Jacob deGrom’s start to the season has been nothing short of spectacular as deGrom chases a 3rd Cy Young Award, but after the Mets ace was pulled early on Sunday vs Arizona, concern started to grow.
deGrom lasted just five innings against the Diamondbacks after missing his previous start, scheduled the week before in St Louis. An MRI revealed deGrom had an inflamed lat, which kept him off the mound until the weekend.
When he returned to the bump on Sunday, deGrom was untouchable. He retired the first 12 batters he faced with no problem for four perfect innings, but slowed down dramatically in the 5th frame.
deGrom walked the first batter he faced on four pitches before a double put two runners in scoring position.
The Diamondbacks went on to load the bases, still with no outs. Despite the jam, deGrom escaped with minimal damage, conceding one run on a double-play.
deGrom threw 29 pitches and gave up three walks in the 5th, easily his worst inning this season. When he returned to the mound for warmups, it was clear something wasn’t quite right.
deGrom gave a slight shake of his head to his catcher and staff, exiting the game. A second MRI of deGrom came back clean, but the injury scare still landed him on the 10-day Injured List as the team ensures their prized pitcher doesn’t overexert himself in the early months of the season.
Despite deGrom’s early exit, the Mets were able to earn their ace a win, as he left with a 2-1 lead that was later extended. Through six starts, deGrom now sits at 3-2, with as many wins as he earned runs allowed.
Unfortunately, after being a bright spot in the first weeks, the Mets pitching staff is starting to grow thin. With deGrom sidelined, Carlos Carrasco’s hamstring injured, and Noah Syndergaard’s return from Tommy John surgery still over a month away, the Mets starting rotation is missing some big names. Additionally, injuries to Seth Lugo and Dellin Betances have kept a few extra arms out of the bullpen.
Despite the pitching staff’s ailments, Edwin Diaz and Miguel Castro have impressed in the bullpen. Diaz put together his first save of over 1 inning as a Met on Sunday, getting 5 outs in relief. Castro has been asked to do everything, dominating in single-inning appearances and even serving as an ‘opener’ for the Mets in a doubleheader game against the Cardinals.
Despite a shaky start, the Mets started this week back on top of the NL East, as all five teams are underperforming early on. If the Mets can stay hot while they wait for players to return from injury, they’re in a prime position to stay in the driver’s seat as the season heats up.
deGrom played catch on Tuesday despite hitting the Injured List. He and the Mets staff will reevaluate his mechanics before he returns, though it’s unclear if he’ll be back by May 20th.