Shackles set to come off for Mets ace Jacob deGrom as he challenges record books

Jacob deGrom Mets
Mets ace Jacob deGrom.
Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports

We’re living through history. No, I’m not talking about the pandemic or politics, either.

New York Mets ace Jacob deGrom continues to dominate in a way few others have ever done so before — showing mastery of his craft the same way a violinist seamlessly navigates their way through the 24 Caprices of Niccolo Paganini. 

Not many humans could make it through the Italian’s daunting composition, just as not many humans over the course of history can hurl a baseball like deGrom. 

The 32-year-old is getting better and better, tossing six scoreless innings with eight strikeouts against the Arizona Diamondbacks in his second start back from the injured list due to side tightness.

As he continues to ramp up to a normal workload — he threw just 70 pitches on Monday night — 27 of his pitches eclipsed the 100-mph mark, four of them in the first inning were clocked at 101 mph. He lowered his 2021 season ERA to 0.71 over eight starts, the lowest mark for a qualified starter through the end of May since the Philadelphia Phillies’ Chris Short posted a 0.64 ERA in 1964.

With those eight strikeouts, he’s now up to 82 on the season compared to just seven walks. Since 1913, only Chris Sale three years ago posted a lower ERA (0.51) and more strikeouts (90) over any eight-game stretch in MLB history.

Monday night also saw deGrom retire the first 13 batters he faced, which could have potentially thrown a wrench into his 85-pitch or six-inning limit had it continued past the fifth inning.

“I think if I would have had a perfect game or no-hitter going still, I would have wanted to stay out there,” deGrom said. “But it was something we had discussed before, so I guess when I gave up the hit it made the decision a little easier.”

It appears as though the Mets and deGrom won’t have to run into that conundrum again any time soon, as the restrictions are about to come off.
“We had discussed going five [innings] last time, going six [on Monday] and then being back to normal for the next one,” deGrom said. “I think I was a little beat up early on. We had the 10 days off with the Washington series getting canceled, then I think I threw five innings that first start of the year, and then I went pretty much straight to 100. So it was kind of easing back into it and getting these two and making sure everything was good.”
His next start is slated to come this weekend against the high-powered San Diego Padres out west.