Mancuso: Jake The Great Reason for Mets Optimism

All along there has been every reason to know that New York Mets right-hander Jacob deGrom would give his team an advantage for another win. There is that same sentiment each time Matt Harvey takes his turn in the rotation and the rookie Noah Syndergaard has made an impression in his first two starts.

Syndergaard makes his third start Friday night in Pittsburgh and there is every expectation that the right-hander will remain in the rotation when Dillon Gee returns from the disabled list in the next week or so.

And when you talk to opposing players, the managers, and scouts about the Mets, it’s always the valuable and young pitching. Jacob deGrom, is getting better and knows how to improvise and the results show as they did Thursday afternoon at Citi Field.

DeGrom (5-4) tossed 8.0 shutout innings and recorded 11 strikeouts leading New York to a 5-0 win over the St. Louis Cardinals and a split of their four-game series. He retired the final 23 batters and the lone Cardinal to reach base was the second hitter of the game, Matt Carpenter who singled.

The Mets pitching staff shut out an opponent for the third time this season, Jeurys Familia easily finished the ninth inning but was not credited with a save.

It was another example as to why the Mets are to be considered serious contenders. This time may not be the only time that deGrom was almost perfect. The fastball was consistent and clocked at 96. The sinker and slider were down, and the Cardinals hit into three double plays in the first four innings.

Was it dominance? Or is this something that will continue to make the reigning 2014 NL Rookie of The Year a premiere pitcher as the Mets move forward?

The manager, Terry Collins is the best observer. He hears it from those in the baseball world and was talking about the deGrom fastball before the Mets departed for Pittsburgh for a three-game weekend series.

“I haven’t really talked to guys on the other teams much, but I’ve talked to umpires,” Collins said. He was referring to the fastball and the life it has, how the delivery is nice and easy.

Collins added about the deGrom fastball, that was more evident Thursday afternoon, “It’s got that life that jumps on you. And when it’s down he’s got that late sink. That’s why he got groundballs. You’ll see guys swing over his sinker all the time.”

He came within three outs of a complete game but after throwing 104 pitches, Collins was not looking at 110 pitches. And just like it is with Harvey, though some of the circumstance are different, the valuable arm of deGrom is important to have if, indeed the Mets are in the pennant hunt down the stretch.

“I haven’t thrown a complete game in the big leagues,” deGrom said, and he expressed that desire to do so when the opportunity comes. This was an afternoon when it almost was a certainty that the first complete game was a cinch.

However, there was no discussion and there will be many more opportunities because there is no doubt, and again you hear this from the baseball experts, that Jacob deGromb is quickly going to become one of those premier pitchers in the game,

When asked more about wanting that first complete game, deGrom said, “But I had a lot of pitchers early on. My goal was to try to stay in there for at least seven. Then whenever they let me go back out for the eighth, I was just happy to do that.”

Added insurance to keep deGrom in longer was the second home run of the day off the bat of Lucas Duda, a two-run shot to right-center that added to a 2-0 Mets lead. It was the seventh career multi-home run game for Duda and both came against left-handed pitchers. He is now hitting .409 against lefties this year with six extra base hits, which surpassed his totals of last year.

Said Duda, about the home runs and the insurance for a deGrom win, “He was outstanding today. He did an amazing job for us today. He got the ground balls. Hats off to him.”

And for the Mets, hats off to their young pitching that continues to shine and improve each and every time they take the mound.

LAGARES LEADS Off: Collins inserted Juan Lagares in the leadoff spot, a rare occurrence for the Mets outfielder as Curtis Granderson got the afternoon off. Also it was hoped that the move would generate some offense as the Mets scored four runs in the first three games of the series.

Said Lagares, who walked twice and scored a run: “Anywhere I hit, I feel great. I just want to go out there try to do and not hesitate what I have to do.”

Comment Rich Mancuso: [email protected] Mancuso Twitter@Ring786

About the Author

Rich Mancuso

Rich Mancuso is a regular contributor at NY Sports Day, covering countless New York Mets, Yankees, and MLB teams along with some of the greatest boxing matches over the years. He is an award winning sports journalist and previously worked for The Associated Press, New York Daily News, Gannett, and, in a career that spans almost 40 years.

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