After another six innings of unprecedented pitching brilliance Friday night against the San Diego Padres, New York Mets ace Jacob deGrom came out of the game with what the team reported as right flexor tendinitis — a diagnosis that sent a jolt of panic through most of the Flushing faithful.
But after the Amazins’ 3-2 victory over the Padres at Citi Field, both deGrom and Mets skipper Luis Rojas insisted the arm trouble was not the worst case scenario, and that the two-time Cy Young Award winner would more than likely make his next scheduled start.
“Whenever you say elbow, for a pitcher, everybody gets a little nervous about that,” said deGrom, who had undergone Tommy John surgery back in 2010. But the Mets ace says he’s acutely aware of his arm health, and at this point, he doesn’t feel like something is seriously amiss.
“Like I said, I do a lot of ligament tests on my own, and doing those, knowing what that feels like, it’s a totally different spot,” deGrom said Friday night. “I’m not too worried about it, and you know, hopefully it’s something that we can treat and run back out there in five days.”
DeGrom said he had felt some discomfort in his elbow during the past week, but that “it never really got worse.” That didn’t prevent him from taking the mound Friday night against one of the best lineups in the National League and holding them to just 1 hit over 6 innings, striking out 10 and keeping the Padres’ lineup fooled with a mix of sliders and blazing fastballs that were hitting 98 mph late in the game.
After the top of the sixth, deGrom told Mets pitching coach Jeremy Hefner he felt tired and discomfort in his arm — and that led to the decision to take him out of the game.
“I’m not concerned either because Jake is not concerned,” Rojas said. “This is a guy who knows his body really well, knows his arm really well. I’m glad he was honest with Jeremy Hefner in the middle of the game and said what he said. … We’ll keep checking him, he’s going to get his treatments and his in-between start routine, but he expects to make his next start. I’m expecting him to make his next start. I’m trusting my pitcher.”
Friday’s game was the first at Citi Field with eased COVID-19 restrictions, and upwards of 30,000 fans provided a raucous, playoff-like atmosphere for deGrom’s latest start.
So far, the Mets ace is pitching to a historic pace — his six shutout innings dropped his ERA to 0.56, the lowest for a pitcher’s first 10 starts since it became an official stat in 1913.
DeGrom was also greeted with chants of “MVP!” after almost every strikeout, and his two-run single back in the fourth inning which put the Mets on top for good. That gave him his fourth and fifth RBI of the season; by contrast, he’s only given up four earned runs while on the mound this year.
The first-place Mets continue their three-game set against the Padres at 4:10 p.m. Saturday afternoon, with Marcus Stroman set to take the mound.
Meanwhile, deGrom is projected to make his next start at Citi Field on Wednesday against the Chicago Cubs.