Jacob deGrom said he did not have his best stuff. And when the Mets ace said that there were questions, only and because he has been the successful starter in a rotation that has seen everything go wrong in this season of what is now playing out the string.
However, deGrom is not accustomed to being questioned about his fastball. Chris Taylor leading off for the Los Angeles Dodgers in the first inning at Citi Field Friday night hit a 3-2 pitch to left field for one of three Dodgers home runs in a Mets 6-0 loss. Yasiel Puig hit another one in the second inning off another deGrom fastball to left center.
“Threw a couple of sliders so it wasn’t one fastball,” deGrom said. The righthander was on the defensive side to stop the questions as if there was anything wrong with the Mets most successful pitcher. But when Jacob deGrom does not go past six innings, he tossed 5.0, there will always be questions.
Because deGrom is a competitor, and with a sold out crowd at Citi Field to see Mets rookie Amed Rosario and the Dodgers, he wanted to make this a typical good outing on the mound and at home. It was his second straight loss after winning eight straight and deGrom snapped a five-game winning streak at home.
There was every reason to be disappointed. Not wearing the game winning king crown and robe, that a Mets player of the game displays in the postgame clubhouse, is attributed to this outcome that went less than six innings and 99 pitches, not your typical Jacob deGrom game.
“I wanted to go out there,” he said. “If you’re playing the game you want to stay out there and as long as you can. I wanted to get through six innings.”
But you have to pitch and do it right against the Dodgers, a team that is doing it all right with the best record in baseball and showing no signs of slowing down in their quest to take it all in October. And on this night, Jacob deGrom could not stop the Dodgers who hit three more home runs against Mets pitching and 19 against one team in four games is impressive.
“You can’t make mistakes,” Mets manager Terry Collins said. “You saw what happened tonight. You’ve got to make pitches. You’ve got to get ready.”
He was referring to the Dodgers that have shown the tendency of being relentless and if you don’t pitch them right there will be mistakes. And with newly acquired Yu Darvish on the mound it made the task more difficult for deGrom to make the proper pitches.
There is nothing wrong with Jacob deGrom, and for the moment there should be no questions asked about a tired arm which is often heard in this season of misery for the Mets and their pitching rotation. It just was another bad night for the Mets ace and that can be expected from the best during the course of a long season.
But deGrom failed to get the typical double-digit mark in strikeouts with 8, and when that happens the questions will always begin as to what went wrong.
And with the Mets playing out the string, fans are coming to see Jacob deGrom. They also want to see Rosario, and for the first time at Citi Field the rookie and top prospect gave the fans what they came to see with a single and first career stolen base in the fifth inning.
And very much like Rosario who offers that positive approach to next year, Jacob deGrom was a rookie. He has proved to be where he is and it was one of those nights on the mound when a pitcher could not deliver and continue that success that has been a part of his season.
“They took advantage of my mistakes,” deGrom said about the Dodgers lineup. “They’re good hitters.” In a nutshell that’s all it was and not making the right pitches to a Dodgers lineup that doesn’t miss.