In case you’ve been living under a rock, Jacob deGrom makes his return to the Mets tonight.
After dealing with a shoulder injury for the last year, deGrom makes his 2022 debut. The Mets, unlike in years past, have put themselves in a position to be without their ace for the better part of the season.
Now 28 games over .500, the Mets bring back the 2x Cy Young right before the trade deadline.
Before deGrom takes the hill though, let’s look back at his five best moments in a Mets uniform.
5. The first start
Jacob deGrom’s greatness was shown in his very first start with the New York Mets. In 2014, facing the crosstown rival Yankees, deGrom through seven innings, allowed just one run and struck out six.
In typical Mets fashion, however, the offense did not give him any support and as usual, he took the 1-0 loss. While the lack of run production was a sign of things to come, deGrom announced himself to the Mets faithful just how talented he was as a pitcher.
DeGrom would later go on to win the Rookie of the Year award: the first Met to win it since Dwight Gooden in 1984.
4. Nationals whiff as deGrom sets record
In 2021, deGrom was at the pinnacle of his dominance. Through 15 starts he recorded a 1.08 ERA with 146 strikeouts.
The video-game-like numbers were just the tip of the iceberg in regards to some of his dominant starts. On April 23rd, 2021, deGrom took on the Nationals in an early-season contest.
After receiving early run support, deGrom coasted through a complete game, a two-hit shutout as the Mets won 6-0. But the accolades that followed were just as impressive.
DeGrom struck out 15 in the contest, a new career-high, and also went 2-4 at the plate with 2 runs and an RBI. In the same game, he lowered his career ERA to 2.55, setting a franchise record. The accolades didn’t stop for deGrom in 2021 and they predictably won’t stop in 2022 either.
3. deGrom records 10th and final win in 2018
You would think that a simple game in September of a disappointing season wouldn’t make the list, but for the ace? Context is everything.
On September 26th, 2018, deGrom threw eight innings of two-hit, shutout baseball and the Mets beat the Braves 3-0. You may think it’s not important that deGrom improved his record to 10-9 on the season, but that was also the year it was his first Cy Young.
It was the lowest win total by a pitcher who would win the Cy Young ever in the National League. the ace was more than deserving though: a 1.70 ERA third-lowest of any pitcher with 30 starts in a season since 1988. DeGrom’s first Cy Young award win was one of the most dominant seasons a pitcher has ever had.
2. The First All-Star Game
Whenever the Mets get elected to be All-Stars it causes a frenzy for the whole week for Metropolitan fans. It’s unlikely to see their players make huge impacts on a crowded game but when someone like Pete Alonso wins the home run derby, it brings in added popularity to a team that doesn’t get as much as they should.
That all changed in 2015. The Met’s lone starter to make the All-Star team, deGrom struck out the three batters he faced on ten pitches, becoming the first person to do so since pitch counts were recorded.
Jacob’s dominance in his first All-Star appearance was a sign of things to come and announced himself to the national stage. And everyone couldn’t stop talking about it.
1. The Postseason Dominance
The Met’s playoff run in 2015 was as magical and unlikely a run as any would have predicted over the last two decades. Mid-season trades helped propel New York to the pinnacle of the World Series, albeit falling to the Royals in five games.
While almost every Met had an important role, deGrom’s impact on the team was felt early and often.
In Game One of the NLDS against the Dodgers (a role reserved for the ace of the staff) the Stetson product threw seven shutout innings and tied Tom Seaver’s record with 13 strikeouts in a playoff game. He also won the important Game three against Los Angeles by going six innings and allowing just two runs.
In the NLCS, the right-hander was just as dominant throwing seven innings of two-run ball, and seven strikeouts. In total, the right-hander went 3-1 in the playoffs with a 2.88 ERA.
While he and the Mets haven’t been back to the playoffs since 2016 (a game in which he did not pitch), the 2022 team is well on their way to breaking that trend.
Should that happen, having deGrom ready and able to pitch will only increase the team’s chances of winning.
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