Jacob deGrom has been superhuman for the better part of the last three seasons as a member of the New York Mets.
The idea of deGrom’s run of dominance ending hasn’t been on the mind of the Metropolitan faithful. How could Mets fans be concerned with a player whose velocity was the same as usual, and who began his season on his usual tear of high strikeout totals and minimal runs were given up?
But that run of dominance came to a thumping halt Saturday afternoon in Oakland against a team that is 40 games under .500. The Mets’ ace pitched a season-low four innings of work and was tattooed for five runs on six hits.
The Mets’ 10-4 loss to the Oakland Athletics was disappointing to the fanbase, but not as alarming as deGrom’s recent stretch of play.
deGrom has given up three or more runs in each of his last three starts. A sudden lack of command has also gotten in the way of the usual excellence fans are accustomed to seeing. The Florida native walked four batters in Oakland Saturday, the most he’s walked in over three seasons.
It’s not like deGrom has been awful in his last few starts. In two starts before Saturday, deGrom struck out a combined 23 hitters in 11 innings of work over two starts. But a 1-2 record in his last three games with a 4.50 ERA in September has begun to open far more questions as the Mets try to close in on their first NL East championship since 2015.
The Mets’ starter has held himself accountable though and knows he hasn’t been good enough to this point.
“I was just terrible. It’s on me. I was really bad.” deGrom added “I wish I knew (what happened). We’ll try to figure it out but there were a lot of uncompetitive pitches and then misses in the middle.”
With rumors surrounding his future in New York after the season, the questions continue to swirl about the Mets and their ace pitcher.
It’s clear that deGrom hasn’t been good enough over the few games against teams that were below .500. For the Mets to get past the Braves in the NL East, and for an expected deep playoff run, New York will need their ace to live up to his billing, even if he hasn’t as of late.
While a player like deGrom is expected to quickly correct the mistakes he’s made, it’s hard not to look past the 11 earned runs in the last 15 innings of work.
It may be a simple case of a great player going through a tough stretch, but with the aura of the playoffs creeping closer and a deciding three-game series in Atlanta coming next week, the Mets will need to hope their ace figures it out sooner than later.
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