Mancuso: Time To Sit Terrible Jake

Jacob deGrom said he was terrible and that came after the Mets reliable ace allowed a career high nine runs to the Philadelphia Phillies Tuesday night at Citi Field. On a night the Mets were eliminated from division contention with a 9-1 loss, it made sense as to how deGrom described a start and failure  to complete 4.0 innings since working 3.2 innings on July 23, 2016 at Miami.

“No excuses, I was just terrible tonight,” said the righthander.  The Phillies took advantage of a deGrom fastball and slider that did not locate and in his last five starts there has been no presence of a pitcher looking on the outside for National League Cy Young consideration.  

Tuesday night, deGrom may have took himself out of the running with his ninth loss. Of more concern this is about the Mets reliable starter who for the most part has been separated from the injury ward of pitchers that took the Mets out of contention.

But deGrom and manager Terry Collins downplayed that there was something wrong with exception of a foot that has been bothering him on the mound. Or is this fatigue that has set in for deGrom and with nearly a career and season high 200 innings, fatigue could be an issue.

“I’ve got to make better pitches,” deGrom said. “It’s unacceptable. You leave balls over the middle and up to big league hitters, they’re going to score runs off you.”  

Yes deGrom needed to make better pitches and when the opposing pitcher on a first pitch slider hits his second career home run to right center, leading to a six-run fourth inning for the Phillies, the question has to come.

Is Jacob deGrom a fatigued pitcher? The Phillies, not known for jumping after a fastball or slider, certainly showed that deGrom could be at that point of fatigue.

“Anytime Jake’s pitching and he loses it, it’s a surprise,,” said Collins. “He normally doesn’t do that.” However, a pitcher who got three straight strikeouts in the first inning and loses it, well that could be fatigue. As much as Collins was surprised, and though deGrom said he was terrible, it leads to more questions.

Collins did not rule out fatigue. “That’s a possibility this time of year,” he said.

Figure four more starts for deGrom as the Mets play out the string.  And if indeed there are no medical issues, as to our knowledge, this is a valuable pitcher that should be more concerned about preserving the one healthy and reliable arm the Mets have in their rotation.  

In other words, an ineffective Jacob deGrom is showing some signs of fatigue even though the fastball has not lost the velocity. And at this late juncture, there should be more concern about next year with a hopefully healthy starting core and less emphasis on reaching that milestone of a 200- inning season.

Jacob deGrom is a competitor and nobody will deny that ability to win for his team. It has never been about him, despite that brief show of frustration on the mound last month when the rookie Amed Rosario pounded the glove before fielding a ball that led to a Dee Gordon infield hit.

That play led to a post game apology and everyone moved on.  Tuesday night, deGrom made no excuses, He was terrible and said he stunk up the joint and that alone was frustration as the fatigue issue came into play.

“I don’t need a break. I was terrible,” he said. That would be a strong comment if the Mets were in contention, but this does need some attention with a team that is looking at next year and putting a lineup on the field that is auditioning for job security.

Because Jacob deGrom is reliable, and for the most part consistent, this is his time to sit down and take a break.  The future is next year, not now. More of that was evident with this terrible night on the mound facing the Phillies, a team that beat him for the first time in 11-career starts.

Time to take a break Jake.  There is always next year when the games have more meaning.

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

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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