injury while hitting

New York Mets, Jacob deGrom

Near the end of spring training, Zac Gallen suffered a hairline stress fracture at the radial head of his right (pitching) arm, and was sidelined for weeks. At the dawn of the campaign, Max Fried injured a hamstring while running the bases and was sent to the injured list. What does this have to do with the New York Mets and Jacob deGrom?

The Mets’ ace believes he suffered his latest injury, shoulder tightness, while hitting, on a swing. Most of us were confused, seeing him shake his arm after a pitch to Eric Sogard in the third inning of his last start, on Wednesday, but the pitcher himself thinks he got hurt whiffing on a Robert Stock fastball in the second frame.

He underwent an MRI on Thursday that showed nothing of concern, and he is already throwing and in line to start next week. According to MLB.com, the soreness is not uncommon for him, the only difference being that he felt it during a start and not after.

“I feel like if it’s anything serious, you can’t touch it [without pain],” deGrom told the Mets’ official site. “It normally gets sore there after I pitch, but not normally during a game. … [To feel it] midgame and then have it not go away, it’s not a normal time to get it. The first two innings, I felt completely fine. I think when I swung and missed up and away, I just aggravated it trying to slow the bat down and then I felt it when I was throwing.”

The Mets will go ahead and keep him in line to start

The Mets, seeing there is nothing too concerning about the situation, are keeping him under his normal in-between starts routine. He has the blessing of the team doctor and a third party to keep pitching.

The Mets’ ace played catch on Thursday and had a 10-pitch bullpen session on Friday. He will take the ball on Monday if all goes well. Manager Luis Rojas said the team is “approaching this day by day”.

The fact that deGrom hurt himself hitting should serve as a reminder that pitchers shouldn’t be batting at this point.

DeGrom has a .423 average and six RBI.

deGrom Leaves Early With Shoulder Soreness in Mets 6-3 Win Over Cubs

New York Mets, Jacob deGrom

The New York Mets got their third straight victory over the Chicago Cubs, but it came with another Jacob deGrom injury scare. deGrom left his start after just three innings with shoulder soreness, but the bullpen stepped up to finish off the rest of the game and secure the win. Ironically, the Mets gave deGrom plenty of run support in the 6-3 victory.

deGrom pitched three perfect innings with eight strikeouts, including his final pitch at 100 mph. Unfortunately, shoulder soreness became the fourth ailment of his season. It is the second consecutive start where deGrom left with an arm issue and sparked the question of whether he needs time off. The Mets cannot keep having him throw shortened starts or continue to pitch without being at 100%. They will need deGrom healthy if they want any shot at winning a World Series.

Hot Offense

The Mets only had five hits but made sure they all counted. Kevin Pillar led the way with a solo home run and an RBI double, and Dominic Smith also homered for the second time in the series. Before he left the game, deGrom also added another RBI single to drive his average up to .423. They also got away with another lackluster night with runners in scoring position, going 1-for-9.

The Mets bullpen cruised through the game, allowing just one run until the ninth inning. Drew Smith allowed a two-run homer in the ninth, which led to Edwin Diaz coming in to complete a one-out save. The Cubs’ offense relied on the home run as it accounted for all three runs, and it has gotten them all their runs in the series. They also struck out at least ten times for the second straight game.

The Mets aim for a sweep of the Cubs as two sinker specialists take the mound for the final game of the series. Kyle Hendricks faces Marcus Stroman for a final 7:10 p.m. start from Citi Field.

Mets Game Preview: (6/16/21) vs. Chicago Cubs (38-29)

The New York Mets look to make it three straight wins over the Chicago Cubs as they send their ace to the mound. In their season series, the home team has taken all five games. The first pitch from Citi Field is set for another 7:10 p.m. ET, and it will be another beautiful night in Flushing.

