Another Win for Rookie Jacob deGrom of the Mets

Howard Goldin

During the past two months, since his major league debut on May 15, Jacob deGrom has been a very welcome addition to the Mets starting rotation. Although his record is an unimpressive 3-5, his pitching has been far superior than that won/loss mark demonstrates. Eight of the rookie’s12 starts this season are ranked as what are currently called quality starts, at least six innings pitched with three or fewer earned runs given up.

On Sunday, the 26 year-old did not give up a hit until two outs in the third inning, when Christian Yellich singled. The hit extended the hitting streak of the 22 year-old to 10 games.

Three consecutive hits with two out in the next frame, a single by Casey McGehee, a double by Garrett Jones and an infield single by MarcellOzuna, led to the only run scored by the Marlins on Sunday.

A lead-off single by AdeinyHechavarriain the sixth was the only other hit surrendered by deGrom in his seven inning stint. The rookie walked two and fanned eight in the start.

After losing his first four decisions, de Grom’s stats have improved greatly during the past month. In his last five starts, he has compiled a 3-1 mark with an ERA of only 1.65. His current ERA of 3.18 is at its lowest point since May 31.

The Florida native has been exceptionally effective against the Miami Marlins, 2-0 with a 0.64 ERA.

The infielder in high school until his junior year when he converted to become a pitcher, deGrom is not reluctant or incapable of successfully swinging a bat. With runners on first and second and two out in the fourth, de Grom registered his first major league run batted in with a single to center. He is batting .280 (7 for 25).

 Of his trip to the plate in the fourth, he said, “I wanted to get a hit there.”

The relatively inexperienced hurler, with only two full minor league seasons before reaching the majors in May, was asked what he learned this year, “I learned a lot from the guys. I’ve been elevating my fastball. I’ve been working on my mechanics. “

As the official first half of the season has ended, there will now be several days of rest for all MLB players except those to be in Minnesota for the festivities of All-Star week.

With Mets starter Dillon Gee back in the rotation and Jonathan Niese soon to return, Mets skipper Terry Collins was asked if he intended to remove the rookie from the rotation and place him in the bullpen for the next stage of the season.

He replied with laughter but carefully, “He [deGrom) didn’t even have his best stuff today, but he did a great job. We’re not going to take Jacob deGrom out of the rotation unless.”

The proviso which may make this possible included the following statement, “But we might look up ion a month where he is starting to run out of gas a little bit to where we have to make a decision.”

The starters for next week listed by Collins include Colon, Wheeler, Gee and Niese. The battle for the fifth starter spot thus would seem to be between veteran Matsuzaka and rookie deGrom.

The right-handed rookie was asked his preference, starting or relieving, “That’s where I thought I would be [on the Mets], the bullpen. I’m very happy. I want to start.”