WASHINGTON, D.C. — What a sight for sore Mets eyes to see Jacob deGrom toeing the rubber in Washington, D.C. to make his season debut against the Nationals on Tuesday night.
It’s the first time he’ll pitch on a big-league mound in over a calendar year, July 7, 2021, as what felt like a never-ending onslaught of injuries derailed one of the best arms in baseball — and robbed us of one of the most historic pitching seasons seen in the last 50 years.
That’s firmly all in the past now, and the Mets have one of the most feared pitching duos officially intact as deGrom joins Max Scherzer, who has a 2.13 ERA in his debut season with New York after gutting out his seventh victory of the season Monday night in D.C.
“We’re all excited. We know how good he is,” Scherzer said of deGrom’s return. “We want him out there pitching for us and doing what he can do. We’re excited to see him out there and watch him throw and we’ll all be watching and having a big smile on our faces, hopefully.”
There will likely be some limitations on deGrom, though, as the Mets will attempt to keep one of their most important assets healthy and on the hill.
He didn’t throw more than 67 pitches in any of his four minor-league rehab starts — meaning he’ll likely experience a strict pitch count on Tuesday — while receiving an extra day of rest in four out of his five turns in the rotation.
It remains to be seen if the Mets will adhere to the normal five-day schedule for their ace.
“That’s an unknown for me, personally,” manager Buck Showalter said. “I’m not sure yet. I try to keep in mind it’s been a long time since Jake has pitched. So we’ll sit down after every outing and see where we are.”
“As far as pitching on his regular turn, that’s to be seen,” Showalter said. “I hope so. We’ll see.”
The Mets’ schedule doesn’t provide many breaks to give deGrom a built-in extra day. They have 10 games in the next nine days that include a doubleheader on Saturday against the Atlanta Braves — deGrom is tentatively scheduled to pitch again on Sunday — before playing 12-straight days from Aug. 12-23.
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