Pitching and defense have been the name of the game for the Mets in their first two victories. They held the Cubs to just two runs in both games and put their defense on display during the ninth inning on Tuesday. Kevin Pillar, Luis Guillorme, and James McCann combined to gun down the tying run at home plate. It helped drag Seth Lugo through a strenuous ninth inning where he picked up his first save of the season. Lugo threw 37 pitches in the two-inning effort, which should keep him out of commission for the next two games.

The Cubs’ offense has been all or nothing during the first couple of games. All four runs have come on three home runs, and at one point, 17 straight Cubs were retired last night. Their offense took another hit when Kris Bryant had to leave the game early after getting hit on the hand with a pitch. His X-Rays came back negative, but they will take it day by day as hand injuries are very delicate ones to handle.

Pitching Matchup

Jacob deGrom and his 0.56 ERA take the mound to continue his historic start to the season. The Mets ace leads all of baseball with his 0.56 ERA, 0.53 WHIP, and .121 batting average against. He left his last start early with an elbow issue, but deGrom was confident about making his next start. He pitched six innings in his previous start against the San Diego Padres, allowing one hit and striking out ten. deGrom has not thrown over 90 pitches in any start since April.

Robert Stock makes his Cubs debut and his first start in the big leagues. Stock started in Triple-A, where he had a 4.12 ERA in nine games (two starts). The Cubs are high on his potential as Stock can reach triple digits with his fastball, uses his slider for righties and the changeup to get left-handers out.

Matchups To Lookout For

Jacob deGrom vs. Kris Bryant: 6-for-17 (.353), Double, 2 Home Runs, 2 Walks, 7 Strikeouts

Jacob deGrom vs. Anthony Rizzo: 10-for-23 (.435), Double, Home Run, 2 Walks, 4 Strikeouts

Jacob deGrom vs. Jason Heyward: 9-for-27 (.333), Double, Walk, 4 Strikeouts

Mets’ Jacob deGrom dominates again before leaving with an injury

New York Mets, Jacob deGrom

The New York Mets won last night’s affair with the San Diego Padres 3-2 in yet another masterpiece by their ace Jacob deGrom. The best pitcher in baseball threw six scoreless innings and struck out 10 hitters, lowering his ERA to an extraordinary 0.56.

However, he also had to leave his start after completing the sixth inning, with a right flexor tendinitis. The Mets’ ace has already visited the injured list this season, with some right side tightness.

While one would think the injury will warrant some sort of stay on the injured list, the Mets’ pitcher doesn’t seem particularly concerned. In fact, deGrom said he is confident he will be able to make his next start Wednesday against the Chicago Cubs.

“I’m pretty optimistic that I’ll be out there in five days,” deGrom said to Anthony DiComo of MLB.com.

The Mets’ manager expects him to be out there in five days

Mets’ manager Luis Rojas added: “He expects to make his next start. I expect him to make his next start.”

DeGrom was perfect through for innings until a Wil Myers single found its way into the shift. He was caught stealing and the Mets’ ace kept dominating, facing the minimum through six frames.

Since the team had stated before the game that the intention was to stretch deGrom closer to 100 pitches, seeing him leave the game after 80 immediately raised questions.

The pitcher later admitted he didn’t feel quite right in the week, but woke up feeling fine yesterday.

“How it was trending this week was a plus,” deGrom said. “I felt it a little more right after I pitched, and then the day of my side [session], it felt better. When I woke up today, it felt great. … I woke up, felt good — could feel it a tiny bit in the bullpen, but not like when I was throwing my side. So I liked the way it was trending and didn’t feel like it was a concern.”

“Having dealt with elbow issues,” deGrom said, “I’m pretty familiar with how that feels.”

Mets Game Preview: (6/11/21) vs. San Diego Padres (37-27)

The New York Mets and San Diego Padres have a rematch of last weekend’s thrilling series at Citi Field. After a terrific 14-1 victory to finish off the road trip, they will try to rekindle the output against the Padres dominant pitching staff. The first pitch from Citi Field is scheduled for 7:10 p.m. ET.

