Monday, July 18, 2016
It also felt like months since we'd seen Jacob deGrom pitch; his last appearance was way back on July 6th against the Marlins. He'd been in a great groove leading into the break, but he outdid himself on Sunday afternoon, spinning his first career Complete Game Shutout against the Phillies as the Mets won 5-0.
There have been several times when deGrom has absolutely stood head and shoulders above everyone else on this pitching staff and with the struggles some of his mound-mates have been dealing with over the course of the season, what we saw out of deGrom is really encouraging from the standpoint of he needs to be That Guy again. I mean, even when deGrom hasn't had his best stuff, he's managed to grit his way through some outings and come out ahead. But when he's got everything working, he has days where it's like, get out of my way. Sunday was one of those days. I'm not sure where, exactly, I started paying more attention to his pitching than the Mets offense, probably around the 6th, but this was one of those signature games for him. He has these moments where he reminds you that he's really good, and today he was really good against the Phillies for 9 innings and 105 pitches, and I'd say none of them were under any kind of duress. He allowed a hit to Zac Eflin, the opposing pitcher in the 3rd, a leadoff walk to Ryan Howard in the 8th...and nothing else. The Phillies couldn't even manage to get a runner to 2nd against him and, well, if he's a little more nimble on the quick comebacker that Eflin hit, we might be talking about something of greater importance here.
Nonetheless, a 1-hit shutout is nothing to shake a stick at. A Complete Game is nothing for a Mets pitcher to shake a stick at altogether. The last time they had one was last year when Bartolo did it and, before that, you have to go back to Zack Wheeler in 2014. So they don't come around very often. You look for this sort of effortless performance out of these guys and on Sunday that's what deGrom delivered. He'd thrown somewhere around 70 pitches after 6 innings and basically held that line from there, to the point where after he breezed through the 7th I knew he was going to wrap the rest of the game up. He was going up against an overmatched opponent and pitched his game as such. That's what the Mets should be doing to Philly anyway.
Now, the Mets can go into Chicago, where they'll be meeting a slumping Cubs team that's probably steaming over the pistolwhipping they took from the Mets 2 weeks ago, with a nice, fresh bullpen.