WASHINGTON, D.C. — The script was all too familiar surrounding Jacob deGrom on Tuesday night as the ace received minimal run support before the bullpen imploded in what turned into a 5-1 loss for the New York Mets to the Washington Nationals.
Yet the 34-year-old two-time right-hander was no stranger to a wide grin at his locker following the game.
deGrom went five innings of one-run ball, throwing 59 pitches (46 for strikes) while striking out six and walking zero in his 2022 season debut — the first time he toed the rubber on a major-league mound since July 7, 2021 after recovering from elbow and forearm issues before a stress reaction in his right scapula sidelined him just before Opening Day 2022.
The long layoff only heightened some pre-game jitters, which are always prevalent in deGrom’s psyche.
“Definitely had some nerves early on but it’s been a year since I’ve been out there — a year plus — so definitely exciting to be back out there,” he said. Wished for a different outcome, but happy to be back out there…
“How long it’s been since I’ve pitched in a Major League Baseball game, there were definitely more nerves than normal.”
Those nerves settled down after the first inning, which featured a 102-mph fastball to Victor Robles during the opening at-bat of the night.
It was the fastest pitch he threw while exhibiting a repertoire that included a sinker that topped out at 95 mph and some seldom-used curveballs.
While his stuff looked sharp, the more important result for the Mets was how deGrom felt.
So far, so good, meaning the Mets should be able to get deGrom every fifth day for the rest of the season.
“I think that’s the plan,” deGrom said when asked if he could go on Sunday at Citi Field against the Atlanta Braves. “I just prepare as normal,” deGrom said. “Felt really good to go through my in-between routine and stick wit the plan and run out there every fifth day.”