The Mets have found a way to survive their typical June swoon so far by going 4-4 this month. They are happy to return home after their long road trip and begin their homestand, where they have found plenty of success. Despite playing the least amount of home games (20), they have more home wins (15) than nine other teams. Pitching is the main reason why they are playing well at home with a 1.81 ERA and allowing just seven home runs at Citi Field. The Mets will also play in front of their largest home crowd of the season at just over 23,000 fans.

The Padres wish they played in the NL East, where they would be in first place with their 37-27 record. However, everyone with the Mets is thankful they only have to worry about the dynamic Fernando Tatis Jr. twice a season. The MVP caliber shortstop has 17 home runs, 13 stolen bases and is well on his way to a 30-30 season; the first Padre to accomplish the feat. Tatis Jr. running ability translates to a team that leads MLB with 65 stolen bases, with the second-best team only having 43 steals.

Pitching Matchup

Jacob deGrom and his 0.62 ERA faces off against the Padres for the second consecutive start. He was magnificent in his last start, pitching seven shutout innings with 11 strikeouts and holding the Padres to three hits. deGrom needed just 85 pitches to get through his start and should get to the 100 pitch plateau tonight. Then, of course, the heavyweight matchup of deGrom vs. Tatis will be on full display for the enjoyment of all baseball fans.

Blake Snell also faces the same team for the second straight start and dominated the Mets. Snell carried a no-hitter through six innings to complete seven scoreless with just one hit allowed. Over three career starts at Citi Field, Snell has a 2.00 in 18 innings pitched. The matchup between deGrom and Snell features three Cy Young Awards between them.

Matchups To Lookout For

Blake Snell vs. Kevin Pillar: 7-for-19 (.368), 2 Doubles, Walk, 2 Strikeouts

Jacob deGrom vs. Victor Caratini: 4-for-12 (.333), 2 Home Runs, 2 Strikeouts

Jacob deGrom vs. Manny Machado: 6-for-18 (.333), Walk, 6 Strikeouts

Jacob deGrom vs. Wil Myers: 4-for-22 (.182), 2 Doubles, Home Run, 2 Walks, 10 Strikeouts

Mets’ Jacob deGrom is not only pitching like a Cy Young: he is performing like an MVP candidate

New York Mets, Jacob deGrom

The New York Mets won another game, their fifth straight, last night against the Arizona Diamondbacks, 6-2. And once again, ace Jacob deGrom pitched like a man among boys: he stayed on the mound for six innings and conceded just a couple of base hits and no walks, striking out eight in the winning effort.

For the season, the Mets’ ace has been otherworldly: in 51 innings, he has a microscopic 0.71 ERA and an absolutely incredible 0.57 WHIP. He has walked only 3.9 percent of the batters he has faced, and has struck out 45.8 percent.

The right-hander earned two consecutive Cy Young awards in 2018 and 2019, and there is an argument to be made that he deserved it last year, too. And if we are talking about merits, he should have been the MVP of the 2018 season.

Can he get the MVP award in 2021? The Mets certainly wouldn’t mind.

The Mets’ ace heard MVP chants in Arizona

Last night in Arizona, some “M-V-P” chants could be heard when he was on the mound. He would have to beat the young stars, such as Fernando Tatis Jr. and Ronald Acuña Jr., but he certainly has a chance if he keeps running a sub-1.00 ERA.

“He was tremendous,” Mets manager Luis Rojas told the press according to MLB.com. “You see this guy, it’s almost like he’s getting better and better every time he goes out there.”

The D-Backs hitters had to deal with deGrom throwing ten pitches harder than 101 mph.

“What we’re watching is definitely something special. In my mind, he’s in a league of his own,” Arizona starting pitcher Merrill Kelly said. “The fact that he has the stuff that he has and can command it the way that he does, I think, is probably what sets him apart the most. You know, there’s a lot of guys in this league that throw 90-100 [mph], but he pitches with it, and it’s relentless, and it’s every single pitch.”

Can he pull off the upset and win the MVP award?